Whats eating my tomatoes???

jackz411July 26, 2007

I recently noticed some critter has been eating my tomatoes. Never had that happen before. They eat about 1/3 or 1/4 of the tomato. Do birds or chipmunks or squirels eat tomatoes? What animal does? Thanks, JK

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whitegarden(Z5 MA)

I have had chipmunks eat my tomatoes in past years. One year it was so bad that I fenced in each group of plants. No signs of that behavior yet this year though.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:45PM
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We had this happen in my first big garden, about 35 years ago, in the wilds of western Mass. We were practically living on the land, and started everything from seed that spring - there were probably 20 tomato plants.

We watched the first tomato slowly ripen, and when we thought it might be ripe enough, went to pick it. Half of it was gone. This continued all the way through summer, and we lost about 6 or 8 tomatoes every day; never spotted the critter who was doing the deed, though. When frost threatened, we picked all the green tomatoes and carefully wrapped them in newspaper; for the next 2 months we'd take a few out and set them on a windowsill to ripen. Lo and behold, just as they'd turn red, there would be big bites taken out of them.

That was how we learned that dogs love tomatoes.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 7:31PM
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Digging, Funny story! Is your dog a Lab? They'll eat anything! At least my sister's will. He used to steal tomatoes from her garden too.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 9:34PM
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jackied164(z6 MA)

Mine have been eaten by a groundhog in the past. So far I dont see any missing this year. I have resigned myself to letting him have the lower fruit while I get those he cannot reach (I stake them very well).

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 2:09PM
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We have squirrels living in our maple trees and I see them taking half-ripened tomatoes from the neighbor's veggie patch and munch on them on our yard. They never seem to finish the whole thing b/c I always find half-eaten tomatoes thrown out on our yard.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 8:03PM
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There are also insects that can do that. Tomato & tobacco hornworms have prodigious appetites once they're in their last larval stage and approaching maturity. They're caterpillars of "hawkmoths", moths that fly at night and are as good at flying as hummingbirds. They're pretty in their way, but the caterpillars do nasty damage to tomatoes sometimes!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 6:15PM
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Well, it is the chipmunks. I saw one dining 2 nights ago.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 9:02PM
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whitegarden(Z5 MA)

The good thing about chipmunks is that they will eat an entire tomatoe before they start to much on another. The year it was happening to me, nothing seemed to stop them, so I started buying tomatoes from the grocery store and placing one at a time at the base of my plants. They ate that one and stayed away from mine. I got the tasty homegrown ones and they seemed happy with the store-bought ones. I took some flack on this board for doing it, but I was happy with the result so that was all I cared about.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:00AM
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WG - that is a great idea, and it makes a good story too. I'll *bet* you got flack about it!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 12:57PM
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whitegarden(Z5 MA)

Hi diggin, yes, someone insisted it was against their principals to "feed" the critters, but I was happy to do it. I hate it when critters take a bite out of everything and are just destructive. If they are actually eating stuff then I have no problem giving something back. BTW that year the cause was, I think, drought. I read somewhere that they were actually more interested in the moisture in the tomato than the fruit itself.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Not sure about it being because of drought--because I definitely have had a wet spring and summer. Chipmunks are chipmunks. Lotta energy. I notice they will sometimes climb up my garden plants and jump down. They even climb up my roses, thorns not a problem.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 5:51PM
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treeskate(6a Hartford CT)

My neighbor thought it was local deer that attacked her potted tomato plants...but a few days later, she saw a squirrel having a feast, eating a few bites then going to the next one. Ironically, 2 days after that she saw a deer helping herself to what remained. Sigh..... so it was back to the local farm market store for their tomatoes. I felt so bad for her. It was the first year she planted in pots and was so proud that they were growing so well.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 5:03PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

DEATH to vegetable eating pests.
You shouldn't feed them. It only encourages them. What if you feed the mother and then she brings the babies. Oh, they are so cute!!!! And you end up with NONE.
Happy Gardening anyhow!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 3:18AM
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runktrun(z7a MA)

Wow, this misadventures of tomato growing in NE, and I thought the horned worm was the tomatoes biggest threat!!! So what varieties are you growing?? Are there any heirloom tomato growers out there?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 7:58PM
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littleonefb(zone 5, MA)

I'd go with the chipmunks getting the tomatoes, especially after today. Sun finally came out this afternoon and decided to go pic those wonderful sweet 100's for a salad with dinner. Just as I got out there, 4 chipmunks where running off from under one of the vines, nice full fat little mouths they had, stuffed full of the tomatoes for dinner.

Last year I could look out a window and see those critters sitting on top of a tomato munching away. They aren't too bright either, cause they where sitting on top of the tomato, eating it from the top and all of a sudden down they go, tomato and all.

As for what varieties am I growing. I've got on plant of each of the following all started from seeds saved from last years crop and all where Wintersown both last year and this year.

Sweet 100
black cherry
large cherry red
warren's yellow cherry
yellow jubilee
purple cherokee
white wonder

And these 2 new ones, seeds from seed exchange

Xmas grape
tiny tim


    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 10:12PM
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