I went out to check on my vegetable garden and to do a little composting and noticed I had all these tiny little black things on my plants. My first thought was oh no, I have an infestation! Cultivating plants from the seed to have them ruined by bugs is such heartbreak especially for a first timer. So much money, sweat, and time has gone into this tiny little raised bed garden in my effort to learn and grow at home. I laugh at myself when I think about what I am doing in my middle life. I think to Ouiser from Steel Magnolias except I am enjoying growing food and I need a funny hat.
I was really puzzled in looking at these things. They weren’t moving. So then my next thought was this must be seeds from bird poop. But there was so much of it! Like a flock of birds would have had to have done it. So I did more research. Ok, so maybe it’s insect poop? I read more about different types of insects that love to much on tomatoes, but I saw nothing of the sort out there. So baffled. I processed one of the images I had through my Seek app, great app to have to any type of naturalist trying to identify animals, insects or plants in the wild. It was doing its best, but nothing it suggested made any sense.
What the heck are these things?
I had to give up for the evening. I didn’t know what I was looking at or what to google “black spec on tomatoes” yeah. Not really a great search.
So the next day I decide to go back out there and look harder. Maybe there are some really camouflaged insects out there that I am missing. I am staring into the plants long and hard. Nothing is appearing. I must not be looking hard enough! My eyes catch a glimpse of something. Suddenly I notice a ton of these tiny little mushrooms growing at the bottom of the plants within the soil. They are cupping these black specs in them. Wow, they are everywhere!! I take a photo and send it to my husband. He’s like oh no it’s the southern blight. My heart sinks. He’s trying to make sense of it too.
I pull out my trusty seek app and run the mushroom photo through it. Aha! Its a fungus called “Fluted Bird’s Nest” commonly found growing on mulch. Raised bed soil uses a lot of mulch to allow for proper drainage. Completely harmless to humans and animals and gardens! When it rains, the little “eggs” spray around causing them to land and stick to the leaves of the plants. In a way they are actually really pretty, and great for self composting. I think I’ll leave them be and hope that I can pick some of these tomatoes before it gets too cold for them!
Ever had this in your garden? What interesting things have you found?