Author Topic: Squirrel proofing tomatoes  (Read 3501 times)

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Offline Bakersdozen

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Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« on: June 23, 2019, 10:19:50 am »
I am not sure that this posting should go under homestead, but as no one has posted here in a very long time, I will.
In between storms yesterday, I think I have gotten my tomatoes squirrel proofed.
1 1/2 weeks ago I dug up a bed of Iris to build a 5x5 raised bed for tomatoes.  Got that done and planted my tomatoes that I had started from seed.  There was also room for some peppers around the edges.  I got excellent germination from a heirloom variety, Ace 55.
Yesterday, I put up 6 ft. frame around the bed and covered it with bird netting.   I also did the same over part of another bed that I had redone for lavender.  That bed is another story, but at the end of the lavender bed I put 2 tomatoes that are doing very well and have fruit on them.  If my tomatoes produce, the harvest is going to be very late.  Tomatoes need sun and moisture.  We got the moisture, still waiting for lots of sun.
I am told that bird netting is sufficient to deter squirrels.  I hope my source is right.  I know my terrier mix dog is trying his best, but he has to nap sometime. 

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2019, 02:12:44 pm »
Ought to work. Tagging in for updates.  :)
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2019, 01:40:33 pm »
Well, like I said the dog is trying.  I just watched him kill another big, fat squirrel!  The trick is getting the dog to give up his kill.

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2019, 02:48:12 pm »
Puppie just wants a snack! :D
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2019, 08:15:04 pm »
Update:  The bird netting is working!  It's a no squirrel zone.  Tomatoes are starting to ripen.  I've picked 3 beautiful tomatoes!  It's been too hot for any more fruit to set, but I hope to have fruit set this fall.

Offline Newbee

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2020, 07:48:22 am »
Thanks for sharing BakersDozen.
I'm currently wrangling with a group of squirrels in my new garden who developed a taste for seed corn.
I can tell harvest is going to be hard enough if they're going after the seeds this hard.
So far the only solution has been 36 or 40 grains at a time. I think I'll give some of this netting idea a try on a few other crops I have out there.

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2020, 09:43:51 am »
The only problem I had with the bird netting was that it caught birds.  I don't mean starlings.  I caught a wren and a Goldfinch.  The wren I was able to cut lose, but I was too late for the Goldfinch.  I haven't put it up yet this year.  Perhaps I will wait until the plants set fruit and they start to mature.  We have had frost warnings the last 3 nights.  Those tomato plants are just setting there.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2020, 09:46:19 am »
I'd be interested to see if the squirrels try again, or if they have learned that area is a no go zone...
Best of luck!
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 08:54:02 am »
Well, here we are again.  I have 5 tomato plants in the ground.  The rabbits started nibbling on the top tender shoots when they were little.  I put rabbit fencing around the tomato bed and that stopped the rabbits.  The top is open, so far.  I read that squirrels don't like coffee grounds, so that's where the used coffee grounds are going.  I will have to put some type of top over the tomatoes eventually.  Suggestions regarding a top from anyone?  The dog has earned his keep terrorizing the squirrels and keeping the numbers down but those little stinkers can ruin a tomato harvest quick.
My neighbors has 2 tomato plants and they are twice the size of mine. 

Offline iddee

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2020, 10:54:08 am »
Squirrel in the stew pot in the winter means no tomato problem in the summer.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2020, 09:23:29 pm »
That sounds very proverbesque iddee...
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2020, 11:10:42 pm »
Squirrel in the stew pot in the winter means no tomato problem in the summer.

   LOL  mostly what I was thinking too!
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2020, 09:03:17 am »
We have a couple of tomatoes that are starting to ripen.  I placed some inexpensive string trellis type stuff, over the top of the bed, hoping the squirrels won't like it.  I have rabbit fencing around the tomato bed.  I read that squirrels don't like coffee grounds, so we have been adding spent grounds around the base of the plants.  I don't know if it's true, but it can't hurt.
The bird netting, that I used last year, was rather expensive.  I found a wren entangled in the net.  I was able to cut it out.  I didn't find the goldfinch, also caught in the net, in time.  I really hated that.

Meanwhile, the dog is on the job.  He eliminated a juvenile squirrel yesterday.  Good boy!



Offline iddee

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2020, 11:45:02 am »
I would check the PH of the coffee grounds. Lime is added to tomato plant soil to raise the PH and prevent root rot. If coffee grounds are low PH, they may increase root rot.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2020, 09:56:36 am »
Thanks for the tip, iddee.  I never thought about that.  The pH of the soil, around here, is usually 7.  I have heard of old timers adding Epsom Salts.  I believe that helps with the flavor of the fruit.  The normal maladies in this part of the country include blossom end rot, tomato hornworms, and squirrels.  I have been fertilizing with fish fertilizer.   No tomato hornworms or blossom end rot, just squirrels!  Today I will pick my first tomato.  It's on the smallish side.  We'll see how it tastes.

Offline Newbee

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2020, 04:14:37 pm »
I purchased one of those inflatable owl-shaped balloons at a local nursery supply place, and it's worked pretty well!
I've noticed a big reduction in squirrel and rabbit activity around my garden down in the pasture (upper garden is fenced). I dare to say they haven't gone in it since... Interestingly enough, I've also noticed a hawk seems to like hanging out in the pasture early in the mornings, too? It was rather active the first day I set it up, so I don't know if it's just co-incidence, or it's got him fooled, too.

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2020, 11:06:05 am »
Today I will pick my first tomato.  It's on the smallish side.  We'll see how it tastes.

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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2020, 04:55:04 pm »
They taste fine and some of them are really heavy.  That's a good thing!  I have managed to keep the squirrels and rabbits out while not killing any birds.  I am finding that some of my tomato plants were mislabeled.  :o  More like customers juggled the labels around.
I have made numerous mistakes with these tomatoes.  I planted too close, bought mislabeled plants, didn't put down mulch, and I am letting blue vine grow around the fencing.  I have faithfully watered though.  Anyway, we have plenty for us and we all know that nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato.
Blue vine is in the milkweed family and is one of the few nectar sources blooming now. 

Offline neillsayers

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Re: Squirrel proofing tomatoes
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2020, 12:31:46 pm »
B13,
 I have long said that once you eat a homegrown vine ripened tomato you'll never buy another green-picked-shipped-from-california tomato. As for mislabeling, either customers or nursery workers who don't care.
 My bride, who is big into seed-saving heirlooms, believes the seed company are defrauding buyers by using the old favorite names on their varieties. :o
 Coffee grounds may bring your pH down a bit, but a base pH of 7 could stand to come down to 6 or 6.5.
 Glad the netting worked, sorry about the poor finch.

 :)


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