Houston is WET. It is HUMID. It is HOT. Almost everything grows here... and that isn't just the plants. We have monster bugs.
A few days ago I encountered the tomato hornworm for the first time in 15 years of gardening. That probably surprises other gardeners--from what I can tell online, most of you may already be aware of these huge, green, tomato-eaters. My apologies... I had no idea.
Since finding smaller fruit worms on my plants a few weeks back and then the hornworms a few days ago I have done a number of things:
- Scanned the plants multiple times daily to manually pick off any worms (none today! I am catching up).
- Released Trichogramma Wasps after hatching their tiny eggs, ordered by mail. They cost about $10 for many thousand. These parasitic wasps plant their eggs in caterpillars and kill them--helping future me by cutting down future worm populations.
- Released a huge bag of live ladybugs from my local nursery. Ladybugs easy worm eggs as well as many other garden pests.
- I already had marigolds planted throughout my beds to deter pests.
- Familiarized myself with what the hornworm pupae carapace looks like when it is in the ground (you can see it here--it looks the same as the tobacco worm). I realized I had seen these while digging--I just did not know what they were. Now I do, and I will no longer leave them in the dirt.