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Beginner Gardening: Something is eating large chunks of my just ripening tomatoe

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dervish2
White Plains, NY
(Zone 6b)

August 9, 2012
1:24 PM

Post #9235861

My tomato crop is being decimated. Whatever it is, is light on its feet because nothing is disturbed or knocked over. I covered with bird netting, but it didn't help. I just concocted a hot pepper brew and sprayed it on all the fruit.

Any ideas who the thug is? Any help to protect my crop? Next year I will fence it in, but I would like to save some tomatoes now.

Thank you.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 9, 2012
1:27 PM

Post #9235864

My guess would be chipmunks, squirrels or rabbits. I'd pick them before fully ripe, so at least you get some for yourself...
dervish2
White Plains, NY
(Zone 6b)

August 9, 2012
1:35 PM

Post #9235873

They are eating the high ones and they are just barely turning pink. Should I pick them that early?

I really suspect crows through the netting.
catmad
Pelzer, SC
(Zone 7b)

August 10, 2012
4:46 AM

Post #9236436

Ah. I thought it was the bottom ones for sme reason. Yes, unless the netting is far enough iff the 'maters, that's probably it. Anyway to raise the netting so there's more free space to protect the fruits? I've usd makeshift frames out of bamboo or old poles. Ain't purty, but it works. You could pick them and they'd ripen, but that does seem too soon.

p.s. Recently got home from 10 days in your neck of the woods. I grew up in Scarsdale, and Mom and brother are still there. Hot and wet :)
dervish2
White Plains, NY
(Zone 6b)

August 10, 2012
7:01 AM

Post #9236552

I meant Grackles not Crows. Yes, I think your recommendation is what I need to do - raise the netting with stakes. Thanks for your help.

I haven't been living here that long. I would be happy to leave NY and move somewhere with more land and lower taxes.
birke
Broward County, FL
(Zone 10b)

August 10, 2012
8:49 AM

Post #9236691

In addition to raising the netting you could hang a couple of red plastic balls close to the tomatoes. birds pick on them first, rather then just turning pink ones. They learn that the plastic can't be eaten and hopefully leave the others alone. That helped me with my grape tomatoes last harvest.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

August 10, 2012
9:13 AM

Post #9236723

You can pick a tomato at the slightest blush of color on its butt end, and ripen it perfectly, inside. Doesn't need to sit on a windowsill, either, because once you pick it, the photosynthesis process is broken, so the fruit is no longer responding to the rays from the sun...

So, I would pick those blushing beauties, frustrate the birds, and smile all the way to the salad bar, instead...

Hugs.

Linda

This message was edited Aug 10, 2012 11:14 AM
NatureLover1950
Vicksburg, MS
(Zone 8a)

August 10, 2012
12:42 PM

Post #9236905

I've also ripened my tomatoes as stated by Linda. I put them between two dish towels mostly to keep the AC from drying them out.
hugobee
Montreal, QC
(Zone 5b)

August 10, 2012
6:20 PM

Post #9237228

I concur, pick them early and starve those critters! I'm from Syracuse, now living in Montreal, talking about taxes and a short growing season! Between crows and squirrels gardening can be a challenge!
Sharon

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