Garden Disaster!!!!! :(

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Paul Mathews, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Paul Mathews

    Paul Mathews Member Premium Member GOLD

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    So, I went out of town to see my college kids for Father's Day weekend. The whole week before and over the weekend our area was receiving buckets of rain. When I got back home I noticed my summer squash plants looke devastated. Approx. 90% of the leaves were either just gone or only had the skeleton remaining. I looked for critters, but only found 1 small green worm. So I'm not sure if all the rain possibly encouraged some sort of rot or if I just experienced an evil swarm of insects that ate everything and then took off. Now on to my tomatoes :( . I had around 30 tomatoes that were just getting ready to be picked. When I came back I found that every single tomatoe on every single bush was half eaten and either left on the bush or discarded on the ground. I did a little searching on the internet and found the culprit is most likely squirels. The cute little fuzzy puffs are known to eat tomatoes and are also known for the seeming malicious act of just taking a few bites out of each just to ruin them all! I'd be angry, but I respect the guile, the cunning, and the effort. It's like that guys who bites donuts and puts them back. On the bright side, I did get a little payback. Apparently he, she , or they tried to move onto my jalapenos :). Only one jalapeno was bitten. I can just picture him taking a big ole bite and running of into the night with his mouth ablaze:heat:. Needless to say, all my pepper plants are doing great. Maybe they assosiate the pepper smell with sweltering, burning discomfort. So my new plan for now is to replant a bunch of pepper plants and just trade with other gardeners for other veggies. Next year I'll invest in some sort of netting. Man I was really looking foreword to those tomatoes:(.
     
  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Lol squirrels!!! I often watch youtube videos about people inventing all sorts of methods to keep the critters away from their bird feeders.
    The results are hilarious!
    Perhaps your squirrel bit the pepper first then to cool his mouth, moved onto the leaves and tomatoes.
    Squash leaves are edible so there's every possibility squirrels also know this.
     
  3. Paul Mathews

    Paul Mathews Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Well, I have learned some stuff from this. For one, peppers really seem to love the climate and soils here, and the animals seem to not like them. I am swimming in sweet peppers and jalapenos. I talked with a lady in our local Lowes Garden Center and she told me she handles the critters with some light netting and then she also plants a couple of "sacrificial" tomatoe plants in containers, which she keeps seperate from her garden. Her hypothesis being that the squirrels would rather just go for the easy stuff then figure away around a barrier. Then if they leave those extra plants alone she gets extra tomatoes that year. Also, I really love the video where the squirrel tries to get into the bird feeder and winds up just spinning and spinning in circles and won't let go. They sure are a tenacious bunch. Enjoy your weekend ClissAT.
     
  4. Raymondo

    Raymondo Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Hi Paul , your post reminds me of a situation I had many years ago involving fruit bats . I have posted this story before but not sure where it is . Anyway the fruit bats were taking a couple of bites out of all my small commercial crop of pawpaws as I preferred to let them tree ripen for better flavour. This was ruining my income and not fair in my books. So one day I went into my orchard and sat. This is where some people find it a little " cuckoo " . What came to me was the idea to strike a bargain with the little critters , the deal was that I would leave a few trees ( those closest to the bush ) and these I would not touch but would let the bats have all of the pawpaws from them. Not long after the deal was obviously agreed to and I had no more problems. We need to live with nature and not try to totally exclude it , so a few sacrificial plants may be a good compromise . Good luck with the idea but don't give up, happy planting cheers Raymondo.
     
  5. Paul Mathews

    Paul Mathews Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Raymondo, good to get a 2nd opinion on the subject. Happy planting to you.:)
     
  6. Mark Seaton

    Mark Seaton Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I have heard that the squirrels can be a pain... i have a bunch of people in the U.S. tell me about them chewing through cables that run their xmas light shows and are always trying to combat that, so not sure if sacrificial power cables would work. o_O
    Anyway, I have a heap of fruit trees out the back of my place, and I have never had a cherry yet as just as they rippen the birds manage to devastate the tree and it is way too tall to net. My plan this winter is to prune it... harshly... to get it back to a size I can net. I will also be netting my plums this year for the same reason. Last year I had some of the most glorious plums starting to ripen which I was watching like a hawk, it rained one day so I never went to have a look, the next day I did and there was not one single plum left.
    I wouldn't mind if the buggers ate the whole fruit, but just going in and randomly destroying every one was a bit harsh.
     
  7. Paul Mathews

    Paul Mathews Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Man, its good to have so many people to share this pain with! lol Thanks Mark. Also, the squirels chewed through my cable line 3 times in one year at my old house:sawwood: . I made sure not to have as heavily forrested of a yard at the new place.
     
  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Yes a few sacrificial plants are a good thing.
    However I still have a nagging question.
    Why do the critters leave everyone else's fruit and gardens alone but decimate mine?
    I used to think mine was the only garden and orchard in my street because all the flying, jumping and walking critters came here.
    But in recent months I have discovered that almost everyone in this area has at least a few fruit trees and mostly they don't have critter problems!

    Now I'm feeling doubly cheated! Firstly I've taken to having sacrificial plants and trees which I still have to pay to maintain. Secondly I'm still loosing a heap of fruit and veg from anything I don't cover which I also have to pay for.
    But my neighbours who don't do anything aren't loosing much or any produce at all!

    Its just not fair!! :(o_O:fighthey:


    So I'm wondering why I need to put in all the effort and expense to have sacrificial plants. Why can't those growing on everyone else's properties be the sacrificial plants and leave mine alone? Afterall, the house gardens around here would be a maximum of 300-400m apart which for a native Australian animal is not far.
     
  9. Mark Seaton

    Mark Seaton Member Premium Member GOLD

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    One possible reason is, everyone else has a few, whereas you have an abundance. The critters, like any human, are going to go where there is the most choice or best produce.
    Sorry, but I cannot help o_O
     
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