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Tomato fruit eating critter

b
Bottomless_Pit Aug 31, 2010 01:15 PM

I noticed two days ago that one of my tomatoes was partly eaten. I set a haveaheart trap with the partly eaten tomato. The next day the trap was not set off, but the bait was eaten. Next, I set the trap with a milkbone and chicken bone. Today the trap was set off, and the bones moved to one side of the trap. I noticed today, all my tomato fruits were eaten, even the fairly high fruit. About 8 tomatoes were eaten in total. At the same time, the critter hasn't touched my yellow squash.

I feel conflicted, my first thought is to just give up, whatever is eating my tomatoes has more right to the land than I do. Growing food, even in a small garden inevitably conflicts with nature. To grow a garden is deny the animals. At the same time, whatever is eating my tomatoes much prefers tomato fruits to local weeds.

My dad said he smelled skunk last nite. Do skunks eat tomatoes? I've been putting lots of chicken bones and other compost into my compost pile. I think the compost pile may be drawing critters.

Part of me wants to cover the compost pile with lots of hay and grass clippings. Next, I want to cut down more trees and bushes to chase away the wild life. I'm still doing more for the environment than my neighbors who all have golf course mowed lawns.

  1. s
    stukin Jul 19, 2012 07:23 AM

    What you most likely have is chipmunks and/or squirrels. Set a small Havahart trap for the chipmunks and a larger one for squirrels. The best bait to use is the same for both. I should really be selling this secret, but I'll be generous this time only. Use the seeds from the cavity of cantaloupe melons. Other melon seeds works well, too. However, cantaloupe melon has an aroma that animals just can't resist. I also use several pieces of the melon skins for some added aroma. This also works for woodchucks. You might catch a skunk, but they prefer a meaty smell such as cat food or dog food. The next question is what to do with the critters once they're caught. I could tell you what I do, but you probably don't want to know. It's technically illegal to transport them because of concerns about the spread of rabies. Be aware that once you start getting rid of the animals, there will be a hundred more to take their place. So far this year, I've eliminated at least 50 chipmunks and about 20 squirrels. It has gotten so that the damage to my garden is greatly lessened. I just leave the baited traps in place all the time from early spring right through the fall. I eat lots of cantaloupes and never, never, never throw away the seeds. I also have all my friends and family save their seeds for me. Whatever you do, don't use fish heads or parts or any kind of meat; you're sure to get skunks. Not fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: stukin
      g
      gourmanda Jul 23, 2012 11:39 AM

      In our experience chipmunks could often foil the HaveAHeart. It was the most confounding thing! And we did catch a skunk in one. . .poor husband had to figure out how to get it out w/o getting sprayed. That was a feat! What finally solved our chipmunk and squirrel problem was adopting a big ol' dog that loves to dig for them (and eat them given a chance). No 'munks at our house! Of course, getting the pup involves it's own headaches--but I'd rather deal with that than with those thieving little varmints :)

    2. DonShirer Jul 18, 2012 03:51 PM

      Last year I was extraordinarily beset with chipmunks, squirrels, birds and yes, deer, taking bites out of ripening tomatoes. To save the rest of the crop, I took a batch of 2quart plastic milk bottles, cut them 3/4 of the way around at their midsection to make a sort of hinged box which I tied around individual large tomatoes or clusters of smaller ones. That worked, but it is a lot of trouble. I am considering other options if the problem recurs this year.

      1. z
        Zagut Jul 8, 2012 11:04 AM

        Mr. Remmington will take of almost all critter problems.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Zagut
          m
          mutti Jul 19, 2012 01:50 PM

          Pardon my ignorance but what is Mr Remmington??,I have a feeling I'm stepping in something.

          1. re: mutti
            e
            Eldon Kreider Jul 19, 2012 08:02 PM

            Probably referring to a Remington rifle.

            1. re: Eldon Kreider
              deet13 Jul 20, 2012 04:59 PM

              Yep.

              If you live out in the sticks like my family does, a .17 caliber rifle up to a .22 caliber rifle will deal with most varmints and rodents, short of coyotes. Plus the rabbits, groundhogs, and squirrels that tear up my garden make the best additions to the pot.

