Despite warnings, we planted mail-order tomato plants before that last arctic blast. We’ve had good luck in the past and, sure enough, all six plants survived the cold snap, only to be ravaged just days later by an unseen marauder!
Of course, with all this time at home coupled with a love of gardening, we were mad to get to the bottom of the mystery. Who and what was going after our tomatoes? (My vote was on the raccoon that lives nearby.) Three plants had been pulled up, their roots exposed. We replanted them and wondered how to protect them from The Beast.
I’d bought some netting two years ago when our Asian Pear Tree pushed out a bumper crop in the hopes that I could salvage some from the birds and squirrels. That was a success, and I had leftover netting. So, we drove stakes into the ground and wrapped the tomato bed with netting.
We have a surveillance camera in the backyard so we can watch the birds and the garden, and it also records. I pulled out the trusty tablet and took a look. It wasn’t the raccoon after all, but a crazy spastic squirrel that dug, leapt, flipped, rolled, and sprinted around the yard. For some reason, it seemed to find the tomato plants irresistible, as if they were the catnip equivalent for squirrels. Crazy!
Then I noticed there were two crazy squirrels. The neighbors had recently sprayed for ticks and mosquitos and I wondered if they had gotten poisoned somehow. It turns out that they were just two crazy squirrels looking like a WWF (Wildlife Wrestling Federation) smackdown.
Um… not quite. So, something to do with hormones and pheromones and dirt. I don’t want to spoil the party, just wanted them to find another bed somewhere else. They have a perfectly good nest up in the tree, after all. The netting should help, right?
Five days later and the netted bed remained a squirrel-free zone. Then we looked out this morning to find the one little guy can’t stay away.
The poor thing was terrified of me and surprisingly good at not getting completely entangled in the mesh netting. After some maneuvering, I was able to open a hole and liberate the little devil.
I doubt he’ll be back rooting in this bed again, but I suspect that he’s learned all about netting and that has me worried about my pear crop!
Stay tuned for some good news next month. Also, I’ll be posting soon about my latest project, making an audio recording of my novel, Best Game Ever. #rrangell