Tomato Hornworms & Garden Clean-Out

Tomato Hornworm drawing by Artist, Thanks

Tomato Hornworm drawing by Artist, Thanks

This week the garden had a the end of season clean-out. It has been a cool fall week and we needed to clean out the garden before the rain started. All that is left are the brussel sprouts (pictured below) and some green peppers.

We are going to do something different this year and till the soil at the end of the season. Usually we till the soil only at the beginning of the season just before we plant the seedlings. But this year we have a pest that we must exterminate: the Tomato Hornworm.

Based on my reading it seems that this little pest settles into the soil as a larva type creature at the end of the growing season to lie in wait for my tomato plants next spring. So the advice we have received is to till the garden and chop up those larva for fertilizer and that should take care of 90% of the population.

We hadn’t seen these huge Hornworms in over two years and we were hoping they were gone for good. The tomatoes did great this year even with this pest devouring whatever he wanted. But the thought of what these buggers could do next year got us thinking about irradiating the pests this fall instead. So the tilling has begun. Goodbye Tomato Hornworm!

Since we are working so much at moving the soil around we decided to add a few things to it: horse manure (thanks Colby), chicken manure, and compost. After all this has been tilled in the plan is to cover the garden with the grass clippings to help feed the soil over the winter.

We have clay soil here which means if you want to make a pot just walk outside and add water to our dirt. The garden has gotten better over the years. The first year everything cept the potatoes and green beans died. We had grown gardens for years and never had a year this bad. We did some research and added some special ingredients to the clay to make it more like soil.

Our special ingredients were kind of like lasagna: a 2″ layer of newspaper, a layer of sand, a layer of horse manure, a layer of vermiculite, and a 2″ layer of newspaper. Bake not at 350 but in sunlight (and under snow) for 5 months. We repeated these layers until the garden had about 8-10″ of special ingredients on it and then placed rocks and logs over the top to keep everything from blowing away. This recipe did an amazing job and now almost everything grows wonderfully in our garden. We do feed it something each year to try and keep it looser that solid rock 🙂

What’s left in the garden? Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts

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