Of plants and poop

Part of the process of growing anything is monitoring the health of your plants. In my case, I’m always on the lookout for critters bent on destroying the hard work we’ve put in here. Deer and bunnies? Fencing. Other things require more work just to find them: chewed, holey leaves, dying stems, holes bored into the base of a plant, and most especially: poop. Yep, that’s right – any time I’m working in the plants, whether that’s to weed, harvest, or run line for trellises, I’m on the watch for the telltale signs of bug incursion, primarily by watching for poop. Today I went on a worm hunt, although I did manage to bag some stinkbugs along the way, as I found poop and chewed leaves throughout the tomatoes. The newly hatched worms are so small as to barely be visible even on a thoroughly chewed leaf. As they mature, via their constant chowing down on my plants, they get bigger and fatter, and easier to spot, but if they’re larger, that means they’ve been eating longer, so there’s the tradeoff. If I’m lucky, I spot them before they fully mature.

Worms June 2013

If I’m super lucky, I find them when they’re very young, or even just hatched. If I’m incredibly lucky, I’ll find a bunch of babies all at once, making the killing much more efficient.

Worms June 2013

If I hit the jackpot, as I did today, I will find one with the eggs on its back, and be able to take out not just the current generation, but the next as well.

Worms and eggs June 2013

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