A Public Apology

Remember my last post about bunnies eating my tomatoes?


Dear Neighborhood Bunnies,

Last week I accused you of  theft and destruction of my tomato property. I was wrong. It wasn’t you. I threatened you and made insults about your intelligence. For this I am very sorry.

You are however eating the mint in my yard. I know this because of your really fresh breath. Also, I saw you do it.

Let’s call a truce. I’ll cease spreading tomato eating rumors as long as you don’t eat all of the  mint.

Deal? Can we shake on this? 

Respectfully yours,

Human in Purple Who Screams at You From The Patio



But who is eating my tomatoes? Let’s take a look at the suspects:


The guilty party is surprisingly #4. Birds.

Let’s get a confession.





So there you have it. The birds are the ones “eating” holes in my tomatoes.

They already have a bird bath (water is refreshed daily and they are SO not appreciative) so I added another basin of water right next to the garden for the lazy ones and to help ease the traffic congestion. Didn’t work.

Then I tried hanging threads across the top of the garden with shiny sparkly reflective strips. Didn’t work.


Then I hung old CDs all over the garden which spin and reflect light and basically turned the  garden into a disco dance party. So of course all the birds came. Didn’t work.

So then I started picking tomatoes before they were fully ripe and letting them ripen in a sunny windowsill. But the birds got angry and started pecking the green tomatoes. Didn’t work.

Finally, I wrapped every single tomato in a fine mesh (tulle material, that cheap wedding veil stuff) and it WORKS. It works but it is a lot of work.

So after four years of struggling with tomatoes in our annual garden, I’ve finally figured out how to easily have a bounty of fresh, local, organic heirloom tomatoes.

  1. Go to the farmer’s market
  2. Bring lots of money
  3. Buy tomatoes



All the other stuff in our garden is fine. It really is the tomatoes that face peril each season. One year it was Crappy Baby “helping to garden” by uprooting entire plants and then later by picking green tomatoes too early. Another year it was the masked bandits. Those raccoons would  reach up with their tiny dark hands and gingerly pick an entire tomato. Then they’d sit under a tree and eat the whole thing then go back for another one. Each year we think we have it figured out and each year it is another problem.

Probably next year it will be narwhals. I hear they like to spear tomatoes with their horn tooth thing.


My garden is doomed.




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187 Responses to A Public Apology

  1. Our garden is doomed because we totally failed to plant anything this year. I’m wondering if we still can–after all, it is southern California.

    • Alison says:

      Ditto. Minus the CA part. My daughter keeps asking. maybe one day I’ll just buy fully grown plants and stick them in the garden. *sigh*

      • Meggin D says:

        The only way we can really get a lot of tomatoes in BC (Canada) is to buy plants. Between a short growing season and blight we have to work really hard to get garden tomatoes. Last few years I’ve only grown cherry tomatoes.
        If you’ve got a greenhouse then you can start them from seed, but that is sometimes risky!

    • Jenni says:

      If you go to sproutrobot . com they will tell you what you can plant and when for your area! 🙂

  2. I love your solution of going to the farmers’ market and opening your wallet. I have to be careful how money I bring there because I really spend all of it.

    My neighbor set up a motion sensor camera with a flash to find out whose dog was pooping on his lawn. He was really righteous about it. Hence my amusement when he found out it was his own dog. Unfortunately, I don’t think he was properly humbled.

    • amber says:

      Ha ha, his own dog was busted!

    • Erica says:

      That is unfortunate. You’d think he’d at least be able to laugh at himself.

      • Naomi says:

        I don’t think people who take dog poop that seriously that they go to all the trouble of putting up a sensor light are able to laugh at themselves.

        My favourite complaint about animals eating plants was a lady about three blocks away from us complaining about deer eating her roses. I can’t beat that. lol.

  3. Dorothy says:

    My garden is doomed because I neglect it, and we’re on once a week watering restrictions, and the backyard gets no sun. I can’t even grow GRASS in my backyard.

    Oh, and the 100 degree heat, although I can’t complain too much this year, Dallas has been almost cool…

    And the rabbits are eating my strawberries.

    • We lived just north of Dallas for three years (until last month, actually), and I definitely agree with you! We *did* grow a little garden (our “redneck raised garden,” actually–planted in a cracked plastic swimming pool (behind our tall fence where it wouldn’t offend the community image officers or our neighbors) and nourished by Miracle Gro soil), but we had the bunnies and the squirrels and the birds evading all our protective devices. And the radishes–the only thing they all ignored–were planted too late in the season and were so hot that I couldn’t eat them.

    • Erica says:

      We’ve had a pretty mild summer so far (we’re in San Antonio). We’re also on once a week restrictions for sprinklers but can hand water any time.

    • Monica says:

      Oh my gosh i’m in Dallas too! i can’t even get wild flowers to grow in my front yard, let alone veggies! Of course i’ve been labelled as a Planted Hospice Care Taker… i “ease” the plants into the afterlife LOL!!

    • Kayla says:

      Maybe that in-ground bottle watering method might work. Supposed to use less water, AND great for plant murderers (me) who neglect gardening duties. I’m trying this next year. Unfortunately I don’t actually know how to do it, bc I only half pay attention to mostly everything I watch, but that is why there is google. 🙂

  4. Sarah says:

    My DOG steals my tomatoes. She has already eaten my first red one of the year 🙁

    • