Find Tomato Worms with Black Light

Tomato worms are a fact of life and growing tomato plants, unfortunately.  But they can be found and must be dealt with if you don’t want them to completely wipe out your plants and eat your tomatoes.  Tomato worms are the same color as the tomato plant, so they are challenging to find — sort of like “Where’s Waldo.”  My brother told me about using a black light as an easier way of finding tomato worms, so I found black light bulbs at the grocery store for a couple bucks and picked one up.  I had to run a rather long extension cord out to my garden, but that’s okay.  When it got dark, I turned on the black light and searched for the worms.  Although they didn’t glow like I was hoping, the white stripes along their sides did show up brighter.  This makes them a little easier to spot.

If you can stand to touch these gross worms, grab and pull them off the plant and destroy them.  We feed them to our chickens; much to their delight, I’m sure.  If you can’t stand to even look at the worms, much less TOUCH them, employ the hands of willing children for the job and be willing to pay them in quarters or ice cream.  It’s a win-win!

Some of you have been asking how our garden is doing.  In the video, you’ll see some of the things we are growing and harvesting.  We are learning the hard way that there is almost never enough manure to go around.  Our soil is very sandy and it takes A LOT of manure to enrich the soil so things will grow like they should.

We have very few tomato plants because I lost many of them to frost in the spring (long story).  But the plants that survived are doing well.  I also have corn that is growing taller than I’ve ever had it grow, but the ears aren’t ready for picking quite yet.  We have lots of jalapenos, lipstick peppers, and bell peppers — all of which have done better this year than in previous years.  There are some watermelon and cantaloupe plants that have small melons on them, but I don’t think they will grow big enough before the cold hits.  My cucumber plants did well for the first part of the summer and then suddenly died a week or two ago.  Our broccoli and kale are doing okay, and my zucchini did nothing — surely the result of not enough manure in that part of the garden!  My youngest son planted sunflowers around the perimeter of the garden and they are just starting to bloom.

It’s hard to say goodbye to summer, but it has been good and we have been blessed.  And as usual, we have learned lessons.  Now as we look for our last harvests of veggies (and seeds for next year’s garden), we look forward to the cool, crisp air of fall and all the warm foods and hunting that come with that.  Have a great season!

3 comments for “Find Tomato Worms with Black Light

  1. Debbie
    September 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    A few things. 1) Yuck! Nasty little buggers! 2) I can’t believe what a difference the manure makes with the corn. I may have to start a poop collection. 3) I’m laughing, because the second recommended video that YouTube is showing me after watching your video is the Duck Song. Waddle waddle waddle.

    • Cheri
      September 4, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      My kiddos LOVE the duck song. 🙂 Manure from chickens, rabbits, cows, horses, etc. works well, but some types need to be composted first so it doesn’t burn your plants. Or just add it to the soil in the fall and let it compost over the winter. This probably goes without saying, but poo from doggies, kitties, and people is frowned on, so don’t go asking your neighbors for donations. 🙂

  2. Debbie
    September 10, 2013 at 11:48 am

    My neighbor did offer up her doggy doo doo. I declined.

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