Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
I have met the enemy, and he is nasty!
He's a worm, brownish with caterpillar-like feet, and he's having his way with my tomatoes.
I've been watching, waiting for him to show himself for days, ever since ugly holes started appearing in my beautiful green tomatoes. What was eating them? I didn't have a clue.
My veggie-growing endeavors have been relatively pest-free. There was an unfortunate infestation of cabbage worms that destroyed my first attempt at Brussels sprouts a few years back. But tomatoes have never been a problem.
I always figured it was because I grow my tomatoes in giant pots on my deck, the sunniest spot in my yard. The downside of growing tomatoes in pots is that my yields are always pretty modest. But the upside is that my plants, on a second-story deck with no access to the ground, have never really been plagued by pests.
Finally, yesterday morning, I caught the tomato poacher in the act. He was clearly a worm, not a bug. But what kind of worm? And what could I do to get rid of him and his whole nasty family?
I checked out a lineup of pests on the University of Minnesota Extension website: http://bit.ly/KHayQc
Apparently hornworms are the usual suspects in Minnesota, but they're green, and my enemy is definitely brown. He appears to be a corn earworm or cutworm, both of which also tunnel through tomatoes.
As for how to combat tomato worms, the preferred weapon appears to be bacillus thuringiensis, or BT, a bacteria that kills the worms but is supposed to be harmless to humans and pets.
How are your tomatoes doing? Any pests munching on them? Have you ever battled tomato worms?
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