Squirrel-proofing your tomatoes

ok, I thought I had the solution with netting over the tomatoes - but this has done little in deterring them - they always find a way in. 

What's your solution?  I guess I need close up the edges better.

Years ago I was told the most effective way to make them disinterested begins long before the first tomato is harvested. As soon as you have planted, hang red Christmas balls of any shape and size from them. I’ve been told by multiple people that by the time the tomatoes have appeared, the squirrels have lost interest because they’ve tried so often to eat the ornaments.

this won't help, but it's entertaining.

I built this for a customer 1 or 2 years ago.  It produced the only tomatos he got this year (squirrels stripped the other 15 or 20 plants).

We are building another (larger) cage for his main vegetable bed this fall.

Nice setup.

The squirrels have done quite a number on our netting to get to the tomatoes. We even have some tomato plants outside the cage for them -- but they just want to get in the cage. I don't think the squirrels even eat our cherry tomatoes -- they seem to just like to play with them and knock them off the plant.

I had tomato plants at my mother’s house in Maplewood when we still lived there since our house at the time was full shade.  We lost none to the squirrels.  I have no idea of why, since we didn’t do anything to protect them.

I also planted blueberries and those do great.  But I’m told they were able to eat about five, the mocking birds ate the rest.  And these bushes were covered with an insane amount of blueberries.  

At what point did squirrels turn to tomatoes?  This was not a garden plague in the '80s.

We protect our tomatoes by keeping them in our kitchen after friends bring over some of the massive excess from their gardens. -Goes well with the fresh basil, -also from massive excess from friend's gardens. Yum.

dave said:

At what point did squirrels turn to tomatoes?  This was not a garden plague in the '80s.

It's a 2020 thing, you know, like murder hornets.  

In 20+ years of growing tomatoes in Maplewood, we've never had the amount of loss due to squirrels that we're experiencing this year. Theories abound - maybe the very mild winter resulted in more squirrels, maybe no cars on the road in April resulted in more squirrels, who knows?  It's maddening....

We have had a problem with squirrels eating our tomatoes for at least ten years.  They also eat the strawberries.  We built these enclosures using wood and chicken wire, which allows the tomatoes & strawberries to ripen in a squirrel free environment.  We were surprised how many tomatoes we actually get when the squirrels are denied access to them.  The squirrels also love to dig in newly planted window boxes and pots, so I have made a "shower cap" of chicken wire over them.  You have to do this while the plants are seedlings, and then the plants will grow up through the chicken wire.  (This is for plants that the squirrels won't bother when they are grown.)

Here in SO, squirrels eating tomatoes was not a problem until 3 years ago. Bumper crops were a regular occurrence before then.  That year, though, I saw a few went missing on the vines. I wondered if it was deer, until one day I spotted a squirrel on the fence carrying a tennis ball in its mouth. Squirrel dropped it when I approached; it was a green tomato. It’s been rapidly downhill since then.

We're fostering a heeler/lab mix. I can confirm there are squirrels everywhere. I saw one squirrel yesterday not far from Joe's Pizza with a roll in its mouth.

I saw a squirrel drinking a Pina Colada at Trader Vic's. And his hair was perfect.

Not only tomatoes, my eggplants are being devoured. First time this has happened. Stopped with strawberries after the slugs would eat them. Groundhogs are also another menace to gardens. 

If you catch one in a trap like a Have a Heart where can you release it? Or does it have to be euthanized?

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