Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tomato wars

I'm trying new methods to dissuade the birds and other critters from pecking holes in every last tomato we've got.

We've shrouded our five vines, which helps but which is putting obvious stress upon them.
The three-vine stock tank, with the white shroud temporarily lifted and tossed over the fence behind it.
I also tried putting some of the half-eaten tomatoes up on the fence for easier animal access, so that hopefully they will leave the more-difficult-to-access shrouded tomatoes alone:
I've never been a big fan of minimalist art.
It didn't work - they still keep going after the hidden vine tomatoes, even though these fence tomatoes are immediately accessible.

Suddenly it occurred to me what part of the issue is: these wild creatures don't all want the tomatoes per se.  They want the water IN the tomatoes, because we're in the most extreme drought that has occurred since human recordkeeping began.  THAT is why they keep going to great lengths to open new tomatoes even when I put the damaged ones within their easy reach.

So I bought an additional water source:
Wildlife Rehab & Education stresses that birds like to have rocks in the middle of bird baths.  They find it more natural that way.
I'm not sure yet if this will improve the situation, but we'll see.  Meanwhile, we are still managing to harvest an average of seventeen unpecked tomatoes per day, and the hauls often look something like this:
Yesterday I used a bunch of 'em plus one of our two-pound organic onions in some Texas chili, which turned out wonderfully:

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