              I know exactly what they've been eating...

        2. Passadumkeg Oct 21, 2010 09:17 PM

          Set the Have-a-Heart trap again surrounded by leg traps, catch the critter, skin 'em, fry 'em up and enjoy the bounty yur garden provides. Shot a nice buck eaten my cabbages one year. Yes sir, deer steaks braised w/ cabbage is mighty fine etin'.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Passadumkeg
            p
            pine time Feb 21, 2011 01:02 PM

            hate to even think about it, but our area has a plethora of rats and they cause havoc on tomatoes. Of course, they take one bite out of 10 tomatoes, so none are left whole. I found a netting that seems to foil the little thieves.

            1. re: pine time
              Midlife Feb 21, 2011 04:39 PM

              A) I built a cage of sorts out of fine wire 'fabric'. Seems to work great.

              B) We won't be servin' up any rat BBQ any time soon.

          2. Midlife Oct 13, 2010 07:32 PM

            We had to fence off our tomatoes in pots because the minute they started to ripen unknown critters would get at them. Best guess at the critters: rats (yeah, I know..... ugh!) and maybe rabbits. Since the fencing went up the only thing that has been touched is some of the higher up fruit, so I'm guessing birds for that.

            1. s
              snippet Sep 30, 2010 06:39 PM

              Chipmunks were the ones eating my tomatoes.

              5 Replies
              1. re: snippet
                AmyH Jul 8, 2012 10:32 AM

                Chipmunks were eating mine, too, last year. They'd eat a few bites out of the almost ripe ones. I looked into getting some bird netting to put over the plants, but I thougt that might just help them climb higher. So I got a plastic owl with a bobbly head and put it near the tomatoes. I'm hoping that will works.

                1. re: snippet
                  m
                  mutti Jul 16, 2012 05:46 PM

                  ground hogs also love tomatoes had one in my yard for years.

                  1. re: mutti
                    AmyH Jul 17, 2012 05:06 AM

                    Since my last post on this subject, I've heard that rubber snakes placed around the garden also help to keep critters away. Now the hard part is finding a place to buy rubber snakes!

                    1. re: AmyH
                      h
                      harrie Jul 20, 2012 11:52 AM

                      A lot of garden stores / Agway type places carry blow-up snakes, which I feel really stupid using; but our local groundhog respects the Plissken, so it is here to stay. (The snakes can do double-duty if you decorate for Halloween.) Educational or nature-y toy stores sometimes have respectable-looking fake snakes. Amazon, of course, carries both the blow-up and solid rubber models.

                      1. re: harrie
                        AmyH Jul 20, 2012 04:41 PM

                        Thank you! It's great to hear that it works with your local ground hog. Everyone seems to be ignoring my plastic owl. I guess I'll be shopping for a snake this weekend!

                2. m
                  morwen Sep 29, 2010 05:35 PM

                  Probably a little late now but I just found one of these critters: http://organicgardening.about.com/od/pestcontrol/p/tomatohornworm.htm
                  in my garden. Something was seriously eating the green tomatoes left on the vines and the damage was such that I was blaming birds. Nope. It was the tomato hornworm. First one I've ever seen and luckily didn't show up until the tomatoes were all but done. Although we did find these:
                  http://www.flickr.com/photos/reflecte...
                  when we were tilling up the beds last fall and squished every one we found. We didn't know what it was but figured it wasn't good. The worms are big too! The one I found must be 4 1/2" long but they camouflage themselves well and my face was literally a few inches from it before I recognized it as not belonging. Apparently, they can take down a garden pretty quick if you've got an infestation and don't catch it. "Undetected, a tomato hornworm can do a fair amount of damage to its host plant. They have hearty appetites, and can defoliate a plant in a matter of days. If they are detected and removed early on, the plant will recover just fine."

                  27 Replies
                  1. re: morwen
                    septocaine_queen Sep 29, 2010 05:54 PM

                    i found a tomato hornworm a couple weeks ago on my bell pepper plant. Luckily before I "took care" of him I remembered that my cousin, who is a kindergarten teacher, asked me to save any I found so she could teach her class. We named him Wormy and he survived like 1 week which is amazing considering 27 little kids were all over him with their hands.

