Turf wars

Today at the grocery store I bought two tomatoes.

I have 10 tomato plants in my backyard, but apparently that’s not enough to feed all of our neighborhood squirrels and also my family.

Every time I go outside, instead of ripe, red tomatoes, I see tomato carnage.

See that stub? That’s where tomatoes should be.

I haven’t picked a single tomato from this plant. The squirrels left me two. How charitable.

More empty stems.

We have chipmunks, too. I hate them. I hate them all. Do not try to tell me they are cute.  They are not cute.

Missing tomato plants are bad enough, but finding half-eaten green tomatoes in my yard is heartbreaking, not to mention disrespectful.

Stealing tomatoes and then just leaving them there? It’s a flagrant insult.

One of the three tomatoes I’ve harvested ALL YEAR is below — the one that’s just barely red. I brought both inside, the not-yet-ripe one and also the one that had been ravaged by a rodent. When Tom saw it he asked me why I took a bite out of the tomato. As if I had done it. Once he also asked me why I had unrolled all of the toilet paper and left it on the bathroom floor. There are three people in our family. Am I really the most likely candidate for that one?


So we haven’t really done anything except get angry. I planned on picking the tomatoes early, as soon as they just start to turn. But none of them have even made it to that stage.

I checked a few gardening blogs and forums. One suggestion said that if you feed the squirrels and chipmunks, they’ll leave your garden alone. FEED THE RODENTS? Surely thats a typo. Surely they meant POISON. The only explanation for that “suggestion” is that squirrels must be blogging.

Perhaps I should build them a little condo, too? With a pool? And a hottub? And would you like a little umbrella in your drink, sir?

Another suggestion: dust your plants with cayenne pepper. This seems doable. But wouldn’t I have to reapply every time it rains or I water the garden?

I also read several forums that said the only way to really get rid of rodents is to get a cat. Well, we have a cat. In fact, the reason we got our cat was to control pests when we lived near restaurants in Carytown.

And our cat isn’t even a lazy cat that hangs out at the squirrel condo all day getting massages. His place above the rodents on food chain is well-established. He even got rid of all the rabbits in our yard.

See those crazy eyes? Check out the upper left hand corner of this photo.

Don’t cry for this chipmunk; it’s the circle of life.

I’m not sure what to do, but I’m open to suggestions.

And if you’re planning to shock me by saying something like, “We used to shoot the squirrels that came in our yard!” You must have forgotten where I grew up, because I’m open to that, too.

Squirrel soup!


  1. Jenny Richardson Ramsey August 9, 2012

    we have the same problem and i have never felt so much hostility toward a rodent. ever.<br>do you remember how they used to suggest the cayenne pepper for cribbing, but the horses would always just lick it off? i bet the squirrel would just love some pepper. "thanks for seasoning my tomatoes!"<br>i have no idea what to do…maybe a second cat? 🙂

  2. Candace August 9, 2012

    Oh my gosh! Brigham the cat is a hunter!

  3. Tim Drummond August 9, 2012

    I think you’ve glossed over the "just shoot them" option too quickly. Last time we went home, we came back with a big bag of my grandparents’ extra tomatoes. They don’t have any squirrels, because my grandfather is a decent shot with a .22

  4. Grammy August 9, 2012

    I had a turf war with a rabbit. He did make a good stew. It seems like that’s when I showed your father how to skin a rabbit. Your Dad won this turf war.

  5. amanda August 10, 2012

    i glossed over it because it’s not a real solution for us, being that we live in the city of richmond. (and see my mom’s comment above? I’m totally ok with squirrel soup.)

  6. Laura August 10, 2012

    We found some big bites out of ours too… so frustrating! I’ve heard the cayenne really helps. Or sometimes we’ll pull off green ones and let them finish ripening on the counter. Takes awhile, but at least you’re the one who gets to enjoy eating it!

  7. […] I posted about squirrels eating all my tomatoes, we haven’t had any more squirrel […]

  8. […] the middle of growing season. That means Tom will be in charge of watering, weeding, chasing away chipmunks and pinching […]


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