Mice Eating Tomatoes

I have been a tomato gardener for years, but living 4 or 5 blocks from the beach, our weather includes your typical "May gray and June gloom," days. As a result even though my plants grow like mad and have tons of flowers, I inevitably get powdery leaf mildew all over them. It then spreads from one plant to another and kills them off before the tomatoes can ripen.

I water from below into coffee cans buried at the base of each plant so as to avoid wetting the leaves, but it happens every year anyway. Now I am noticing that something is getting at the tomatoes just as they are ripening and ready to pick. It's mice. My son has seen them and my dog has chased them, but they are doing a number on my fruit nonetheless.

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I keep an organic garden and don't want to set traps, because I have 2 very curious dogs which have access to my back patio. Does anyone out there have an organic solution to either of my problems? I'm very grateful for any suggestions.

By DNapolitan from San Diego, CA

July 19, 20090 found this helpful

Try to find something around the house from which you can fashion a baffle to wrap around the plant, close to the bottom. Maybe even the same coffee cans you are already using, but raised a few inches above the ground, rather than completely buried?

Here is a site that has ideas for keeping rats out of plants, the ideas would probably work for mice, too:

http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/rats.htm

Good luck!

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July 21, 20090 found this helpful

I have had this happen with my Tomatoes and my Strawberries. I placed Moth Balls around the plants, and also netting for the birds. the combination has left me with strawberries and tomatoes. Hope this helps. Oh Yeah, the strawberries do not taste like Moth Balls. Also, the Moth Balls seem to hold up pretty darn well to the water. But you could hang them by netting on the tomatoe plants.

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