Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tomato-stealing squirrels versus Iris, part 1

The squirrels are two for two right now. So, at the moment, I have no tomatoes, only some flowers on several plants. Husband Kurt is planning to build some serious tomato cages this weekend, but until then, I’ve put out some deterrents.

Well, I hope they’re deterrents because I spent at least three hours researching this stuff online and, because I didn’t want to sprinkle cayenne and risk getting it in my cat’s or dog’s eyes, I decided on the following recommendations for part 1 of my quest:
pantyhose feet stuffed with tree tea oil-soaked cotton balls
vinegar-soaked rags
shiny ribbon things that move in the wind plus a few dangling tin tops (from cat food cans)
coffee grounds

Apparently squirrels don’t like “stinky” things, or coffee grounds, or shiny, erratically moving things near their potential spoils. Maybe they just don’t like ugly pantyhose feet, rags, and tin lids. Because they're all ugly.


Lancashire rose said...

Did you see the tomato cage my h built out of sprinkler pipe and deer cloth? Seems to work a treat. Then there is the ultimate answer- havahart.

ConsciousGardener said...

Hilarious! You're garden must look like a crazy woman lives there! We need a follow up story..."Does it work?"

Iris said...

Lancashire rose,
I couldn't find your husband's tomato cage on your blog--is it documented somewhere? I'd love to see it & am not ready to resort to havahart (yet).

I'll definitely do a follow-up, but at the moment I have no tomatoes know if any of this works.

Fortunately, this is in our mostly privacy-fenced back yard, so my one next door neighbor across the chain link fence side is really the only one who sees it. And she probably already thinks I'm crazy!

TexasDeb said...

I love it! You psyched me out though - made me look. By way of which I am saying I have 3 tomatoes so far, all on their way to ripe, and after reading your post I HAD to go look to see if they were still intact.

They are but I spotted a bunch more leaf footed bugs on the daisies I'll go submerge.

I've had dogs, squirrels, birds and bugs all go after tomatoes over the years. It's a wonder any ever get to the table.

Annie in Austin said...

Wow, Iris, this is scary - I thought the presence of a dog would help.

Renee and MSS of Zanthan also wrote about disappearing tomatoes today. Better go check on my little green ones now!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Iris said...

Texas Deb and Annie,

The thing that made the thievery really disappointing was that they stole my first ever full-sized heirloom tomatoes--Cherokee Purple-- not some cherries. They were still green and almost golf ball-sized at the time.

TexasDeb said...

Ooof! No wonder you took "steps". They have declared WAR! Good for you for fighting back.

Lancashire rose said...

You can catch a glimpse of the tall tomato cage on my recent plants in the pathway post

Iris said...

Lancashire Rose,
Your husband's tomato cage is quite impressive!! We're starting smaller than that for the time being, but I'm glad to see your model.

Did they still one of yours, too?? Sorry if so.

Anonymous said...

I recently moved to a new house in Allandale and the squirrels are ruthless. The neighbors swear by feeding the squirrels. They nail a used tin can to a tree and fill the can with food (dried corn, maybe) and the squirrels eat the corn and not the plants.

Iris said...


Thanks for the input. I've heard of that tactic but am reluctant because I want to discourage the squirrels from hanging out in my back yard, period.

I realize this is unrealistic, so I may have to do the feeding thing.