Monday, September 10, 2012

Tomato pest or opportunistic scavenger? And a corn story

We have so many tomatoes coming in right now. We picked a couple hundred recently. But I found something strange on the Amish paste tomatoes. It is a good thing there are hundreds of them!

I have never seen or heard of a woodlouse eating a tomato before. So I was genuinely surprised to find this tomato being devoured by a bunch of tiny crustaceans. It always amazes me to think these little guys are more closely related to lobsters than ladybugs. This is the common rough woodlouse or Porcellio scaber. 

These are not typical tomato pest. From the research I have done it seems they will eat a tomato or strawberry after something else has bitten the fruit. It seems once they have a way in then they will gladly eat your tomatoes. A lot of people believe it is usually a slug that does the initial damage with the woodlice following since they share similar niches, shady wet areas. I am going to put out some beer slug traps and see if I get any slugs. I have been meaning to make more toad habitat so maybe this will motivate me.

So I learned a lesson in corn farming. It seems I should have known this since my father's family were corn and potato farmers, but I guess some skills and info didn't make it from my grandfathers generation to mine. One of the reason we are homesteading and doing the blog is to relearn these important skills so we can pass the information on to our children and grandchildren. This corn is a solid blue corn variety. I planted it next to our yellow and white sweet corn. The color yellow is dominate so if your blue corn gets cross-pollinated by your yellow corn this is what happens. I will only plant sweet corn next year. Lesson learned.  

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