After successfully planting the seedlings in my new garden a couple weeks ago, I was very happy with the tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra, and melon plants. Within the first week, however, I lost two of my twelve tomato plants. Mysteriously, they were dug out at the roots and left– half of the plant chewed off — laying in the row.
I sighed, and reminded myself that my new animal friends in my yard were always going to take some of the harvest. But, then the next day ten of my twelve tomato plants were gone! Hacked in pieces and dug up at the roots.
With only two tomato plants left, I was very worried. Luckily, I was able to head to Behnke’s for their 4th of July sale and picked up a variety of pepper plants to use the space. I was thankful for the remaining tomato plants. I wondered, who was ruining my tomatoes?
Day three of the battle of the tomatoes, the remaining two plants were destroyed. The squirrels won. It turns out they enjoy eating tomato plants, particularly during times without much rain. Our heat wave here in the DC area must have encouraged the squirrels to take advantage of my tomato plants.
I’m left without any tomatoes in my home garden – but with an addition of many different varieties of hot and sweet peppers and a newfound determination to deter the squirrels from eating my plants. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with:
- Hot pepper spray to apply to my vegetable plants
- Squirrel feeder on the other side of the house to detract from the garden
- Netting around the vulnerable (ie squirrel-attractive) plants
- Shiny-items that move in the wind including hanging disposable pie pan (shown in photo below)
At my last house, my roommate purchased a sling-shot to try to teach squirrels to stay away from the garden.
Despite the loss of the tomatoes, I’ve been eager to install drip irrigation for the vegetables, continue to improve my herb garden and start to plan for my fall planting. I picked up seeds for pumpkins, winter squash, greens, radishes, and other root vegetables. I also purchased some new garden tools including a mini-shovel. Although the battle of the tomatoes was lost, I will not be defeated.
Let us know if you’ve been experiencing any issues with squirrels. What has worked (or not worked) for you? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!