Hardiness Zone: 5a
By Linda from Brighton, MI
I've had that problem! With young pepper and tomato plants! Completely gone-or something ate it to a stem only! Could be birds-I've seen robins in my garden-pecking around for worms-ha-maybe? Since my garden is fenced in, cause of my dogs too. I might blame the birds at this point?
To save young tender plants from critters-or whatever, start saving up gallon plastic milk jugs, cut out the bottom-leaving top ok as is. Put a stake at your plants-and slip over the milk jug thru the stake down to the ground. Hey, it protects the plants during heavy rain and storms! It's a little more work- but it'll help until the plants get bigger and stronger! You can remove them-and stack them on a big stake stick! I swear by this method!
Have you checked the plants for tomato hornworms? These large caterpillars (get to the size of your finger!) are very hard to see because they look like a curled tomato leaf. They can strip a plant of leaves in a short time. They'll also eat the fruit.
If you see dark green caterpillar poop under the plant, then look for the caterpillars. Squash any you find, unless they have what looks like grains of rice sticking out of their backs. If they have that, they have larva of a parasitic wasp growing in them and will die soon of natural causes. In that case, just move the caterpillar somewhere far from your tomatoes and let it live long enough to produce more natural predators!
Here's some pics:
http://www.google.com/images?q=toma ... orm&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=univ&ei=AqFPTND5AYL-8Abh-bHJAQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=4&ved=0CD0QsAQwAw&biw=1366&bih=575
It's probably deer. At least that's what it was in our case. We've had some luck using Bobbex, a repellent you apply to each plant. It won't keep the deer out of the garden, but they'll decide that your tomato plants are not something they'd like to eat. Follow the directions carefully.
I want to plant again but this is getting expensive. Please help!
Hardiness Zone: 4b
Sanddd from Minnesota
It sounds like you have a rabbit, deer, or rodent problem. You'll save yourself some money and a lot of additional frustration if you invest in some kind of physical cages or barriers for your tomato plants. There are a number of other tactics, like pie tins, bags, shiny streamers, etc., but animals tend to become accustomed to these in a hurry. You're better off purchasing a cheap roll of chicken wire and fashion some growing cages for your tomatoes.
If you are already supporting them with hoops, simply wrap the chicken wire around the hoops and secure it with florist's wire or even baggy ties. Push the cage into the soil and secure it in place with stakes or pieces of bent wire. Make sure you cover the tops of the cages with wire too, to prevent them from reaching down and nibbling off the tops of the plants. If possible, make these cages big enough so you can leave the tomato plants covered the entire season. Then as the tomato fruits appear, you won't have to worry about them being targeted by chipmunks or birds.
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Editor's Note: Mothballs can be harmful to pets so make sure your pets don't get them. (05/22/2008)
Other possible animals that may pass through the yard at night may include raccoons, cats, foxes, opossum, skunks, none of which I would suspect to eat the plant itself, and they don't explain the one that was eaten in broad daylight. One other peculiarity I noticed is that only my Roma Tomatoes are being targeted, not my others. Is this the case with you? (05/13/2009)
My garden has a mesh fence and the tomatoes have cages. Some animal is chewing my plants 4 -6 inches up the stem. They don't eat the plant or the stem, just kill it. Any ideas for me? The plants were large and now 3 out of 13 are dead.
Hardiness Zone: 4a
By Karel from Big Lake, MN
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