Tag Archives: tomato

Hornworms in my Garden!

Hornworms earn their common name by the hornlike structure at the tail end of the caterpillar.   The tomato hornworm is actually the larva of the Five spotted hawk moth (Manduca quinquemaculata), whereas, the tobacco hornworm develops into a tobacco hawk moth or Carolina sphinx moth (Manduca sexta).

Tomato Hornworm (2)

Typically, the tomato hornworm is found in the northern part of the United States, while the tobacco hornworm is found in the southern.  Not sure how north Missouri is defined, but all i’ve ever seen on my tomato plants are tobacco hornworms.  Hornworms are not defined by what they are eating, however, since they tend to defoliate potato plants, eggplants, moonflowers, peppers, as well as tomato and tobacco.

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Destructive little buggers!

Eggs deposited on the plant hatch into larvae in about a week in late spring, grow to maturity at about 10 cm (3-4 inches), then drop to the ground to pupate into moths.  They overwinter near the host plant – ready to infest the next year’s crop.

Control of the hornworms is essential if you want any crop production.  On smaller garden plots like mine (only 25 tomato plants), i pluck them off by hand and feed them to the laying hens.

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Parasitic wasps are a natural control.  I didn’t introduce this wasp, but it found this worm in which to deposit its eggs.   After hatching, the wasp larvae will feed on the internal organs of the hornworm.  On the back and sides of this hornworm are visible the cocoons of the wasp larvae.
Hornworm - Sphinx
Another species of hornworm without the horn!  This one is found on a wild grape vine, Virginia Creeper, and such.  It is an Achemon Sphinx. 
Hornworm - fuzzy
I added this photo for fun, though it is not a hornworm, but the larva of a Luna Moth!

On Safari in Missouri!!!

tauna

Israeli Salad

As soon in the spring that i can source good veggies, i start making my Israeli Salad.  I eat a whole batch nearly everyday that i can through the growing season until the veggies get yucky again.

My recipe is simple:

1 green pepper chopped
1 tomato chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cucumber chopped
2 tablespoons dried cilantro or parsley (double that if using fresh)
1 teaspoon Real salt (double this if you are sweating a lot and need salt)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir it all up.  As with most veggies and fruits – room temperature is best for lovely flavours.

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Moussaka for Lunch

Today started out with me castrating about 25 ram lambs.  Thankfully, Dallas and Rick caught and held them for me – MUCH easier to have extra hands.  To castrate lambs, one catches them up and holds their hind legs up to their front legs thereby the testicles are easy to grab hold of.  The handler is holding the ram on his lap.  I assured Rick I’d never missed before.  I think i scared him a bit!   😉  (I did NOT use my teeth!)   We also dewormed all the lambs as well as the ewes.  That will help clean them up and get them gaining well before selling the lot on September 7 at Kirksville Livestock Auction at the special sheep sale that day.  After selling off 54 lambs, 80 ewes, and 2 mature rams on Monday, we counted out about 51 lambs and and 52 ewes to sell the 7th, then I’ll be out of the sheep business.

This afternoon, I’m doing the washing and will clean up and around the barns in preparation for semen checking the bulls tomorrow and hauling out to the cows.

Moussaka” is an Arabic word and a popular dish in many Middle Eastern countries, the immortal eggplant-and-lamb casserole is generally credited to the Greeks, who claim it as a national treasure.  This recipe provides 8-10 servings.

  • 1 large eggplant (or about 2 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 to 2 lbs ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup red wine or beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon snipped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • White Sauce (see recipe)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Tomato Sauce (see recipe)

Cut unpared eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.  Cook slices in small amount boiling, salted water (1/2 teaspoon salt to 1 cup water) until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.  Drain.  Heat butter in 12-inch deep skillet until melted.  Cook and stir lamb and onion until lamb is light brown: drain.  Stir in tomato sauce, wine, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Cook uncovered over medium heat until half the the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Prepare White Sauce.

Stir 2/3 cup of the cheese, 1/3 cup of the bread crumbs and the egg into meat mixture; remove from heat.  Sprinkle remaining bread crumbs evenly in greased oblong baking dish 13 1/2 x 9 x 2 inches.  Arrange half the eggplant slices in baking dish; cover with meat mixture.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the remaining cheese over meat mixture; top with remaining eggplant slices.  Pour White Sauce over mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cook uncovered in 375ºF oven 45 minutes.  Prepare Tomato Sauce.  Let moussaka stand 20 minutes before serving.  Cut into squares; serve with Tomato Sauce.

White Sauce

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten

Heat butter over low heat until melted.  Blend in flour, salt, and nutmeg.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat.  Stir in milk.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Gradually stir at least 1/4 of the hot mixture into eggs.  Blend into hot mixture in pan.

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

Cook and stir onion and garlic in oil in 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until onoion is tender.  Add remaining ingredients except tomato paste.  Heat to boiling, stirring constantly; reduce heat.  Simmer uncovered until thickened, about 30 minutes.  Stir in tomato paste.  (Add 2 to 3 tablespoons water if necessary for desired consistency.

PERSONAL NOTES:

I use organic grass fed milk, eggs, and butter.  Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and locally and organically grown tomatoes for sauces.  You can buy organic tomatoes and paste in the stores.  Thankfully, between what we raise ourselves and what i can purchase, it is all local and/or organic.  Flavors are much better.