I found this worm with rice all over it on my tomatoes this morning. It’s a fascinating lesson in nature – a tomato worm with a parasite: wasp eggs.
The white rice structures are the pupating eggs of the Cotesia congregatus wasp, of the Braconidae wasp family. These wasps are deadly to a wide variety of garden pests like hornworms, caterpillars, beetles, squash bugs, and stink bugs. They generally will not sting a human unless handled.
The female wasp lays eggs just under the skin of the tomato worm. As the eggs hatch, they eat the worm alive.
In general you should kill any tomato hornworms you see. But, when they are covered with eggs like this guy, let them live, as they will provide food for very beneficial wasps!
Not being originally from the South, we are unfamiliar with the local delicacy of fresh figs. The bush in this picture was planted three years ago, and has grown to about 8 feet tall. The green bulbs are un-ripe figs. When they turn a reddish color and hang down they are ready to pick. Apparently they have a short window between inedible green and overripe; bruise easily; don’t last long once picked; and are a favorite of the local fauna. That said, we’re hoping to get enough this first picking to make a batch of fig jam!
This is cold-frame lettuce. We planted it last November in a home-made cold frame built out of an old window and frame in a plywood container. Since then we’ve had some COLD weather, many days without sun, and lots of neglect from us since it has been too muddy to get into the garden.
And look how well they turned out!
Time to get the garden ready for winter. We cleared out the remaining dead plants, and then tilled in a load of mulch and some rotted straw. Some lettuce will remain under cold frames to eat all winter long. The fall garlic planting is up and will grow all winter long for harvest in early summer.
Lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower are still growing, despite having several nights of lower 20 degree weather. We’ll keep it as long as it continues to grow!
We have started to harvest our small plot of peanuts. By this time of year they should be about a foot tall, bushy, and turning brown. Peanuts sprout from the shell, grow, then send out shoots from the leaves that touch the ground and form more peanuts.
At least, that’s the theory. This year not so much. After a dry summer they had not grown much. Then Hurricane Matthew came and dumped 7″ of rain. And THEN they decided to grow. The new peanuts in the shell decided to grow also, so instead of a lot of peanuts, we have new peanut plants. They are confused.
We will be able to harvest some, but not as many as hoped for.