Carl Spackler, Caddyshack
Judging by the bites on the green and somewhat green ones, something likes our tomatoes quite well.
Something-SOME THING-is chewing on our tomatoes.
Bob and I have been stalking our tomatoes for the past few weeks. We knew every tomato when it was just a yellow flower. We cheered them when they were embryo tomatoes and have encouraged them as they got bigger. It was a day of celebration when we saw the first tinge of greenish yellow and knew that homegrown tomatoes on the table were imminent.
Then, we saw the bite marks. Only the few tomatoes adjacent to the walk were untouched. We found droppings near the tomato container. Evidence that a small mammal does not have the rule “don’t poop where you eat.” For a few moments we did a re-enactment of the Three Bears with Bob playing the role of Papa Bear and me as Mama Bear: “Who’s been eating MY tomatoes!??!”
We compared photos of animal scat-which is a nice way of saying poop-with the photos on the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management and discovered that we most likely had a rodent. Since the damage was happening during the day, our tomato desecrator was most likely a squirrel.
Who would have thought that a squirrel would eat tomatoes? We didn’t. According to www.gardenweb.com squirrels aren’t usually fans of tomatoes but will eat them more often during times of drought. Which is what we have here in south Texas.
But what to do about our ‘mater molestation? The jury was out on the forum for gardenweb. Some folks said that spraying the green fruit with olive oil would repel squirrels. Others said that doesn’t work. There were several others suggestions.
1.Put mothballs down around your plants.
2.Hang rags soaked in vinegar and stapled onto small wooden stakes or dowels near you plants.
3.Should you be a coffee drinker who brews it up using coffee grounds then empty your coffee filter around the base of your tomato plants and that should help you.
4.You can also mix up some regular cheap liquid soap with some ground red hot chili pepper powder and pour that around the base of your tomato plants. Do some out about 2 inches and then another ring out about the same distance as your widest leaves on your plant.
Texas Agriculturla Extension Service (San Antonio) horticulture specialist, Jerry Parsons, Ph.D. said his personal preference is stewing: Squirrel stew can’t be beat! The good news in many areas of Texas is that there is no legal bag limit. Because of the good nut and acorn crop last year the squirrel population is unusually high and the legal bag limit has been increased to ten–we must be living right! For those who think squirrels resemble rats and shouldn’t be eaten–forget such a ridiculous idea! Squirrels have furry tails; rats do not. Have you ever heard of rat stew? No! Yet everyone has heard of squirrel stew. In fact there wouldn’t be a Texas if it weren’t for squirrel stew.
That’s right! Davy Crockett and his Tennessee sharpshooters wouldn’t have reached puberty if it were not for squirrel stew. Besides, what do you think they ate on the long trip from Tennessee to the Alamo? Enchiladas? Nope! You guessed it–squirrel stew. Now aren’t you ashamed of comparing squirrel to rat?