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Jun 8, 2010 04:49 PM

Anyone know whats happening to my eggplant and tomatoes?

Hi everyone,

I recently planted a garden in my yard for the first time, and something is happening to my black beauty eggplant and a my tomato plants which are a few different varieties. There a green peppers and cucumbers growing also, which seem to be unaffected. I think something is eating the leaves, but all i have are stems left for 3 of my eggplants, and many leaves are gone from the tomato plants. Any advice? I live in NJ.


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  1. you have to put a fence around the garden. Either you have deer or rabbits or raccons, or any number of var-mits.

    8 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      I thought it was something of this nature, just wanted to get advice from others who have been gardening longer. Think a 3' or so wire fence will keep them out? I'm pretty sure it isn't deer, they would have a hard time getting in my yard and would probably leave tracks in the garden. I guess whatever is eating them doesn't like pepper or cucumber plants.

      1. re: digitalrebel11

        Could be Bugs Bunny or Rocky Raccoon has moved into your neighborhood. I think a 3' wire fence, as long as the rabbits can't get under or through, will do it.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          Depends on how tight the weave of the fence is...we bought the standard green garden fence (30" high) and still had problems with someone eating the plants. One morning we caught 2 bunnies in the garden. I thought they must have hopped the fence (which did seem insane) until we chased them THROUGH one of the holes. Seriously, if I hadn't seen this with my own eyes I would not believe a rabbit could fit through such a small hole. So we reinforced the bottom 24" with chicken wire, and that finally solved the problem. Good luck!

          1. re: RosemaryHoney

            Those bunnies are pesky and relentless. Chicken or rat wire (which has very small holes and is very sturdy) will be a good reinforcement around the base of standard garden fencing, as RosemaryHoney suggests. And follow jfood's advice about checking for voles.

            When I lived out in the sticks of CT, we had 6' fencing; the deer would reach their necks right over and grab the corn.

        2. re: digitalrebel11

          as others have stated, need to make sure they do not get under or through. Now, not to throw a turd in the puchbowl, you shou see if there are holes in the garden which would indicate vols, which are a nuisance in NJ.

          1. re: jfood

            Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of voles in an organic vegetable garden? They showed up in mine last August. It was my first experience with them, and they destroyed everything! This winter, their population exploded in my garden area, and they ate my asparagus crowns, greatly weakening production. Everyone says "Get a cat!", but we've got one, and it's no help! We also have a healthy owl population, but the voles are just thriving anyway...I'm at my wits end.

            1. re: RosemaryHoney

              jfood understands they come up from below. the only thing he has heard but has never tried is to remove the dirt at the end of the season and place wire mesh down then relay the dirt on top of the wire.

              1. re: RosemaryHoney

                My garden lady told me to take dog hair from my dog (with gloves on) and put it at and slightly into the holes.

                She lives in mole/vole country.

        3. Could be tomato horn worms? do you see any black poops around the plants? They eat tomato and egg plant also. Look under the branches and leaves, they blend in very well.

          1. When I built two new 4'x4' raised beds, I also made an arched cover for them out of chickenwire. It keeps out both rabbits and chipmunks, which I have in abundance. This is fine for small eggplants, brussel sprouts, peppers and broccoli. For tomatoes and taller eggplants I use wire cages around the ones in the ground. Those I have in self-watering containers like earthboxes sit high enough that the rodents don't seem to bother them.

            1. Oh no! Could be any number of things....voles, worms, etc. I would suggest next year growing the seedlings up through toilet paper rolls or wrapping foil around the bottoms. then sprinkle pepper flakes or cayenne or another deterrent around the plant. I've heard using animal-urine scented things also helps. Neem oil is what I use for a multi-purpose pesticide and it is also great for the plants.

              1. That sucks! Well, whatever is eating those tomato leaves might not be around much longer since they are toxic as far as I know.