                    They are scary looking when they are eating your plants but cute when they are in a jar.

                    1. re: septocaine_queen
                      alkapal Sep 29, 2010 06:02 PM

                      i'm havin' a hard time lovin' on a hornworm -- even in a jar. they are some ugly-bugglies!

                      http://entomology.unl.edu/k12/caterpillars/hornworm/prepupa.jpg ! little kids can be fearless!

                      i never knew this: http://organicgardensite.com/bugs-har...

                      >>>"""" Tomato Hornworms are the larva of a huge moth called five-spotted hawkmoth. Approximate size of the moth is around the size of a hummingbird so you can’t miss them. The hawkmoth is gray-brown with yellow spots on the sides of their body.

                      The hornworm caterpillars are pretty small at first and hard to see because of their pale green color, but they become huge – 3 1/2 to 4 inches (7-10cm) in 3-4 weeks. You can’t miss them then! They are green-brown colour with v-shaped markings on the body and unmistakable ‘horns’. Hornworm eggs are green and are laid on the underside of leaves."""<<<<

                      1. re: alkapal
                        septocaine_queen Sep 29, 2010 06:17 PM

                        I screamed my head off when I saw my first one. It was like an alien crawling on my tomato plant. I made my MIL go dispose of it. She tried to pull it off the leaf but it had its claws (?) is so tight we had to pull the whole leaf off.

                        In the jar, its little poos were kinda cute like little blackberries.

                        1. re: septocaine_queen
                          alkapal Sep 29, 2010 06:24 PM

                          the ones i saw on my neighbor's vines were humongous -- and very nasty looking. no photos i found showed that look.

                          1. re: alkapal
                            septocaine_queen Sep 29, 2010 06:39 PM

                            The one I gave my cousin looked like this. The one on the upper left corner.

                            http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopEx...

                          2. re: septocaine_queen
                            EWSflash Oct 9, 2010 05:14 PM

                            I scream every time I see one. I hate them. They can strip a tomato or chile in a day.

                          3. re: alkapal
                            EWSflash Nov 6, 2011 10:46 AM

                            Nothing freaks me out like those damn hornworms. Part of it is probably because it's usually hanging an inch in front of my nose by the time I see it .

                          4. re: septocaine_queen
                            Quine Sep 30, 2010 03:00 AM

                            LOL alka and septocaine! these are actually pretty amazing things! have you seen how fast they scissor eat a leaf? looks like a Disney animation!
                            Their Adult form, most commonly known as Hummingbird Moth, is pretty impressive as well. While not colorful or pretty; they are impressive in size, body wise. They do indeed look as if they were the Eastern humming bird . But much slower, you are 'sure" you've seen them".
                            I have encountered them many times in my gardens in MA and NJ. I must admit that I have never seen them attack fruit producing tomato plants, just the first month or so's.
                            They are definitely daytime active. They do not work at night, though damage may seem so. Definitely Alien Video game looking creatures.
                            Clearly I have a "Love-Hate" relationship with them. Amazing when they are NOT eating my plants.

                            Moths and Butterflies( Way less active in our gardens as destructive) are incredible As i mentioned before. my Mom's neighbor has curly parsley plants she maintains; as Monarch butterfly caterpillar feeding grounds.
                            How can such a micro (if not nano) sized "brain" know to fly from "birth" from a " a specific place in North American to a thousand mile ( can I have a car like that????) in South America?

                            1. re: Quine
                              alkapal Sep 30, 2010 03:09 AM

                              the work of the critter! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWXrUYH1lI0
                              you ain't kiddin' about that critter's speed!
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMxE5iOEVlk&NR=1&feature=fvwp
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaB7-6Vj-Q8&feature=related

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRBQpvH_NcM

                              this one has eaten a little too much: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9XmZN... LOL!

                              1. re: alkapal
                                m
                                morwen Sep 30, 2010 02:24 PM

                                Y'all have seen the "Dune" movies, right? Now we know what inspired the sand worms! "The Spice must flow!"

                                1. re: morwen
                                  septocaine_queen Sep 30, 2010 04:23 PM

                                  That is funny.

