Sunday, July 10, 2016

"Christmas in July" or "Birds vs Tomatoes!"

I feel my "freeze setback experiment" was a success. Even though my tomatoes ripened a couple of weeks after most others in this area, they did come back from dead-looking sticks and I did not have to start over with new tomatoes plants! Now for the next garden challenge: how to keep birds from pecking the tomatoes....(grrr...)

I read about the idea of putting plastic red Christmas balls out before the tomatoes turn red. Birds peck on the balls and lose interest in visiting the ripe tomatoes later. Next Christmas, I will buy a few to put in with my garden supplies. As it is, I have no red plastic balls to use as decoys. I found myself having to harvest earlier and earlier to get the tomatoes in before the birds started pecking at them. 

One evening while working in the garage, I noticed a box of various colored Christmas garland that had missed being put away in the attic. I decided the various sparkly colors might be a distraction from the juicy red tomatoes. I strung the garland all around my tomato cages, securing the ends with tie wraps. 

After a week, I have had no tomatoes that have been pecked on! My garden also looks very festive! If this works, I will pack the garland away with my garden supplies instead of in the attic!

Update: It's been a couple of weeks now. The garland has been a partial success. Smarter birds (like Mockingbirds) learn the tomatoes are there and go back to look. I think birds in general are still distracted by the shimmers and color. Someone suggested hanging old CDs (DVDs) around. I think I will save some of those as well as get red plastic Christmas balls for next year. I'll be packing this garland away in my garden supplies this fall as part of my spring bird deterrent! 

Festive Garden!

I will leave this one a little longer
to prove or disprove my experiment.
Normally it would be snacked on by now!