Wednesday, July 21, 2010
A King's Repast
The vegetable garden is a veritable kingdom of yellow squashes and green peppers, red tomatoes and rainbow Swiss chard. Green and yellow beans dangle from their vines and cucumbers hide behind their dark green leaves. Sauteed all together (well, not the cukes) with onion and garlic in oil and topping a small pile of pasta, they make a repast fit for a king (or queen)!
Four-inch long hornworms have invaded the garden, declaring all-out war on the tomato plants, the eggplant, the peppers and potatoes.
They are the stuff of nightmares, both the sleeping and waking kind. Yesterday we picked a dozen off the farmer's tomatoes and another four from mine. Today we will search out any others. They are voracious, decimating entire plants in a day or two. I am counting on these vegetables to help see me through the winter so the hornworms must go. My organic gardening book tells me to leave the ones hosting scores of white egg sacs bristling from their backs as the egg sacs are those of a parasitic wasp called the Braconid wasp. "Let the eggs hatch, and you'll have an army of wasps ready to defend your garden against all types of pests," gloats the author, but if I do that, there will be no tomatoes to harvest.