It was nice while it lasted

We have lived in Georgia for eight years. I’ve been growing vegetables here for seven years. I’ve battled slugs, aphids, thrips, and the dreaded tomato horn worms. I’ve set up rain barrels and coaxed plants along in the constant 100+ temperatures. And never, EVER, before this year did I have any problems with my tomatoes simply disappearing.

Never before did tomatoes simply start appearing atop the fence.

Never before did my husband set up a video camera to catch the shameless thieves, until now:

Unmasking the tomato thieves from woulda on Vimeo.

It’s mid-July and I’ve already processed about a gallon of tomato sauce. But that might be it, because right now my plants are BARE.

Have I mentioned that I hate squirrels? I really, REALLY hate squirrels.

18 Responses to “It was nice while it lasted”

  1. 1
    StephLove July 17, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    I am hating rabbits these days. Cute little bunny rabbits. I am ready to go all Watership Down on them.

  2. 2
    MaryFran July 17, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    My Dad (a prolific gardener visiting from Illinois) asked if there’s enough water down there. I think someone else commented that they are only doing it because they’re thirsty. I still like my Red Rider idea, though.

  3. 3
    Karen July 17, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    Over here in Connecticut.. where we have plenty of squirrels and rabbits, mind you… It’s the damned woodchucks that have attacked my gardens. WOODCHUCKS~~… does caddyshack come to mind here? It should… *sigh

  4. 4
    meghann July 17, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    It’s a horror movie for gardeners. We have squirrel and rabbit issues this year. Apparently rabbits love cantaloupe leaves. Sigh.

  5. 5
    Aimee July 17, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    Furry little bastards. My grandmother wasn’t a gardener, but she hated squirrels because the stole the seeds she put out for her beloved birds.

  6. 6
    Bobbie July 17, 2015 at 11:57 am #

    The squirrel was eating the tomato that some kind soul left for him (her?), but the video didn’t actually show the squirrel stealing the tomato…

    @Karen: my friend has trapped three HUGE woodchucks in a safe trap in her yard. Once caught, they get driven about five miles down the road. You don’t live near Ellington, do you?

    • 6.1
      Mir July 17, 2015 at 11:58 am #

      The husband set up the camera once we saw the two (new) tomatoes appear on the fence. Not pictured: I walked out there about an hour later and while I was chasing one squirrel out of the tomato box, another one ran up a tree with a giant tomato in his mouth. Grrrrrr.

    • 6.2
      Brigitte July 17, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

      In CT too, we did that with a groundhog too. But, shhh, don’t tell, I think it’s illegal to relocate wildlife!

  7. 7
    Meri July 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm #

    My dad bought a BB gun to scare away the squirrels. He says it’s not enough to injure them, just scare them, and that it’s working pretty well. He may have more time to stalk squirrels than you do.

  8. 8
    KateB July 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    Could you put a net over the garden? It would be annoying to move every time you harvested but at least you’d get to harvest something.

  9. 9
    Sara July 17, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    Squirrels have been eating my blueberries. I have also had Bluejays eating them. It’s really cute to watch but I’m starting to run low on them and they aren’t even ripe yet!

  10. 10
    Angela July 17, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

    We’ve battled rabbits a few ways but most recently my husband simply happened to kill the pesky rabbit with a sling shot. Yeah that is hot! Anyway then I freaked out thinking we can’t just throw the rabbit away, we need to skin it and eat it so it isn’t a total waste. Mind you we don’t hunt or fish. We googled our hearts out and it was realized that my husband wasn’t going to do it for me so I skinned and gutted and cooked that little rabbit for a late night snack. We’ve been about 95% vegan for 5 years…It was traumatizing but tasty. I may have prayed the whole time I was doing it so I wouldn’t cry.

    That said, during the incident my dad talked about a time when he killed a squirrel and his mom made him cook it. He said it was gross. So don’t bother with that. Just kill the suckers.

  11. 11
    Elz July 18, 2015 at 11:06 pm #

    Live trap and relocate. It’s worked for all the raccoons who have been stealing our cat’s food. Our normal default would be a Red Rider, but, I know that’s not your normal MO.

  12. 12
    Lizneust July 19, 2015 at 8:42 am #

    Chicken wire will be your friend. I cannot remember his name – Bill? – but there is a blogger who lives in upstate NY who built what he referred to as “vegetable jail” because of the deer. You can build one fairly easily – basically a large box made of fine gauge chicken wire (with door) that keeps everybody out. If you are worried about chipmunks, you dig in the walls about 5″ under ground. It is not pretty, but it will keep the jerks out of your tomatoes and it can be used as a trellis for your peas and green beans. Good luck.

  13. 13
    Mary K. in Rockport July 19, 2015 at 10:25 am #

    I was going to say the same as the commenter above who thought that the squirrel was taking advantage of a tomato left by another veggie predator atop the railing. Could a squirrel carry something as big as a tomato up there? A raccoon could, for sure. But now you say you’ve seen the pesky squirrels doing the deed. In our family, we have given up trying to grow our veggies after many years of doing so. Lately, something always goes awry. It’s cheaper and easier to just buy them at our favorite roadside stand.

  14. 14
    TC July 20, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    We used to get so many tangerines on our tangerine tree that we couldn’t eat them all. Then came the drought. Then came the squirrels. Now, of the maybe dozen tangerines that seem to want to ripen each year? I don’t even get one.

    Frickin squirrels.

  15. 15
    Cathy July 22, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    Squirrels have utterly destroyed my avocado tree’s crop this year. Beginning of the season? HUNDREDS of tiny, beautiful avocados. Now, when we’d normally be picking them? FIVE. Those little furry bastards keep taking about three bites from an avocado on the tree and then moving to the next one.

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