Squirrels: The Enemy of the Garden
I am writing this post in anger, I'll admit, but there's some wisdom and warnings to be passed on, so I will post in this state anyway.
I came home this evening to find this:
Do you know what that is? Seasoned gardeners may recognize it; New gardeners, consider this a warning. THIS is the result of an obnoxious squirrel eating my tomato...no, only eating HALF of my first ripe Monica Tomato. They do this. THIS is what they do. I saw this on the ground and thought something may have gotten into my compost tumbler, but no....they went for the fresh stuff.
I've had my share of squirrel issues. They dug up my seeds and seedlings earlier this year. Now, they're doing their usual mid-late season thing of "half-eating" my tomatoes. I was JUST chatting with a friend about this today, as she said squirrels were getting into her garden (and raccoons, but that's another tip for another day). When I made a suggestion to her about how to deal with this she said, "You should write a tip about this." Well, here it is....it's a pretty simple one.
TIP: Take the tomatoes inside after they start to ripen and continue to ripen them indoors.
I know there is a tendency to think that you should leave them on the vine as long as possible. Believe me, I would love nothing more. But, with the constant squirrel battle, you may be better off taking them in early (or you won't take them in at all). I work too hard to have these little fluffy-tailed thieves steal my crops.
So, what to do with them when you bring them in? You can either put them on the window sill or put them in a paper bag. As I wrote about in a previous post, you can put an apple in the bag with the tomatoes to help them ripen faster. Here's another tip: Hang onto that post link for what to do at end-of-season time when you've got a bunch of green tomatoes and cool days/nights without enough sun to ripen them.
From now on, I will bring in my tomatoes early. I brought my two other near-ripe Monica tomatoes indoors....stupid squirrels.
Update: If you're looking for another way to deal with squirrels, read my new post, "Battling Squirrels with Cayenne Pepper."