Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tomato-stealing squirrels versus Iris, part 2

Squirrels are now three for four. None of my dangling of tin can lids or hanging of vinegar-soaked rags or sprinkling of coffee grounds deterred them from snatching my bigger-than-a-golfball heirloom Cherokee Purple, even though I’d carefully wrapped it in a piece of pantyhose and tied it to the stalk. Mercifully, they overlooked this smaller one:

After more research and some advice from Jenny of Rock Rose and Renee of Renee’s Roots, we’re now trying bird netting. Using pieces of bamboo my neighbor put out for bulk trash pickup, husband Kurt constructed these cool teepee things, over which he draped the bird netting.

The netting is secured at the bottom with various bricks and a piece of wood. It’s been almost 24 hours with the new set up and that smaller heirloom is still intact. The only other possible deterrents out there now are a big, gaudy twirling flower ornament and some dangling stars.

nice lashing skills

I also have about 20 green cherry tomatoes, Sun Golds, growing naked on three other plants. Kurt said he would make bird netting teepees for them next weekend.

In the super sunny front yard, I stuck some potted tomato plants, two of which are volunteers and three of which are either Black Krims or Green Zebras I grew from seed (forgot to label them.) So far, the squirrels haven’t noticed them, but I’ll probably end up covering those in bird netting, too. Really, I’m not obsessed.


TexasDeb said...

I especially like the dangling stars. Extremely festive. As much as I am loathe to harm animals, having squirrels steal food from the yard absolutely crosses a line. It is interesting they seem to go after the Purple Cherokees so consistently. I think your net teepees look very cool and will be waiting to hear if they work.

Caroline said...

I put bird netting around my Juliet and Celebrity tomatoes as soon as they set and it's worked like a charm. I haven't lost a single fruit to squirrels, birds, possums or any other critter. I have my fingers crossed for your remaining tomatoes!

Annie in Austin said...

We've got bird netting draped over the tomato frame too, Iris - and although I hope it works for the squirrels, also hope it works for birds - had a couple of beak-punches right through small tomatoes.

Good luck!


vertie said...

I also just put up bird netting and this morning I had some seriously pissed off birds and squirrels. Hope it works for both of us!

Neleh said...

I'm rooting for you! Go fight win!

Bob said...

I hope your netting works. They will still get some that are closer to the netting than others.

I think the only way to positively eliminate the problem is to eliminate the problem. Either trap the ones that are preying on your garden or shoot them. I preferr to shoot them as they eat very well, especially the ones that are fattened up on tomatoes.

Steph said...

Just walked out to find my first "Better Boy" tomato has vanished! I have also lost the first "Viva Italia" paste tomato and now know squirrels (actually one squirrel in a oak tree) is the culprit! I am putting out coffee grounds today to see if that helps, but your blog is an inspiration -- thanks!