                                  1. re: morwen
                                    Quine Sep 30, 2010 04:27 PM

                                    LOL!! I love that idea! Yes, definably brings those to mind.

                                    1. re: morwen
                                      j
                                      jumpingmonk Sep 30, 2010 05:22 PM

                                      I do not often think of Dune with regards to these things (though thier presence can certainly make me start reciting the Beni-Jesserit oath agaist fear) Being an avid reader of Lovecraft (and the later members of his circle) I tend to equate these things with Shudde-M'ell, the Burrower Beneath.

                                      1. re: jumpingmonk
                                        Quine Sep 30, 2010 05:35 PM

                                        Fantastic reply!!!

                                  2. re: Quine
                                    j
                                    jumpingmonk Sep 30, 2010 05:35 AM

                                    If your neighbor is maintaining curly parsley, then the butterfiles he or she is feeding are Eastern Black Swallowtails or Anise Swallowtails (depending on which side of the country you are in) aka Parsley Worms, which, at some points in thier lives look a little like Monarch cat's. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed.

                                    1. re: jumpingmonk
                                      alkapal Sep 30, 2010 05:59 AM

                                      you are a "natural" wonder, jumpingmonk!

                                      i cannot believe that i hadn't had you on my reading list (fixed now). you are very knowledgeable, and i enjoy your posts.

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        Quine Sep 30, 2010 04:28 PM

                                        I agree, I love learning new stuff like this! Thanks jumpingmonk!

                                    2. re: Quine
                                      n
                                      NanH Feb 25, 2011 04:39 AM

                                      I don't think hornworms become hummingbird moths, although the hummingbird moth larvae is similar. It is not as large and doesn't eat most garden plants.

                                      1. re: NanH
                                        m
                                        morwen Feb 25, 2011 06:26 AM

                                        http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/ins...

                                        "Adult stages of hornworms are known as sphinx, hawk, or “hummingbird” moths."

                                        1. re: morwen
                                          n
                                          NanH Feb 25, 2011 06:54 AM

                                          Yes, but not all hornworms are tomato hornwooms. The tomato hornworm grows up to be a...uh...five spotted hawk moth??, not a hummingbird moth. Same family, different genus.

                                          1. re: NanH
                                            m
                                            morwen Feb 25, 2011 09:17 AM

                                            http://www.vegedge.umn.edu/vegpest/ho...
                                            "The tomato hornworm, Manduca quinquemaculata (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae), is native to the United states, and is commonly found throughout the northern states. The adult moth, sometimes referred to as a "sphinx", "hawk", or "hummingbird" moth, is a large, heavy-bodied moth with narrow front wings." S.J. Wold-Burkness & W.D. Hutchison
                                            Department of Entomology, University of Minnesota

                                            The quote in my previous post is from F.B.Peairs, Extension entomologist and professor of entomology, bioagricultural sciences and pest management, Colorado State University.

                                            S.J. Wold-Burkness & W.D. Hutchison link all three-"sphinx", "hawk", and "hummingbird moth" directly as the adult stage of the tomato hornworm.

                                            F.B.Peairs seems to imply that "hummingbird moth" is a localism or common name used for all hornworm moths. On the chart further down the colostate.edu site there are various types of sphinx moths and hawk moths and even one "clearwing" moth listed, and yes, on that chart the tomato hornworm is listed as the "Five-spotted hawkmoth", but nowhere on the chart is the name "hummingbird moth" attached to any one moth.

                                            So "five-spotted hawk moth" is more specific but "hummingbird moth" in general usage is not incorrect.

                                            1. re: morwen
                                              n
                                              NanH Feb 25, 2011 02:02 PM

                                              I'll see your Colorado State University and raise you Montana State University and Iowa State University:

                                              (Note however that the scientifically accepted common name of "Hummingbird clearwing" refers specifically to Hemaris thysbe.) - from /www.butterfliesandmoths.org/faq (Montana State University

                                              Only one sphinx moth, uncommon to Iowa,
                                              officially carries the name of hummingbird
                                              moth. The “hummingbird clearwing moth” is
                                              one of several moth species that lose most
                                              of the scales that cover and color the wings -from http://www.extension.iastate.edu/publ...

