That is not OK

My friend Sarah, who fled Iowa with her husband in December (I’d tell you they fled the weather, but they moved to Alaska, people. Alaska.), was fond of saying this about things: “That is not OK.

I adopted the phrase just for moments like the one I had yesterday, when I noticed that one of the ripening, red tomatoes on the Stupice plant was gone. Worse than gone, it was half-eaten, ragged with toothmarks and rodent spit, lying on its side in the dirt at the base of the plant.

I had pictures, but then the camera ate them. Whatever this premature gobbling is, it seems to be going around.

Eating the first ripe tomato before I get to it? That is not OK.

First tomato of 2007I brought in the remaining ripe-ish tomato – it’s pretty close to ready to go, but I had hoped, like Marc of GardenDesk, to leave mine on the plant until I could pick a truly ripe, fully edible tomato and enjoy every bite of it. It’s now on my windowsill, in need of just a day or two more before I’ll really be able to eat it.

“I’m considering buying a BB gun,” I said to The Mint Killer. “When they go after the tomatoes, it’s war.”


14 Responses to “That is not OK”

  1. 1 Frank June 25, 2007 at 10:40 am


    I like a wrist-braced sling shot over a BB gun for this purpose. There are often ordinances about using firearms, sometimes even something as simple as a BB gun, within city or suburb limits. For example, here in Georgia, it’s illegal to discharge a firearm within 300 feet of a dwelling. I haven’t verified whether a BB or pellet gun would fall under the same restrictions, but wouldn’t want to rely on my local law enforcement officers to know the distinction, either.

    Happy rodent hunting!


  2. 2 Kim June 25, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Theft of the very first tomato is definitely not ever okay! Unfortunately, solving the issue with a BB gun is also not okay when the perpetrator is your fuzzy canine friend… so at this time of the year, until the first one is harvested and enjoyed, my pooch goes out on a short leash only. Ah well, at least she eats the whole thing, right?

  3. 3 steven June 25, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Effing squirrels! Fire away!

  4. 4 Jeanne June 25, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    Genie, I’m sorry. That’s how it started for me last year. Those effing squirrels, exactly!

    BB guns are OK, if you are going to quit your job and sit in the garden from sun up to sundown.

    Don’t try dangling CDs from strings above the plants, it only makes the squirrels laugh and they take the tomatoes anyway.

  5. 5 Tracy June 25, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    I had the same problem when I lived in Minneapolis – those effing squirrels always take them about 1-2 days before they’re fully ripe. Try draping bird netting over the plants and anchoring the bottom with rocks. It makes it harder for humans to harvest them, but at least you can laugh at the darn rodents as you pick your fully ripe tomatoes.

  6. 6 Katiez June 25, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I also had that problem in Minneapolis. What really ticked me off was they would only take a bite or two..but out of every tomato!
    Couldn’t they just finish one and leave the rest!
    How about a cat?

  7. 7 growthumbs June 25, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Kind of like it left the half eaten tomato as to say I beat you to it.

  8. 8 chigiy June 26, 2007 at 12:28 am

    If you use the BB gun, I will say nothing.
    I will turn my back and act as though it never happened.
    I feel your pain and I’m there for you.

  9. 9 frank June 26, 2007 at 11:35 am

    I forgot to mention, a BB gun would most likely be non-lethal to a small varmint, so if your goal is to drive it off, that might be the better choice.

  10. 10 spidercakes June 26, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    Was it an effin’ squirrel or an effin’ raccoon? (my person favorite target) Pump the BB air gun only once and hope that you scare them there critters away – two pumps if you want to learn ’em good!
    Or you can try a motion-activated water sprayer – a little more civilized in the gardening department!

  11. 11 inadvertentgardener June 26, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    Frank, my Dad used to use a slingshot on the squirrels back in Virginia. I’m not sure how effective it was, but maybe I should get him to give me some lessons.

    Kim, yeah, definitely no BB gun allowed around the dog. Never. And see how dogs are so much cooler than squirrels and rabbits? With the eating of the WHOLE tomato instead of just part of it?

    Steve, ready…aim…

    Jeanne, I thought of you as soon as I saw that bite out of that tomato. If I have a summer like your tomatoless summer last year…I’m going to cry. Seriously.

    Tracie, thanks for that netting tip — I just might implement that. It’s a good idea, for sure.

    Katiez, if they start biting every tomato, there’s going to be a HUGE problem. A nuclear-level problem. I will pitch a fit.

    Growthumbs, I know! It’s like they were thumbing their nose at me.

    Chigiy, thank you for the support. :-)

    Frank, yeah, probably, if the truth be told, I’m more of a scarer than a killer. At least, so far…

    Spidercakes, I thought about a motion-activated light, but I like the sprayer idea, too.

  12. 12 Emma June 27, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    “I thought about a motion-activated light, but I like the sprayer idea, too.”

    Genie, if you go with the motion activated light, you’ll just help the varmits better find their breakfast, dinner, late night snack… I’m surprised they don’t wear those little hats with the lights on top!

    I had this total visual of you with the BB gun and the effin squirrels/bunnies out in the garden with their BB proof vests on. LOL.

    My father already gets up at 5am to stalk the effin squirrels at the birdfeeder. I could only imagine if he took up gardening..

    Best of luck!

  13. 13 inadvertentgardener June 28, 2007 at 12:01 am

    Emma, really? The light won’t freak them out? I’ll tell you what…if I do get the BB gun, there will be visuals. Oh, there will be visuals…

  1. 1 The Cool Tomato » Blog Archive » Tomato - Open Question: Can anyone suggest a pesticide for my tomato plant that is environmentally friendly and won't hurt my family? Trackback on June 25, 2007 at 12:40 pm

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