My significant other had never come across a tomato worm before. You know, the big fat green worm with horns? Now he had one in his very own garden and didn’t know what to make of it. So, while poking around on the internet on how to get rid of the vermin, I ran across a natural deterrent. Dill. Yes, dill weed.
If you do, then need to know this. The worms love dill even more than the tomatoes themselves. It seems that if you plant dill near the tomatoes, the worms will gravitate towards the dill and away from your prized, red juicy fruit.
I found another way to get rid of the critters organically is by sprinkling cornmeal around the plants. The idea is that when the worms eat the cornmeal then drink water, they swell up and burst. I opt for the former “dill weed” pest defense, myself.
In the meantime, it seems like everyone has a good tomato worm story. My friend Stefanie shared one with me (see below) and I hope you will too!
Who’s Afraid of a Little Worm?
When Birgit told me she was creating a strip about tomato worms, the first thing I said to her was my mom chased me around our backyard with one when I was about 8. Maybe I should explain.
I grew up with vegetables. My parents always had a garden. In fact, when it wasn’t a cool to grow your own produce, my dad plowed up a quarter of the backyard of our house in the suburbs to plant vegetables that always included a wide variety of tomatoes. Picking the “crops” was an everyday occurrence for my whole family and I never minded it until my first up close and personal visit with a tomato worm.
In my opinion, tomato worms are some of the nastiest looking pests you’ll ever find in a garden. They are green and plump and they stick themselves to tomato leaves and feast. Since those little munchers are the same color as the plant you don’t see them until you’re right on them and that’s exactly what happened to me. Hello ripe tomato, I’ll put you in the basket. Hello, wait, what’s that?! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! (It’s hard to know how many explanation points to use, I believe the entire neighborhood thought I was on fire.)
My mom was also in the garden. She came over, told me to stop yelling, broke off the leaf with the offending worm and (now here’s where the story becomes a bit cloudy) chased me around the backyard with the wormy leaf. That’s my version. I called my mom to get a little insight before I outed her to the world as someone who would chase her child with a worm and she told me a much different story. Apparently my mom hates tomato worms too, but as a mom, she saw it her duty to protect the crops and set an example for her children. Like she would be afraid of a worm? So she worked up enough courage to break off the tomato leaf and tried to show me it was no big deal. But when she raised the leaf toward me, I thought she was going to touch me with the worm and the screaming chaos ensued.
Thanks to Birgit, my parents will now be planting dill near their tomatoes.