Animals eating my tomatoes.

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Klaus Walnut Grove, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. Klaus Walnut Grove

    Klaus Walnut Grove Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Langley, BC
    Greeting all, this is my first posting as I just joined today so please slide me a Mulligan if I've made any errors in procedure and format.

    This is the fourth house my wife and I have owned since 1976, 3 in Surrey (1 Newton area, 2 Cloverdale) and our current house is in the Walnut Grove area of Langley. This is our second summer in this house. It didn't have a veggie garden so putting one in was one of the first things I did last year.

    We've enjoyed home grown tomatoes in all of our homes. Last year we had terrific tomatoes and looked forward to this year. We are growing about 6 varieties of tomatoes in our garden, several cherry and pear shaped small varieties plus a number of medium sized fruiting cultivars. All grew, bloomed and set fruit very well. However, something started eating our tomatoes as soon as they ripened. Then they progressed to eating any fruit that even started to turn red or yellow so we've had almost no tomatoes this year.

    We had great cucumbers, peppers, bush beans, multiplier onions, lettuce, chard, etc. There has been the occasional half eaten fruit and it has small rodent like tooth markings. We have lots of critters in the area including racoons, squirrels and rats. The bite marks make me think it's one of the latter two. That has never happened to us in any of our previous gardens. I should add that I put out some rodenticide in two covered locations in the garden and the pouches haven't been touched. Anybody else have this problem? Advice or possible solutions?
     
  2. bonsaipf

    bonsaipf Active Member

    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Chilliwack, BC
    Hi. Welcome to the forums! I did have that same problem a couple of years ago. But I put out a rat poison trap (one of the ones that only rats or mice can climb into in order to get the poison) and we got a cat and that solved the problem. Between our dog, who also kills rats, the cat, and the trap we eliminated most of any problems we had with varmints.
     
  3. Klaus Walnut Grove

    Klaus Walnut Grove Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Langley, BC
    Thanks for the reply. So you think it's the rats and not the squirrels. It's weird that the tomatoes in both of our previous gardens in Cloverdale never had this problem. And I know we had rats in both locations because I had to control them when they went into the garden sheds. And like I said in the initial post, the rat bait stations have now been out for over a week and haven't been touched.
     
  4. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,698
    Likes Received:
    226
    Location:
    Burnaby, Canada
    We have had fruit-eating rats for several years. Ours only bother the grapes and Kiwi fruits, leaving the tomatoes alone; but they could go after tomatoes if there isn't any sweeter fruit to be found. I use standard rat traps since leaving rat poison around does not seem appealing. Also, I'm not sure that these rats would be attracted to the usual poisoned baits, since I had no luck with traps baited with cheese or bacon, which work well with other types of rats. The most effective bait has been homemade grape jam, but I suspect that any fruit jam would work.

    I doubt that your pests are squirrels, since we have problems with squirrels taking bites out of many different kinds of fruit but never tomatoes. The squirrels are young ones that are actually after the seeds in the fruit and reject it when they find no useful seeds. If they were sampling your tomatoes, you should find whole tomatoes on the ground with a bite taken out of each one.
     
  5. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,227
    Likes Received:
    410
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    A word of caution here: if you use rat poison, sick or dying rats are easy prey for your dog and cat, and if they then eat the poisoned rats, they will get poisoned themselves too.
     
  6. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    ...don't forget raccoons...I'm down the hill from you Klaus, and the 'coons treat my garden as their salad patch. They eat the water plants from my pond, the corn, the grapes and then I blame them for almost all the other damage and uprootings...until I remember the squirrels...oh, and the moles...don't forget the rats, fieldmice, voles, possums, bluejays, crows, starlings, children and grandchildren.

    Sometimes I wonder why I have a veggie garden at all :)

    BTW, I don't grow tomatoes. I am blessed with that wonderful thing...a neighbour that grows too many!
     
  7. Klaus Walnut Grove

    Klaus Walnut Grove Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Langley, BC
    Thanks all for your contributions / thoughts. Lysichiton, yup, there's raccoons all over this neighbourhood. But the bite marks don't match for size of bite or dentition for them or opossums (ain't seen a buck-toothed raccoon yet!) ;-)

    My biggest hope is that by next summer the little furry (expletive of your choice deleted) will have forgotten all about tomatoes. It is odd that, other than slugs, this is the first time that a critter has chowed down on my tomatoes after ~40 years of gardening. Hope they don't develop a taste for figs as I took cuttings from my best fig trees in our last Cloverdale garden and they're growing like stink. Hope to have fruit in the next year or two from them.
     
  8. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Fraser Valley, BC.
    Klaus, There are some escaped rabbits around Walnut Grove at times. I am not sure if it is a permanent population, or gets wiped-out then re-established. Nice to hear from another contributor close to me :)
     

Share This Page