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.

12 comments:

Molly said...

Do you keep a place set at your table for drop-ins??

Brian Miller said...

mmm...me too!

Pauline said...

Molly - any time! You, too, Brian :)

Tabor said...

I share the fennel with the black swallowtail caterpiller because they do not eat everything. I only use the fennel for garnish. When they start on the parsley...then I get concerned.

Shrinky said...

There is nothing so sweet as home-grown, organic fruit and veg. They are not grown for longevity or shape, ahh no, all is focused on flavour, and on the flavour alone!

That dish up there looks mouth-wateringly good - I'm feeling hungry now!

Btw, thanks for dropping by (smile), I put up the second post yesterday.

20th Century Woman said...

Our summer has been so cool that all I have now is quantities of lettuce. Next week I'll be getting lovely yellow zucchini. Your dinner looks scrumptious!

steven said...

wow! lucky fortunate you to have such a cornucpoia at your fingertips. too bad the hornworms aren't edible!! they'd make a good filling for a sausage roll!! yuck! (i know......) steven

Tony Single said...

Good grief! Those hornworms do indeed look like the stuff of nightmares! If I dream of one chasing me down in a giant garden tonight, I'll know who to blame! :P

Flea said...

EEeeekk, but the meal does look delicious.

Stafford Ray said...

Fixed in a moment. Listen. You take them by the head and bite off the body. little claws crunch a bit as you chew and they are better with tartare. Gluten, dairy, fat and nitrite free. Yummy!

Pauline said...

Steven and Stafford - you can have my share :)

Tony - sorry if I caused you nightmares, too - don't look, don't look!

Barbara said...

What a beautiful plate of summer bounty. I hope you win the battle with the hornworms. They look intriguing, but I'm sure they are devastating.