Living in harmony with uninvited neighbours

Caterpillar of the Bright–line Brown-eye or Tomato moth

What a marvellous holiday in the garden. Building another raised bed using planks from an old shed door so we can grow more potatoes – their flavour is sublime. Preparing for another water butt to increase our rainwater harvesting – we have no shortage of naturally occurring fresh water when we can be bothered to collect it.

Then I found them! Caterpillars on our tomato plants, nibbling leaves and several tomatoes. The Bright–line Brown-eye or Tomato moth.

We want to eat our tomatoes, but we also try to encourage wildlife. What should I do?

I decided, perhaps foolishly, to try living alongside each other. Most of the tomato crop has ripened and there is about a third left. I gathered a pile of juicy leaves and placed this away from the tomatoes, picked off the caterpillars and placed them on the leaves.

I inspect the tomatoes more frequently now, but hope we can live together. I am interested to see if we have more moths next year, which could create tomato growing problems. Somehow we’ll work it out.

Away from computers, away from people, away from social media, it’s satisfying to work out how we can co-exist with others with competing needs.

This morning, as I dip into the digital world, I see that already hate hashtags have been invented for the likely new prime minister to be announced shortly.

It’s generally thought that we are above caterpillars in terms of evolutionary development, but I question this. At a time when I believe, as a species we should be working together, it seems that too many people take comfort in furthering damaging division at every opportunity.

Bizarre that it’s easier to get along with caterpillars than people.

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