Monday, July 22, 2013

Tomatoes For All

Tomatoes For All

Hi Everyone. The summer became rather busy so I gave myself permission to take a blog break. I hope you are all well and keeping cool if you are in the heat zone. But I am back and looking things over in my backyard.

We planted a variety of tomatoes this year – cherry, beefsteak, and heirloom varieties. They are all growing nicely, thriving in the heat/rain cycles. Some of them have grown to an incredible size, which thrills me.

I was watching one as it got bigger and started turning a deep shade of red. It was ripening so sweetly. I could imagine how it would taste. The day I went out to pick it, though, I had a shock; a quarter of the tomato was eaten into. I could see the seeds. The juice dripped from the opening and I could smell the fresh tomato aroma. I mourned the loss of such a beauty.

There was another tomato on the vine that was just starting to ripen. I didn’t want the same thing to happen so I placed a cage around that section of the plant.  But when I went to check on it the next day, the cage was lifted out of its moorings and the tomato had been nibbled on.

Was it a wascally wabbit that was getting into the garden or a sneaky squirrel? I was talking to a man who had a vegetable garden and he said that groundhogs, in particular, loved tomatoes. I occasionally saw a groundhog around but not lately.

I needed a plan. While I love letting the tomatoes ripen on the vine, I decided to pick them when they were partially red, before the creatures got into them, and to let them ripen the rest of the way on my kitchen counter. So far that is working. We ate one of our tomatoes yesterday and it was absolutely delicious! I can’t blame the outside critters for digging in.

I know that everyone needs to eat and I don’t mind sharing but I would like some produce for myself, too. Next year I will plan differently, perhaps setting aside a small plot for the local scavengers; this year I will just enjoy what I can and at least take pleasure in knowing that my tomatoes are making a party for many mouths.

Here are some ways to discourage squirrels, and I imagine other critters, from chomping on your tomatoes. Some are practical, others tongue-in-cheek:    

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