                                              1. re: NanH
                                                Quine Feb 25, 2011 02:40 PM

                                                Ladies, ladies, as the original poster of the tomato hornworm stuff I so totally am thrilled about the research you both went through to add material to the topic.
                                                But the topic is about what's eating the tomatos and unless we want to start including recipe for grilled Very large hovering moths, I declare this unraveled part of the thread, tied up shut now, OK. Please.

                                                1. re: Quine
                                                  m
                                                  morwen Feb 26, 2011 02:18 PM

                                                  Oh,oh! Grilled Moth! I'll bring the skewers Nan! Do you think we should marinade? And I think a citrusy white to accompany. Gewurztraminer, maybe?

                                                  1. re: morwen
                                                    n
                                                    NanH Feb 27, 2011 03:19 AM

                                                    Or maybe a dry rub? We have to do something about that powdery stuff on the wings. I have a Gewurztraminer already open in the fridge, do you have a bottle too?

                                                    1. re: NanH
                                                      Midlife Mar 1, 2011 04:30 PM

                                                      <"I'll see your Colorado State University and raise you Montana State University and Iowa State University:">

                                                      PRICELESS !!!!!!!!!!!

                                    3. re: septocaine_queen
                                      EWSflash Feb 22, 2011 06:08 PM

                                      Oh no they aren't.
                                      I've found them in bizarre places, like hanging from my desert willows and once from a mesquite, at the bottom of a natural pool in the mountains, and once on my front bumper because i had some catclaw vines draping over the carport and must have knocked one off. but it didn't fall off and stayed there for the whole day. God they're creepy.

                                  3. e
                                    Eldon Kreider Sep 1, 2010 04:40 PM

                                    Do you have squirrels? They are notorious for eating parts of tomatoes although usually will not go after a partly eaten tomato. Fencing will not help with squirrels as they use any size mesh as a ladder.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Eldon Kreider
                                      b
                                      Bottomless_Pit Sep 1, 2010 08:35 PM

                                      Yes, lots and lots of squirrels, I see them in the garden all the time. I notice whenever I plant seeds, about 6-10 squirrels seem to stay in the area for the next 24 hours. I thought squirrels only ate meat and nuts.

                                      1. re: Bottomless_Pit
                                        Quine Sep 2, 2010 06:30 AM

                                        O good grief!!! You don't know about the Famous Squirrel Wars?!??! Winner still undetermined, battles being raised across birdfeeders around the globe. Check out this video:

                                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8YZIhlWpS0

                                        Short, squirrels loves seeds.

                                        Compost works better and faster if aerated and periodically mixed. Bones really don't compost. Never saw Dinosaurs, or prehistoric bones before? Here are a few websites that can give some ideas.:

                                        http://www.howtocompost.org/ (the better of these

                                        )

                                        http://vegweb.com/composting/

                                        (Edit: For typo)

                                        1. re: Quine
                                          b
                                          Bottomless_Pit Sep 2, 2010 10:48 AM

                                          I read the links on composting good info, I'm starting to feel confident about composting now that I've read about 10 or so articles about composting from various sites. I was in my garden and some of the squash plants seem to be missing. My garden looks less full and my dill herb was eating almost to the roots.

                                          As for the squirrels, I guess I'll have to plant some sunflower plants so there is enough food for everyone.

                                        2. re: Bottomless_Pit
                                          Gio Sep 30, 2010 05:00 AM

                                          Squirrels are NOT carnivores. They do not eat meat!

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            e
                                            Eldon Kreider Sep 30, 2010 04:17 PM

                                            Gray squirrels do eat grubs and can make a mess of a lawn infested with grubs.

                                          2. re: Bottomless_Pit
                                            EWSflash Oct 9, 2010 05:13 PM

                                            I used to grow romaine in a big pot on the west side of my house. A squirrel that lived under the main house next door would wait until it was almost eating size, eat it down almost to the ground, and then run back under the main house. Little brat. It would grow back, and the story would repeat. I kept watering and eventually just grew the romaine for the squirrel.

