Hardiness Zone: 8a
Jodi from Gary, Texas
Squirrels will eat just about anything in the garden. They seem to enjoy mixing it up once in a while and trying new things. Because they have already gotten a taste of your delicious tomatoes, it's unlikely that they are going to be leaving them alone anytime soon. There are a number of commercial sprays and home remedies you can try (hair around pots, cats or dogs in the yard, cayenne pepper spray, etc.), but your best strategy is to get yourself some cheap hardware cloth or chicken wire and create some cages to surround your tomatoes. Stake them to the ground with pieces of bent metal or wooden stakes. Make sure to cover the tops; otherwise the squirrels will use the cages like a ladder to climb up, over and inside. You mentioned you feed squirrels in your yard. Another strategy might be to beef up your feeders with something they find more attractive than the tomatoes, at least while your plants are bearing fruit (e.g. peanuts, peanut butter, corn cobs, etc.).
Squirrels will eat anything. You need to sprinkle blood meal around and they will leave them alone.
It is also a good fertilizer for your tomatoe plants. (06/12/2006)
By Susan from Hamilton
They could be chipmunks if they are really small. Young, small squirrels rely on their mother to feed them. The chipmunks play havoc with my flower beds and flower pots. (06/12/2006)
Try some hot pepper, you can buy hot pepper spray at a garden center, but you can also make your own. Get some hot pepper, either the hot sauce in the little bottles, or make your own with some hot pepper mixed in water and spray it on your tomatoes. Just remember to rinse the hot pepper off before you take a bite, LOL unless you are a hot pepper fan! Also hot pepper is good for keeping bugs away, not birds thought, they can't taste it. You can also sprinkle it on the ground around your plants for other yuckie bugs that eat your foliage on plants too. (06/12/2006)
I've seen a recipe for squirrel repellent somewhere on the web that proposes not only highly diluted hot pepper sauce but also a couple drops of dish detergent in the mix--a pretty high dilution is still repulsive to animals. I tried it since it looked like squirrels were gnawing on my beautiful trumpet vines outside my apartment window and dropping them off the vine. I sprayed the foul-tasting brew all over the leaves and flowers and did not see squirrels outside the window again. The flowers survived. (06/23/2006)
Go to your local Starbucks. They give away used coffee grounds in big 5-10 pound bags. Scatter the grounds around the base of your tomato plants. This has worked for us. (06/12/2007)
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