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Tomato thieves

Q. Is there anyway to keep squirrels and other wildlife from grabbing my tomatoes, taking a bite and running away? I have covered them with netting (fastened to the ground) but they still manage to find a way. Electric fence?

A. We hear your frustration and we have had it, too! When it comes to squirrels and tomatoes, there are several options you can try to keep them at bay. Experiment because not all of these work for everybody - but at least one of them works for nearly everybody.

  • Build a barrier. Try sinking posts around your plants and lining it with chicken wire. Or you you simply sink chicken wire into the ground around the plants, too. Make sure the barrier (or cage, if you prefer) is covered on top, too. These critters are ruthless and will climb up the chicken wire to get to your tomatoes. You might consider creating a flip top to allow yourself access to the plants, or else set up a method to allow yourself in and out along the sides.
  • Use an electric fence. We've done it. It works not only in keeping out squirrels, but also deer and raccoons.
  • Apply squirrel repellent. Be sure to follow package directions.
  • Apply urine powder around the perimeter of tomatoes. This works to trick squirrels into thinking that predators are nearby.
  • Plant more tomatoes -- near the squirrels' tree. This method has worked surprisingly well for some gardeners! The squirrels think these tomato plants are "theirs." They can be territorial. You'll have to do a bit of detective work, observing where the squirrels live so you can plant an extra plant or two nearby.
  • Feed the squirrels. Create a special feeding station for them near their nest. Set up a squirrel feeder< just for them. This approach works as a deterrent, similar to setting up tomato plants designated just for the squirrels. Again, watch squirrels closely to figure out where they live and then place your feeding station close by.
  • Get a dog. Or borrow one. Apart from an electric fence, this has been by far the most effective squirrel deterrent we've used!

    Good luck and happy gardening!
    Your friends at Tomato Dirt

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Jul 20, 2012
Thanks Richard
by: Anonymous

That is good idea! I do have partially eaten tomatoes...just hope this works for squirrels!

Jul 20, 2012
For the Birds
by: Richard

I grow for a small market in this area and each tomato has a value - up to .50 cents. Birds are eating my ripe tomatoes. I have reduced the damage by placing the previously damaged tomato at the ends and sides of the plot(480 plants)and using them as a bait or distraction. This seems to reduce but not eliminate the loss.

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