                                            1. re: EWSflash
                                              septocaine_queen Oct 9, 2010 05:45 PM

                                              That is hilarious and just what I would do too. You figure if the little squirrel enjoyed the lettuce so much that he should just have it. It is like a bird feeder.

                                        3. Gio Aug 31, 2010 02:54 PM

                                          I agree with raytamsgv... meat and bones do not belong in a compost pile. Only vegetation i.e leaves, weeds, kitchen veggie waste, grass and garden clippings, etc. A 3+ foot high chicken wire fence might deter critters. This morning I saw a male cardinal (bird) eating my cherry tomatoes...And I thought they were seed eaters.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: Gio
                                            d
                                            dfrostnh Sep 1, 2010 09:45 AM

                                            I agree, no meat or bones in the compost pile. I'm careful about the use of bone meal since I have had young seedlings ripped out and suspect a critter was attracted by the bone meal which I had scratched into the soil before seeding. Each time I add kitchen waste to the compost pile I add a layer of grass clippings or chopped leaves. Whatever my husband has piled up for me. This morning I noticed my dwindling row of new bean plants had been cropped. I know some critter is feasting on yellow tomatoes but ignoring the multitude of cherry tomatoes. I've seen crows pecking small apples off the wild tree at the edge of the woods. My husband has not seen evidence of any woodchucks but we've seen skunks, porcupines, coyotes, etc. We think racoons and bears are enjoying the farmer's corn field and leaving our garden mostly alone.

                                            I disagree with the statement about gardens conflicting with nature. Blossoms attract a variety of bugs. Birds sit on my pea fence and watch for yummy things. Fish and Game told us that using the tractor attracts coyotes because they know it kicks up voles and insects for lunch. Goldfinches and other birds use my bird bath and feast on the seed heads in my flower garden and weed patch. I grow scarlet runner beans to attract hummingbirds. I figure I'm going to lose part of my garden produce to disease, bugs and critters but I still have enough to give away to friends. I may be luckier than some to have a big enough garden. During this unnaturally hot and dry summer, I've found frogs in my garden and also one who spends some time in the bird bath.
                                            I don't know why one row of beans has been devastated and another nearby row not touched at all. Perhaps one row is better protected by rampant squash vines and hearty parsnips leaves. Striped cucumber beetles killed early plantings of yellow summer squash but didn't bother costata romanesque zucchini.
                                            Better luck on next year's garden. I've just purchased some blueberry plants and I know I will have to put nets over them or not get any berries at all.

                                            1. re: dfrostnh
                                              Gio Sep 1, 2010 01:31 PM

                                              Your first paragraph had me laughing. I live in suburbia. Large lot, 6'fencing all around, neighbors on 3 sides. We have possums, wood chucks, racoons, wild turkeys, hares, squirrels and chipmunks. Lately the new kids on the block are coyotes and a family of red foxes...not to mention various raptors. I have greatly reduced the vegetables I now grow thinking any day now we're going to see deer. When the garden was in full growth I used plant certain flowers which attracted beneficial insects.

                                              In reference to those chicken bones: Forget the skunks, you are going to attract rats if you continue to put them into your compost heap. BTW: I hope that compost is enclosed!.

                                              1. re: Gio
                                                b
                                                Bottomless_Pit Sep 1, 2010 08:33 PM

                                                Closed compost, I didn't even know closed compost existed? No I just put the compost in my unused raised garden beds with nothing covering. That way as the compost gradually decomposes the nutrients go into the soil, rather than having to transport the compost. I put about 3 birds , 2 chickens and one turkey worth of bones last time in a raised bed.

                                                I really don't want to spend the money on a commercial composter. gardening is a time intensive and expensive hobby. I spent nearly $100 on gardening since May!

                                                1. re: Bottomless_Pit
                                                  Gio Sep 30, 2010 04:58 AM

                                                  If you're spreading fresh composting material directly on your garden beds/rows the material is actually *taking away* the nutrients meant for your plants in order to break down. Closed composters allow the materials to attain the very high temperature that's absolutely necessary for the material to biodegrade and kill objectionable weeds in the process. There are many different commercial composters made for the home gardener for various prices. Our town's public works department sells composters for $25.00...

