Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween weekend greens and grasshoppers

Husband Kurt and I finally put up a few Halloween decorations today and will celebrate our 11th anniversary tomorrow. Meanwhile, I've been harvesting (all from seed) several quarts of kale and chard, one big bowl of baby lettuces, a couple of handfuls of green beans ("Contender" and "Royal Burgundy"), the last few cherry tomatoes, and a few banana peppers. Tonight I'll make a big pot of curried sweet potato kale soup.

But I'm having a major battle with grasshoppers, who have decimated one of my cauliflower plants and chewed big holes in the kale. I'm also battling these fuzzy black caterpillars.
I don't know what they are, and I can't yet bring myself to kill them because, well, I just have trouble killing anything except mosquitoes and fleas. Must be the Quaker side of my ancestry. I have relocated a few of them, but that hasn't helped, and now they're all over the place. I've got some research to do!


katina said...

Salt Marsh Caterpillars maybe? generally considered a pest, I just kept re-locating them from my garden to my rock rose, though i don't think I had as many as others.

Iris said...

katina--Thanks! I've seen a few of the Salt Marsh Caterpillars in the vegetable bed, too, but I think the ones I have so many of might be Leopard Moth caterpillars? Mine have more pronounced black and orange colors. I'm glad I'm not the only one to relocate them.

Kathleen Scott said...

Hi Iris. I'm going to follow your lead if I ever get a vegetable patch. Just do what you do when you do it. Kale and lettuces already! I remember when you hand-watered those tiny seeds in the heat of August.

I'm so glad you posted about the black caterpillars! And had the exchange with katina. I've wondered about the fuzzy little black cats and hadn't investigated them. This link had some good info: but I wish it had been more specific about host plants.

Iris said...

Kathleen--I'm flattered--thank you! I did water those darn seeds three times a day in the August heat. Part of my "secret" is that I'm just not that scared of failing/experimenting.

Thanks for the link! It confirms the research we did over the weekend to confirm those black fuzzies as giant leopard moth caterpillars. Grrr...

LindaCTG said...

Yes, those caterpillars are the larvae of the Leopard moth. I've got them all over the place. Belated congratulations on your anniversary and applause for all the yummies from your garden! And pooh on grasshoppers.

TexasDeb said...

I am feeling a lot more generous about your success (should I be admitting this?) now that I have arugula and other veggies of my own coming in.

Leopard moths are pretty striking looking - maybe you'll get some great photos of them once they emerge? It appears they like brassicas, lettuces, basil, etc. so your abundant garden has provided them with all sorts of enticements.

In other words - with your success you have only yourself to blame... : )

I thought I had a handle on my grasshopper problem but am finding tiny ones again. Uurrgh!

Happy belated anniversary!

Iris said...

Linda--Thanks for the anniversary wishes! And thanks for verifying the Leopard moth identification. I don't remember seeing so many of them before!

Deb--I'm so happy to hear you've got some vegetables happening now! Man, those Leopard moth caterpillars not only like the things you mention, but my Blackfoot Daisies and a potted yarrow. Thank you for the anniversary wishes, too!