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Quarter size bites out of tomatoes

 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 200
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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My tomatoes are pruned to generally one stem and tied up to help locate bugs and harvest the tomatoes.  Early in the season I had a couple dozen hornworms, but they are down to almost nothing.  A few little black worms and a few stink bugs.  But nothing major.  Maybe 2 horn worms a week now and maybe 3 or 4 stink bugs.  That's on about 40 tomato plants.

However, something is eating a quarter size to half dollar size bites out of most of my tomatoes.  Happening to the neighbor too.  I've seen hornworms eat tomatoes and it's not the same pattern and there aren't any hornworms.  The garden is double fenced with metal fencing then fine mesh bird netting around the perimeter as well.  So it's not a rabbit.  It's not birds because they don't make perfect bites that size.

Any other ideas? 
 
Steven Baxter
Posts: 254
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sparticle wrote:
My tomatoes are pruned to generally one stem and tied up to help locate bugs and harvest the tomatoes.  Early in the season I had a couple dozen hornworms, but they are down to almost nothing.  A few little black worms and a few stink bugs.  But nothing major.  Maybe 2 horn worms a week now and maybe 3 or 4 stink bugs.  That's on about 40 tomato plants.

However, something is eating a quarter size to half dollar size bites out of most of my tomatoes.  Happening to the neighbor too.  I've seen hornworms eat tomatoes and it's not the same pattern and there aren't any hornworms.  The garden is double fenced with metal fencing then fine mesh bird netting around the perimeter as well.  So it's not a rabbit.  It's not birds because they don't make perfect bites that size.

Any other ideas? 


Maybe rats or mice
 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 200
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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There are a lot of field mice.  Will they only eat the tomatoes on the bottom or are they going to start going up the plant as the tomatoes ripen up top?  If I put out cracked corn or peanuts will they eat that instead?
 
Steven Baxter
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sparticle wrote:
There are a lot of field mice.  Will they only eat the tomatoes on the bottom or are they going to start going up the plant as the tomatoes ripen up top?  If I put out cracked corn or peanuts will they eat that instead?


Im sure they will try to get what ever they can (top of plant or bottom). I have seen paper bags wrapped around tomatoes with a rubber band to help prevent critters from eating them. They may go after the peanuts, it is something to try. Setting traps may also help.
 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 200
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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The bad part is that we put that stupid black mesh netting around the garden which is killing the snakes.  The snakes would have eaten the mice.  But if I pull the netting off, then the rabbits will get in.  So better fencing small enough that rabbits can't get in and large enough for snakes to get in and out of would have been good.

For now, we'll set traps which I hate to do.  Finding the balance can be an up and down proposition!
 
Rick Wells
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Garden Cat 
 
Joe Skeletor
Posts: 113
Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
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i've heard of squirrels taking a bite or two out of each ripe tomato
 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 200
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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unfortunately the garden is in an area where the cats rarely go and it's fenced.  The cats help up here where we are though. 
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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"i've heard of squirrels taking a bite or two out of each ripe tomato"

the ground squirrels seem to like green tomatoes just fine.
 
Jamie Jackson
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Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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My tomato plants are looking great, almost no bugs.  However something is still eating most of my tomatoes.  I noticed today 2 ripe tomatoes on the vine laying on the ground with no bites, then another tomato up by my waist had a bite out off it.  I have put out mouse traps and have caught nothing.  So I don't think it's mice anymore.

I love permaculture and think it's the way to go.  But I'll admit, doing it the first year - I'm exhausted and depressed sometimes.  I have worked so very hard all year, since about February I guess.  There have been far more failures than successes.  We have a few jalapenos, tomatoes and cucumbers and 11 watermelons.  My pumpkins and butternut squash appear to have crossed even though the plants and veggies look fantastic - my fault on that one. 

Waiting for the comfrey to get going and waiting on the soil to improve over the years.  Meanwhile, I'll keep at it.  I just wish I could find out what it eating all my tomatoes.  I'd say for every tomato I pick and keep, I'm loosing 10-15.  Very sad. 
 
George Lee
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Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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Occasional failures breed success for the next season.. There's a season for trials, a season for learning, a season for a big harvest.. Take a few hits, and keep moving along..

I had always heard from old timers that deer didn't like tomatoes too much. This spring I planted a tomato garden for a client with 20 plants. A week or so later, all the tops of the plants were severed off. Deer indeed! I didn't really envision that happening, so it was a bit of a surprise.

You may set out a rabbit trap. I've seen them chew off new shoots.
 
                                
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Location: central NYS - USDA Zone 5a
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For a long while I thought it was the squirrels that were eating my tomatoes in the manner that the OP described. Then, the other day, as I approached the garden, three crows flew up from beside the tomato bed. On the ground was a green tomato, about 70% hollowed out. I've found semi-ripe ones this way too. Generally, it's the lowest tomatoes on the plant that are damaged, the ones they can easily get to from the ground. They may like the taste, but I suspect it's the water content they're after, since they go after the Brandywines first. Yesterday I wrapped the sides and as much of the top of the bed as I could manage with bird netting. If it's squirrels, I assume they will chew through it. But if it's crows, that should stop them.
 
George Lee
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Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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whitepines wrote:
For a long while I thought it was the squirrels that were eating my tomatoes in the manner that the OP described. Then, the other day, as I approached the garden, three crows flew up from beside the tomato bed. On the ground was a green tomato, about 70% hollowed out. I've found semi-ripe ones this way too. Generally, it's the lowest tomatoes on the plant that are damaged, the ones they can easily get to from the ground. They may like the taste, but I suspect it's the water content they're after, since they go after the Brandywines first. Yesterday I wrapped the sides and as much of the top of the bed as I could manage with bird netting. If it's squirrels, I assume they will chew through it. But if it's crows, that should stop them.


Sparrows and such get my small sweetie/vine tomatoes. They don't always eat them, cause in my garden area so much, but they do knock them off the vine.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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