                                                  Additionally, animal products do not go into a compost heap. Only green, brown and wet materials.

                                                  1. re: Bottomless_Pit
                                                    c
                                                    CocoaNut Mar 2, 2011 05:22 AM

                                                    You must have a very large land mass on which to have an open compost pile without your neighbors ousting you from the neighborhood!

                                              2. re: Gio
                                                alkapal Sep 26, 2010 04:02 PM

                                                gio, yesterday, i saw a young male cardinal pulling off french thyme leaves and eating them!

                                                1. re: alkapal
                                                  Gio Sep 30, 2010 05:05 AM

                                                  The cardinal as gastronome. Of course, since you're a Chowhound Alka!

                                                  1. re: Gio
                                                    alkapal Sep 30, 2010 05:58 AM

                                                    we teach our birds the right way. ;-).

                                                2. re: Gio
                                                  EWSflash Nov 6, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                  I had a nice-looking string of pearls plant that a cardinal denuded.

                                                3. raytamsgv Aug 31, 2010 02:43 PM

                                                  Have you tried fencing off your garden? A local opossum loves to eat my tomatoes, and this has stopped it. It can eat bugs, worms, and other stuff it finds, but the tomatoes are mine.

                                                  Personally, I wouldn't recommend putting meat or bones in your compost pile. It isn't a good idea.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: raytamsgv
                                                    Quine Aug 31, 2010 02:55 PM

                                                    I definitely agree re the bone and meat stuff in compost, the bone won't break down and the meat will attract critters. Bone meal, on the other hand is a good addition. Grass clippings don't work well unless you mix it in pretty well when you add it, it otherwise just sorta mats up.

                                                    Skunks are pretty much opportunist, what they find they will eat, bugs, eggs, delicious fruits but they pretty much stay ground level, so reaching up for something is not as common, Now raccoons, a whole other story.

                                                    Fencing in a garden is a great idea, and ultimately the one that will work the best.

                                                    1. re: Quine
                                                      b
                                                      Bottomless_Pit Sep 1, 2010 10:23 AM

                                                      Hmmm, what should I do with chicken bones if I don't throw in the compost? Chicken is one of the cheapest forms of meat, so I'm not giving up chicken any time soon.

                                                      I'm starting to re-think my compost idea and just buy compost. I bought a 40 ib bag of manure and humus Garden Pro brand compost from Lowes. I Just poured the contents onto a recently double digged bed. The compost is all gray now that its dried out though, compared to my brown earthy looking clay soil.

                                                      "Fencing in a garden is a great idea, and ultimately the one that will work the best." I plan to take down an old fence and put the fence on its side. Four legged creatures hate horizontal fencing.

                                                      1. re: Bottomless_Pit
                                                        Quine Sep 1, 2010 01:17 PM

                                                        Sometimes garbage is just garbage, I honestly throw them out, re the bones, but often they are so cooked out, stock/soup etc, they are just useless to anything. Tho' ya never know. My Mom has the Pine barrens at her back door, so she leaves her kitchen scrapes like this at the edge and they are usually gone by next day. One day I went out to check and saw a tortoise, happy crunching away one liked it was just a potato chip!

                                                        Just remember Gardening is nothing more than just a constant compromise/negotiation with Mother Nature. Sometimes you're the bug and sometimes you're the windshield.

                                                        Since our habitat has overtaken alot of nature's habitat, things we do to help replace are not only helpful but needed. Bees and butterflies besides birds and such, very much need all the gardening we can do. Mom's neighbor grows pots of parsley each year, not so she can use it, but because each year Monarch butterflies return and hatch out new ones there.

                                                        1. re: Bottomless_Pit
                                                          raytamsgv Sep 1, 2010 03:26 PM

                                                          I use a plastic wire mesh (1 inch squares) that I bought at the local big box hardware store (located in the fencing aisle). I attached it to my existing fence with garden twist ties and UV-resistant plastic ties. That might be less work than digging up your existing fence.

                                                          1. re: raytamsgv
                                                            Quine Sep 1, 2010 03:29 PM

                                                            Nice idea!

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