Short report: Tomato hornworms

A sudden outburst of tomato hornworms has hit the potager.  I saw a bit of damage (stems minus their leaves!) and then little piles of worm poop.  It took a spell of stool sitting and staring before I spotted the first one.Tomato hornworm  And, then as my eyes adjusted to the task, I could see them everywhere!  Can you spot two worms on this poor plant?  Tomato hornworm two on one  I pulled 7 from one single plant, and found another dozen on various plants throughout the potager.  There’s no sign of damage on the peppers or potatoes, but I’ll keep a closer watch now and try to remove them before a lot of leaf-devouring occurs.  And definitely try to spot them before the eat the tomatoes proper, like this chubby fellow is doing.Tomato hornworm eating tomato  I don’t squash them, but toss them into the lawn.  If they make it outside the potager, fine.  I wish them luck as they fly over the fence.

However, my lovely friend, naturalist and brilliant author, Sharon Lovejoy urges me to learn to love them, and appreciate them for the lovely moths they become and all the pollinating they do.  So, now I’m thinking…should I create a small habitat away from the potager and feed them my excess tomato plants that I was going to toss, like everyone is doing with monarchs and milkweed?  Not only would it be a fine gesture to Mother Nature, but it might improve my karma!


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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9 Responses to Short report: Tomato hornworms

  1. Now that is an intriguing solution, one I would not have thought of.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bcparkison says:

    I have never thought of the next stage for the hornworms. What do they look like and do they form like a butterfly? Interesting.


  3. fgrtommo says:

    I like it that you throw the worms away rather than squish them. I do the same with the caterpillars that are eating our verbascums. If they survive somehow and grow into moths, then good luck to them. If they get eaten by birds, well so be it.


  4. Jo Shafer says:

    Those horn worms do disguise themselves well, don’t they? That’s a lovely suggestion from your friend Sharon. I wish I had thought of that back when my herb garden was a potager (salad garden).


  5. Yes, a seat is needed when you have to search for them. It’s quite a challenge. But, when I find them I recycle them – I give them to the chickens. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. veggiewhatnow says:

    I’ve had those too, and never did find a solution. Please let us know how it all turns out?


  7. grafedie says:

    I just went through the same thing…4 tomato worms, different plants. It was only 1day since I had a “worm-run” and the size difference is amazing. I too toss them into a protected weedy section of the garden behind the air conditioning units. I toss the trimmed lower tomato branches their way and, as you do, wish them luck. At least I know they wont be chewed up by lawn-mower-men.


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