Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vacationers without reservation

On the way back from the airport, I kept wondering, what will my garden be like? I hope my kitchen garden is alive. We had been away for 3 weeks. Normally, I would not worry too much as we have irrigation but..... You see, a couple of days before we left, I came across huge caterpillars in my vegetable patch. Those ugly critters were the size of my middle finger; Tomato Horn caterpillars! They were ravaging my vegetables. I even found one on my grapefruit tree in my orchard.They look so plump and juicy. Normally, the birds would take care of them but maybe this time they were too big or there were too many of them. I diligently search them out and metered out justice. I cut them in half ... cruel I know but I was fighting for our food. Besides, it made it easier for the birds to eat them then. I try to keep my garden organic so it means removing snails and other bugs by hand or apply organic solution like baking soda, garlic and chili or just plain jets of water. Anyway, I kept on the killing spree for a few days but worried as I board the plane that there may another generation of those caterpillars developing in my garden.......

Fast forward to our return. I open the back sliding door and look up to my Kitchen Garden. I see red tomatoes in the distance ( a small smile) but it does not not look too lush and green ( a frown on my forehead). I slowly walk across the patio and up the stairs to the kitchen garden......My heart sinks as I view ripe tomatoes on the ground and ripening ones on the vines- vines almost without leaves! As I suspected another generation of caterpillars vacationed in my garden while was away.My guests without reservations. I have spent the last few days trying to bring back the half dead tomato plants.

Caterpillar attack

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