WANTED: the Dreaded Tomato Hornworm


Last week we went to OK to visit my parents. This is what we came home to:


Sad Little Plant


What could cause all of this damage in one week?  Tomato Hornworms. The bane of my (gardening) existence. Seriously.



We have dealt with these bastards for two years now. Last year was worse than the first. They are ugly, mean, fat and juicy. Ech. They can obliterate a plant overnight. They will attack you.

If you have tomatoes (they like pepper plants, too) you need to be en gaurde. Look for branches that suddenly have no leaves, the tell-tale sign. When they first pop out, they are nearly impossible to see, so unless you are blessed with eagle eyes and the patience of Job, you will probably see the destruction before you find any worms.

These things are excellently camouflaged, and occasionally I’ll spot one without much searching, but the best way I know to locate them is to let the poo lead the way. They drop a trail of bumpy, cube-ish, green (fresh) to dark brown poo. They are usually clinging to the undersides of the leaves, so I pop a squat, find the poo, and look up. Once you find a few, they are pretty easy to spot.


(Tomato Hornworm Egg / Out of Focus Poo/ Hatched Egg)


I have a recipe for a hot pepper spray you can use to deter them, but once you have them, the easiest and most effective thing you can do to get rid of them is to pick them off. I recommend kitchen tongs, because I wasn’t kidding…they will reach back and attack you. And I am squeamish. A lot of gardeners squish them, but if you’re like me and can’t, pluck them off with then tongs and drop them into a jug of soapy water. They will drown quickly. Don’t make the mistake of setting it aside and forgetting about it. You will pay for it with the constant smell of death. Everywhere.


1 tsp Tabasco Sauce
4 cloves of Garlic
1 Quart Water

Combine all ingredients and blend well in a blender. Strain through cheesecloth before pouring into your sprayer. This is very important as a clogged up sprayer is very annoying.


Keep your eyes peeled!!

For the Sleep Deprived:L-Theanine

I was going to do another installment of Baking in the Bathroom, but I want to share with you something that has really helped me. It’s off topic, but worth it.


For well over a decade I have had sleeping issues. I’ve done a lot of reading and research to try and figure out what was going on, and what exactly was wrong with me. I don’t want to call it insomnia; I know insomniacs and I feel it would belittle their condition to compare mine to it. It’s not regular, or even the same each time it happens, but sometimes I just can’t sleep. Well, I can’t fall asleep. I could sleep all day given the chance, but it takes me forever to get there. It’s not that I’m not tired. I’m always tired.

Read More

Baking in the Bathroom – Oil and Salt


OIL  I’m talking plant oils here, so no mineral oil, petroleum, etc.  There are tons to choose from, all having different nutrients and properties to offer.  I generally use/start with Olive Oil simply because it’s abundant in this house, but I have used Grapeseed Oil (lighter, good for damaged skin), Coconut oil (solid at room temp, great alone as a skin moisturizer), and Jojoba (closest to human sebum) to name a few.  Drop by your local grocery store to get started right away.  When you are ready to expand your collection, check out Mountain Rose Herbs for more.

SALT  Yeah, salt.  This article is mostly about oil, but salt does a great job of exfoliating rough/dry skin.  There are many gourmet salts on the market, but plain old NaCl will do.  You could branch out with sea salt (it’s softer) and epsom salt (not for consumption), but this is about using what you have, so, use what you have!

Read More

PVC Pea Trellises

We’ve been gardening for a few years now, but we still don’t quite have it right. We discover new problems and new solutions every year. This past year I decided I wanted to grow peas, they are a favorite of mine, but I quickly discovered my 4 3′ rows were not enough. On top of that, the “trellis” we threw together was just crap. This year I put out a little money and made trellises out of PVC piping. I didn’t recycle anything, but it was cheap, quick and should last at least a few seasons. This is the kind of thing you could gather supplies for from yardsales, craigslist, or freecycle earlier in the season to make it even cheaper.

Read More

Baking in the Bathroom – Baking Soda and Vinegar


Jessica Mullen Flickr

I have a natural inclination towards all things homemade and “green” which has really blossomed since I’ve become an adult, and
even more recently, started a family. I enjoying trying new recipes and finding substitutes for staples around the house.
The easiest way to make cleaning products and toiletries more natural and much cheaper is to pull from your kitchen. Who
needs Comet when you have baking soda? Spa products are easy to make with a few simple staples. You will save money, save
space, and save the world! by spending a little time making these things at home.

Read More