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6/19/14

The Tomato Thief

6/19/2014

We didn't really plant a garden this spring since we still had our winter plants going, but we did have a few straggler seedlings that popped up in the compost pile. So, I guess we did plant a couple tomato plants and some green onions. DH did start many plants from seed in January but they stagnated in the cold and one warm day we put the incubated tray outside on the patio table and that was the end of that. They all fried up. Oh well, we'll try again for this fall.
 
Meanwhile our straggler tomato plants must have really liked that compost and earthbox, and they grew five feet tall and there are probably a dozen tomatoes in various shapes and ripeness. Last week I picked a nice red one for our salads, and there were two others that were getting more red every day that would be ready for making salads this weekend. But then yesterday when we were in the pool, I looked over and noticed my two red tomatoes were gone. There was a little red splatter on the pool deck but otherwise no evidence of the crime. I figured the squirrels snuck into the backyard and stole them while the dog was napping.
 
Now I don't have any red tomatoes left, only some really big greenish orange ones that I really want to protect from the tomato thief. So, last evening I dug out some extra window screening to use for a net. Our tomato plants have a nice trellis DH built from PVC pipe and it was easy to just drape the screening over the top and down both sides and secure the sides to make a protective net around the precious green tomatoes. They will still get sun and rain to move along to the next stage of red ripeness. I was so proud of myself for outwitting those squirrels! I just hoped they wouldn't be too persistent and burrow under the net and safely get inside and munch away.
 
But that is not my problem. This morning, the large mumbo jumbo greenish orange tomato is discovered half eaten on the floor of the dog house (our porch). It appears that our dog saved the tomato from the persistent squirrel through out the night, and brought it into the dog house to preserve the evidence. But we know now; that everything is not always as it appears. A short while later when DH let the dog out while he fed and watered her bowls, she grabbed the tomato and continued gnawing and chewing on it. She finished eating the remaining portion, and wagged her tail as we admonished her for being the tomato thief.
 
I still have more than half a dozen promising future red tomatoes if I can save them from the thief. At least now I know a perimeter fence would work to keep her off (I hope) and not worry so much about the little squirrels getting through. It's the big black squirrelly dog I need to worry about.
 
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