Tomato Troubles

Done with the painting project!
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Now the garden comes back into focus.  
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Early August is normally the time of year when I'm busy canning garden tomatoes.  Not this year.  The crop is heading for failure.  The fault lies not in the tomato plants.  
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Nor in the plentiful fruit. 
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The problem is--yeccch---brace yourself...rats.  They are eating the tomatoes just as they become ripe.  I've been trapping them, but the rats keep coming and continue to destroy.
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The sweet rich tomato flavor we get from our homegrown canning is a highlight of fall and winter dinners.  I feel mostly responsible with my lackadaisical approach to letting the plants flop everywhere.  Next year, an orderly and disciplined trellis of tomatoes surrounded by an electric fence.  This year, failure.  
The ornamentals and the Koi are a comfort, as always.  The Drakensburg daisy:
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A flower about to open on the little Echinopsis:
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'Souvenir de la Malmaison'
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'Geranium Red' 
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 'Darcey Bussell'
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 Koi-girl Rita Hayworth clonked her head on something, but it's nearly healed up already:
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Her red matches the collarette Dahlia's red.
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 At least the rats are not (yet) ruining the peppers.
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 Beautiful color on 'Bella Sera' day lily. 
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 First flower on the biggest 'Bright Star' Yucca:
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I can't complain--we are so lucky--but we are going to miss those wonderful tomatoes this winter.  Next year surely we will appreciate them all the more.  Electric fence research must now commence. 
  
 

Comments

  1. Beautiful flowers dear Hoover. So sorry about your tomatoes,yes, an electric fence is needed as the nasty critters can still climb up garden stakes. I have given up on tomatoes, the possums eat them here.
    xoxoxo ♡



















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    1. We have possums here too, but I haven't even thought they'd be interested in tomatoes.

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  2. Varmints! They will be tough to keep out, they can climb about anything. There must be some hiding places around. Never heard about electric fencing for rodents.







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    1. I think the tomato patch itself might be the hiding place, unfortunately. Electric fence I got the idea from koi ponding, where it's used to keep the herons out.

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  3. Why not do what I have to do every year because of raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and even birds: pick the tomatoes as soon as they start turning red? Not ideal, but still more flavor than store-bought, and it's better than getting none, right?

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    1. I have picked a few slightly red that they missed--and yes even picked too early they are still 10X better than store-bought.

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  4. Wow Hoov, alot of info packed into this post..
    ...Bella Sera almost makes me want to add another daylily..but only almost.
    ....The puppies would probably not take to a cat/huntress?
    ....You have impressed me with your painting project..it would have taken me at least a month..and I know there must have bee sanding involved ? I salute you !

    ....It hurt me to have to shovel prune S.de la Malmaison, how I loved it, but what a diseased mess the plant was. There really is nothing else quite like it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Random scattered thoughts because I was so tired from painting! Shall I save you a fan of Bella Sera? The flowers really are dazzling.

      No, this is not a neighborhood where kitties can be outside--there are coyotes everywhere.

      Yes, there was sanding and scraping involved. No problem. I'm so happy I'm done with the windows. The garage doors and gates await, but in a few weeks, when I recover.

      SDLM gets a bit of mildew here, and nothing else. It loves So Cal.

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  5. Bummer! It's always something. I think if I saw rats eating my fresh produce I would freak out. I hope you find a good solution so next year you can have maters again.

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    1. I freak out too, but then I just deal with it. I have to!

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  6. Good to see bright star starting to flower. Hopefully mine will at some point.

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    1. I hope it doesn't ruin the perfect symmetry of the plant, but there's nothing I can do to stop it. I was very surprised to see it blooming so late in the year.

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  7. Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone would/could invent a full-proof, easy-to-use, multiple pest deterrent device suitable for use with all kinds of fruit and vegetable plants? Oh, and make it reasonably attractive too? I'm sorry about the loss of your tomatoes. You'll have to provide a status on your electric fence research downstream...

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    1. I will definitely blog about electric fence as I want tomatoes next year!

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  8. So sorry about your rat problem and your lack of tomatoes this fall and winter! Very exciting about your Bright Star blooming!

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    1. The 'Bright Star' was a good surprise--quite the opposite of the rat problem!

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  9. Yuck - rats! Double yuck - no tomatoes! How nice that 'Bright Star' blooms so late...my yuccas (filamentosa and rostrata) have long since finished. At least the flowers are there for you - along with the puppies, I hope.

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    1. Yes, it was unexpected. I had one 'Color Guard' Yucca flower, but that was months ago. August seems odd for a Yucca bloom.

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  10. The critters have me figuratively tearing my hair out too, deer, VOLES, rabbits, possums, raccoons, MOLES, birds, potentially coyotes though we've only seen a couple in our yard in 19 years. Our outdoor cats seem to be savvy to escape them if they ever do come in. Moles come up in my tomato planting holes and expose their roots to air, voles eat fruit that is touching the ground. What I do is use gallon pots and slip them up around the tomatoes so the voles can't reach them. I don't know if that would work with rats, since they are more agile. I do that on cucumbers too which I trellis. I wonder if a heavy sprinkling of cayenne pepper on the ground around the tomatoes would work? It would have to be reapplied after watering, I guess. I use it in planting trenches for beans and it seems to help keep the voles from eating the seeds. It's great you caught a rat. They are very smart and leery of traps. All I can think of is hardware cloth cages around the plants, or chicken wire? It's great you can keep the herons away from your Koi with an electric fence. My SIL had an OTTER show up in her garden and eat her Koi! Your flowers look great anyway. I have SDLM and it is lovely. I love the color on your Koi, and the bluish glow around the eyes.

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    1. Lots of smart suggestions, thanks. You obviously have had many run-ins with critters. The gallon can concept is sound--my neighbor keeps rats out of her palm trees via a piece of sheet metal about 18" high wrapped around the trunk--the rats cannot climb the sheet metal because they can't get a grip on the smooth surface. This technique is also used for citrus trees. Something like this modified for tomatoes on poles is worth a try next year. I appreciate your suggestions--it helped me think! Thanks again.

      Otters, good grief! Didn't catch A rat, actually, the count is up to nine... :(

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