case of the disappearing tomatoes...!

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  #1  
Old 06-16-07, 08:14 PM
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case of the disappearing tomatoes...!

Went out in the garden today to peek at my tomato plants. 1 each of beefsteak, roma and cherry. All thriving. No ripe fruit yet, but lots of green tomatoes.....

Well, there WERE lots of green tomatoes. The beefsteak had a few large fruit, probably 2-3" in diameter. The roma had dozens of smaller thumb-sized fruit. All gone. Picked clean. The fruit that remains is intact...no holes or bites taken out. I human could not have picked them any better. No sign of rotted, half-eaten fruit on the ground, or animal droppings.

The cherry tomoatoes were left untouched. I guess whatever took them didn't need to pick on that one plant.

My question is, what in the heck could do such a neat job and leave no traces? I do have squirrels in the yard, but I've never seen them do anything except look for nuts they had already burried. It has been pretty hot here lately; I had read that during hot periods squirrels may go after tomatoes?

The pepper plants next to the tomatoes, which have large fruit as well, were left unharmed. I'm not really concerned about production, as in a week or so there will be another supply of green fruit.

Any idea what did this? We had racoons a couple of years ago, trapped and released, and have not see one since. So I'm not sure. I read that putting bone meal around the plant works to deter squirrels?

Thanks all. It's a complete mystery.
 
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Old 06-16-07, 09:08 PM
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There are many species of wildlife that will steal tomatoes. Many of these are nocturnal. You can sprinkle flour around plants so that you can identify foot prints. Motion sensor sprinkles are great for keeping wildlife out of gardens and landscapes. Once you identify the critters, you can also trap. Fencing in garden is another option, and burrowing metal mesh fence around garden will keep out animals that tend to dig their way into gardens.
 
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Old 06-16-07, 09:57 PM
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thanks twelvepole. How about bonemeal or other type of additive to the soil or on the plant? Pepper spray perhaps?

I have one of those ultrasonic sensors that I used to use (not effectively really) when I had the racoon problem. It has since run out of batteries, but would it work for squirrels and such? I guess it's worth a try.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 06-16-07, 10:21 PM
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Do the flour and identify the tracks. Eliminate the guessing. Report back and we can discuss the issue.
 
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Old 06-16-07, 10:36 PM
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already done. Thanks.
 
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Old 06-17-07, 07:42 AM
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no track marks this morning. I'll keep you posted.
 
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Old 06-19-07, 03:26 PM
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im having the very same problem. fuente, where do you live? im in tennessee. wonder if we have the same pest???
i have big boys & romas. ive been watching them very carefully. i know birds are the culprit for the romas. i found left-overs on the ground under the plant of ripe ones with what looks like beak punctures. today i found a green one on the rail around my deck with same punctures. with it being up high, it is confirmed it is a bird. but what really upset me was my largest big boy (at least 3") that i planned on picking this afternoon is GONE! missing with out a trace! it wasnt completely ripe, but i planned on picking it so it wouldnt get stolen!
the stem is broke off clean, along with the little green leaves at the intersection of the stem & tomato. what could carry off such a large fruit? raccoon? squirrel? bird?
i'll try try the flour. im also getting a large plastic owl to ward off the birds...
 
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Old 06-19-07, 03:38 PM
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I'm in California, but it sounds like the same animal. Good luck. I have not seen him come back though.
 
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Old 06-20-07, 05:47 AM
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I have seen with my own eyes squirells stealing my tomatoes. They would take them and run off sometimes sitting on the fence eating them. I moved my garden closer to the house where the neighbors dog is usually outside and I have had no thievery in the past 2 years.
 
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Old 06-20-07, 06:09 AM
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Birds will get used to the owl. Netting will protect fruits and veggies from birds. Someone just told me yesterday that squirrels were stealing tomatoes.
 
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Old 06-20-07, 07:09 AM
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If you were my neighbor, it would be me....I love a fresh vine ripened tomato, just slice and add a little salt.
But I am certainly interested in the answer here. I will be planting soon.
 
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Old 06-21-07, 01:43 AM
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Do you have dogs??
Several years ago I had same problem with tomatoes in earth box on my deck. Watching for one big tomato to get red and ripe. It disappeared! No trace, no damage to plant, nothing. I just knew someone had stolen my tomato. Didn't think an animal could get it without doing some damage to plant. Had to be human. One day while washing dishes looking out the window at my beautiful tomato plants and saw MY own cocker spaniel pulling tomatoes off the plant and eating them!! She was a tomato eating dog. I put a wire fence around the plant and was able to get the rest of my tomatos. Would never have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes.
Just thought I would share my disappearing tomato story.
Good luck with your problem.
Murphy
 
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Old 06-21-07, 08:58 AM
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no, no dog yet. But that reminds me of a story my brother told me about a bean plant he was growing. Same thing as you said, beans would be there one day, gone the next. It was a mystery until he caught his dog nibbling on the plants.
 
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Old 06-21-07, 03:07 PM
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i came home yesterday & saw a squirrel lurking around close to the garden. i eventually saw him enter my garden but out of my sight. i ran around the house for different view & i caught him RED HANDED running through the yard with one of my big boys! he dropped it once i scared him off. so, i put a net around my garden hoping it would help deter any future attempts.
but then, i woke up last night to see that something had set off the motion sensor lights in the backyard so i thought i would investigate. much to my surprise i found a big fat raccoon standing on my patio railing on his hind legs checking out my fake owl!!! as i stood there stunned, he decided he wanted to try to reach over & take a sniff of my patio tomatoes that i thought i had safely out of animals way. at that point i ran out my backdoor yelling & flailing my arms around & man did that raccoon take nose dive straight into the garden! he completely destroyed the fence i had put up earlier and it looks like he didnt get a chance to snack on any of my fresh veggies!
by the way, the owl seems to be keeping the birds away for now. i move it around every day.
 
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Old 06-22-07, 08:50 AM
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An update to the original ‘attack’…

I purchased a product called Shake Away, supposed to have fox urine in it. All I know is that it stinks like garlic. That, and the use of an ultrasonic motion sensor (that I had purchased a few years ago to deter a raccoon) has seemed to keep him away.
 
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Old 07-07-07, 09:16 PM
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I have deer that frequent my neighborhood. They eat my hostas, tulips, daylillies, flowers, and my tomatoes.
I use a little dish soap in a spray bottle. I fill it with water and spray my plants. Then I sprinkle on a little red pepper. Haven't noticed any damage for several weeks.
SteveS
 
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