Phrustration – Tomato Decoys

My tomatoes are loaded with green fruit. They are just beginning to show deepening yellow, orange and red tones. Unfortunately, the squirrels have noticed too, and to my great “phrustration” I have realized I waited too long to thwart their voracious appetites for fresh tomatoes. I am annoyed with myself for I was prepared in advance for this problem. This past Christmas season I remembered the gardens of summer and bought what I had read was a preventative for hungry squirrels stealing tomatoes…cherry red Christmas Ornaments. I bought three packs at the Dollar Store and set them aside ready to be put to good use.

The trick: Before your tomatoes set fruit  place “Decoy” tomatoes on the branches. The squirrels supposedly will try to bite them and learn they are inedible. It’s a great idea, but I blew it…I waited to put the balls in place until the fruit was already showing red color and unfortunately had already been sampled several times.

I used up all my pungeant spices and baited the Christmas balls with a peanut butter glue coated with garlic, salt, onion powder and Adobo spice. For good measure I pounded a clove of garlic with a hammer and strew it in between all the tomato plants.

I hung my decoys near the lushest and best looking tomatoes. The variety above are Amish Paste. The next day to my dismay I found one of the decoys on the grass, torn off the plant and tossed around as if the squirrels had a late night soccer game.

Adding insult to injury, later in the day…

I spied this cheeky fellow on my lavender adirondack, eating one of my cherry tomatoes with another one waiting at his feet.

Perhaps my ploy might have worked if I had “followed the directions,” something I’ve always had a hard time doing, and placed the decoy tomatoes on the branches of the plants a few weeks earlier in the season.