Do Squirrels Eat Tomatoes?
You bet they do! We love animals, and watching the squirrels interact and play in our woodland yard is enjoyable. But… we hate that they eat our tomatoes. It’s not that we don’t want to share, mind you.
When you’ve worked all spring and summer to nurture tomatoes from seeds to seedlings to transplants, and support systems, only to see a squirrel taking a few bites out of your prize tomato specimens that are almost ready for harvest, that hits you where it hurts. And it’s not just about squirrels eating a tomato. No, it’s about squirrels taking a bite or two, tossing it aside and grabbing another prized, nearly ready tomato to take a few more bites.
The squirrels think our garden is their buffet. They live in the trees all around us, and yep… our garden is their favorite local eatery. Reminiscent of cities where people live in the upper apartments and the restaurants and eateries are right below them. Very convenient for the squirrels. A problem for us.
Keep Squirrels Out of the Garden
We’ve tried a number of solutions, but most have come up short, and even the best need some reinforcement.
Motion Activated Sprinkler System
Sometimes called a “Scarecrow Sprinkler”, these are our best solution for squirrel repellent. These sensor sprinklers also deter other critters, such as birds, rabbits and deer. We had two of the Hoont Motion Activated Sprinkler Systems, and they’ve worked really well.
This year we added another Hoont, but it was defective, so we returned it and upgraded to an Orbit Motion Activated Sprinkler. Our other two Hoonts are working fine, and we’re also really liking the Orbit.
Another Squirrel Repellent that Works
So the sprinklers work. That said, we want to make extra certain that no squirrels find a way into our tomatoes. We have actually seen them trigger the sprinkler, dodge back while it activates and then when, there’s a five second pause, they dash to another point of cover. Eventually, they make it to the tomato patch. Clever little varmints!
Our “lower garden” especially, is so close to the trees, that the squirrels are emboldened to dash and grab a meal knowing there’s cover nearby. Our “upper garden” only has one water scarecrow and a lot of ground for an interloper to cover before reaching the garden. So our new Orbit sprinkler will be placed to strategically take care of a “back door” alley that was missed by the two we already have. But… we’re taking it to the next level.
Squirrel Proof Garden
To be certain no squirrels find a way to our tomatoes before we do, we’ve added an extra measure of protection.
The issue with making a cage is keeping the varmints out while still allowing easy access. We already had the cattle panels, which were used last year as tomato supports. We also had a bunch of 1″ PVC pipe from when our well pump was replaced. Also on hand was a leftover roll of chicken wire and several lengths of concrete reinforcement wire. After some preliminary trials (and errors) we designed what you see in the video: the top cover using arched reinforcement wire with a covering of chicken fencing and a roll down screen for the sides. The plastic chicken fencing is more flexible and far easier to roll.
And we’re still in “tweak mode” but confident this will be the best “squirrel proof” system yet. Can’t wait for the test-runs! Okay Scrappy the Squirrel: we’re ready for you now, buddy! 😉