Worm invasion not for squeamish

-A A +A
By Becky Barnes

For Mother’s Day this year, my son built me a raised vegetable bed and filled it with dirt.
I wanted to set out tomatoes and a few herbs.
My father-in-law has always planted enough garden for everyone in the metropolis of Antioch Mills, but I wanted tomatoes at my back door; where I could just go pick one if I wanted.
So, I researched the tomatoes.
Beef cakes, German, yellow and so on.
I just want a big red, juicy tomato. The kind that make your mouth water and can change a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich to a tomato, bacon and lettuce sandwich.
I got the plants out early, before the monsoon rains that we had this spring set in.
I thought the plants would flourish with all the rain. Unfortunately, they looked a little soggy for awhile. The leaves turned yellow and some of the blooms appeared to be dying right before my eyes.
They survived.
And, they have flourished.
There are lots of little green tomatoes and healthy blooms. I’ve even had four red tomatoes from the vines.
Now, because my father is the avid fisherman that he is, digging up night crawlers was never a big deal to me.
I’d reach into the damp soil and pull out a worm. I’ve done it most of my life.
But, when I saw a green, wiggly worm on my tomatoes, I froze.
I even called my sister-in-law to come remove the invader with the green horn from my treasured vines.
There he was chomping away at my healthy plants, leaving a trail of destruction; stubs sticking into the air with no hope of bearing a shiny, red fruit.
The vermin had to be dealt with swiftly and harshly.
“Put it under your tire and back over it,” I told Pat, who looked at me like I was the one with the green horn.
“Or, I could just step on it,” she said as she held its writhing feet up in the air and it curled its one-inch frame around her finger.
“Ok. That’ll work,” I shivered, but grateful that the creatureish looking thing was gone.
I could find no more on the vines and everything was good… for awhile.
Another, smaller worm, known as the green-horned tomato worm, or to tobacco farmers, I’ve since discovered, is the tobacco worm, showed up a day or so later.
That one Seth had to deal with. And later, Ernie had to remove a gargantuan worm.
Now, with the help of a wormacide, my plants appear to be flourishing again.
I may not be the best gardener and certainly not the best dewormer, but I’m certainly ready for a grand TB&L sandwich.