Sunday, August 6, 2017

'To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.' -Audrey Hepburn

 We are having a bit of a problem with garden pests.
Last year, our main problem was the chickens getting at the ripened crop and destroying them before we could harvest. It was frustrating, to say the least. We have managed to control the chickens, but now we are having a few other pests bothering our crop.

I first noticed the problem with my roma tomato plant. Look at the skeleton that is this branch! Ugh. So annoying to go out and see bare branches and holy fruit. There are traces of what is causing this lying on the leaves below...

These little turds, really, are from a very camouflaged caterpillar. The horn worm, tomato worm, whatever you want to call it... is eating my tomato plants all up!

Vile bugger it is. I've actually found a few LARGER than this one yesterday, if you can believe it. See the horn at the bottom of the worm? Disgusting. These guys are destructive mostly at dawn and dusk as they don't care for the heat of the day. The best way to identify if and where a worm is at, I've found following the destruction and the poo. 😒

I have also found a great way to get these pests off my plants. If I can, I snap the branch off and give it to my oh-so-willing chickens!

It totally sounds like free food to me and I hate squishing things since some of these, as you can see, are quite large! It's rather disgusting and I really spend most of the day searching these plants over now that I know I have a problem.

As these horn worms grow, they get a cocoon and turn into this hellion. A Five-Spotted Hawk Moth. Look familiar? I bet it does. These guys are pretty large and are numerous around North America.

One thing that has actually helped keep most bugs at bay is the Diatomacious Earth. The areas that have the dust on it seem to be less affected by the worms than others. 

Another issue we are having involves our brussel sprout plants. They look like skeletons! 

In the middle of the row, there's a whole plant that looks like this! It's absurd.

 Here's our culprit. Cabbage worms.
Not necessarily limited to cabbage plants themselves, these worms love brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and the like. As you can see, these guys are hanging out on the BACKSIDE of the leaves. The front of these leaves have the Diatomacious Earth on them so they are a little more covered on the back. 
(This leaf was given to the chickens as well.)

Going back to the horn worms... I wanted to say there are a species of bug that are actually helping get rid of these worms. The Braconid wasp can be a threat to tomato worms. The wasp will hunt out tomato worms and lay its eggs inside the worm. As the larvae age, they feed on the tomato worm. It is really gross and kind of brutal but if you could see what destruction the worms leave, I'm cool with it. 

Here's a picture because it's gross...

Enough of the pests. I'll leave you with a kinder image 👇

He's just so handsome 😍

Until next time friends... I bid you adieu with this recipe. Enjoy!

❤ Matthew & Melissa

Essential Oils: Simply Earth

Google+ Community: Essentially Simple

Serves 3-4
4 russet potatoes, cubed
4 chicken breasts, uncooked and cubed
1 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 and 1/2 cups cheddar
4 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons butter, sliced
Salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place potatoes in a 9x13 baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Stir to coat potatoes. Mix in bacon, raw chicken, and cheddar.
  3. Lay butter slices over casserole. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 15 more minutes.
  5. Top with green onion.

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