By Judy Bernard, Master Gardener
I love tomatoes, especially the ones I can pick fresh from the vine.
Last week I was anxiously awaiting my first tomato. I could see it slowly ripening. Two or three more days and it would be perfect. When I went to pick it, it had small bite marks in it. I feel the most likely culprit is a chipmunk. The bite sizes were about right.
I read somewhere that old rose canes cut into short pieces 5-10cm sprinkled on the ground will keep cats from digging in the garden. Maybe they will deter chipmunks so I put them around my tomato plants. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will work.
I’ve also seen large bites taken out of the tomato. They were deer size. To keep them away, I’ve put plastic webbing around my tomatoes, making sure none were within easy reach.
Slugs also like to eat ripening tomatoes. I went outside with my flashlight one night last year and the tomatoes, the ones that were just the right colour, were covered with slugs. This year, I’ve been collecting my egg shells to mash up fine. They’re going to be spread on the ground around the tomato plants hoping to keep the slugs off. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
The tomato plants in my raised beds 60-70cm high haven’t seen any critter damage (yet). I’ve also got a couple of plants that came up from seed that aren’t protected. I’m willing to share and hopefully the other plants will come through unscathed.