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Old June 26, 2012   #1
Defiant20
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Default Birds Eating Tomatoes

I have a real problem with birds eating my ripe tomatoes. Last year I used bird netting, but this year I have too many to cover and I also ending up getting a lot of snakes caught in the bird netting. Getting angry snakes out of the netting was not fun and unfortunately it killed a few of them. Does anyone have any ideas on other ways to protect my ripe tomatoes?
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Old June 26, 2012   #2
jerryinfla
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Do you have bird feeders and bird baths somewhere else in your yard? We do and birds don't bother my tomatoes as long as I keep everything serviced for them.
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Old June 26, 2012   #3
Defiant20
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Originally Posted by jerryinfla View Post
Do you have bird feeders and bird baths somewhere else in your yard? We do and birds don't bother my tomatoes as long as I keep everything serviced for them.
Yes, we do have feeders and bath's, but I may try adding more
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Old June 26, 2012   #4
jerryinfla
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I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but my feeders and baths are on the side of the house and the garden is out back out of sight of the feeders. Also the garden is nowhere near trees while the feeders are under huge oak trees and adjacent to scrub trees.
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Old June 26, 2012   #5
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I pick mine after they blush but before full ripeness. Ripe tomatoes are just too tempting for all the passers-by at the community garden as well as the squirrels, birds, and other possible tomato predators.
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Old June 26, 2012   #6
Defiant20
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I pick mine after they blush but before full ripeness. Ripe tomatoes are just too tempting for all the passers-by at the community garden as well as the squirrels, birds, and other possible tomato predators.
Thanks, do you notice any difference in flavor picking them early?
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Old June 26, 2012   #7
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Thanks, do you notice any difference in flavor picking them early?
I don't, but the alternative is possibly no tomatoes!

There's been at least one thread on taste differences if you pick at first blush. iirc, some people say there's no diff, others say they can taste a difference. I think it depends on your garden. If you need to ripen fully indoors to make sure you have tomatoes, it's worth picking them early. If you have so many plants that a few pecked or stolen tomatoes won't make a difference, then let them ripen on the vine.
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Old June 26, 2012   #8
chiefbeaz
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I have noticed that the bird pecking is worse at the beginning of the season when your first tomatoes begin to ripen. Later in the season when you have plenty of ripe ones ,they don;t seem to bother them as much. I have been picking mine about 3/4th ripe . Some times I think that they taste ok being picked early and then there are times when they don't seem to taste as good. I grow about 30 different types, so that may be the reason some taste better than others picked early. I will let them ripen on the vine as soon as the tomatoes start coming in good. I have 400 plants so it doesn't take long to get more than I can handle in a day.
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Old June 27, 2012   #9
feldon30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defiant20 View Post
I have a real problem with birds eating my ripe tomatoes. Last year I used bird netting, but this year I have too many to cover and I also ending up getting a lot of snakes caught in the bird netting. Getting angry snakes out of the netting was not fun and unfortunately it killed a few of them. Does anyone have any ideas on other ways to protect my ripe tomatoes?
Pick at first blush.

"Vine ripened" is a marketing myth.
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Old June 27, 2012   #10
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crows are usally the culprits. the only way to get rid of em is shoot one and hang it up for the others too see.
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Old June 27, 2012   #11
b54red
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I usually pick mine in the blushing stage because squirrels like the ripe ones as well as birds. Lately the birds have been pecking many of my green ones even before any blush appears. They are even pecking my bell peppers before they can get ripe.
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Old June 27, 2012   #12
Dewayne mater
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Agree with the pick and blush comments. To the list of birds and squirrels I would add that raccoons also enjoy the ripe tomato. They will leave a green one alone, but if it is half way colored up or more, if you don't pick it, they will. Oddly, they don't seem to care for black cherry or sun gold. So far, they pretty much stick to the red/pink tomatoes.

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Old June 30, 2012   #13
SteveAustin
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Squirrels and birds will go for our tomatoes too. I'm usually a "pick at blush" kinda guy. I have a container garden and every tomato is valuable to me.
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Old July 1, 2012   #14
Defiant20
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Update: I have read on the web that you can take a stocking or pantyhose and cover your tomatoes until they fully ripen. I tried that and it did work, the ones that were covered they left alone and the ones that weren't were eaten. You can cut the stockings in half, tie a knot in one end that needs it and simply wrap it around the ripening tomato. For 33 cents at walmart, you can get 2 stockings that cut in half and make 4 of them you can use again and again.
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