We’ve got worms! Tomato worms have set up camp and are attacking our tomato plants. We could bomb the heck out of them with pesticides, but then who would want to eat the tomatoes left in that wake? But we have to do something because a few tomato worms can strip tomato plants in a flash.

So, we’ve been doing the next best thing — hunting them down and showing no mercy. The tomatoes are in a single row this year, staked to a length of wire fencing that leans away from the plants at about a 20-degree angle. The good thing about this set up is that we can simply move along the row, noticing the tell-tale droppings that indicate a tomato worm is probably somewhere above. Almost impossible to see among the foliage, you have to admire the tomato worm for its ability to camouflage itself. 

If you’ve ever tried pulling a tomato worm off a tomato plant you know how intimidating that can be. Some of them are as big as my thumb, and those little suckers are strong! Once you pry it from the tomato, you’ve got to do something with the thing or it will just crawl back onto the plants. Better yet, go after them armed with a pair of garden clippers. Just snip the worm in two and the job is done. Then be sure to brush the droppings off the foliage as you move along to the next plant. By doing this you’ll know you’ve dispatched that one and can now move onto the next.

And don’t worry, there will be a next one, and another, and another… Just move along from plant to plant, methodically searching out the worms where you see the dark droppings, (hint: the worms are usually not far above where the droppings show up) snipping them and brushing the droppings away. For the next week or so, check the plants regularly until you don’t see any more of the droppings. With luck you’ll get them before they finish off your tomatoes. Good luck.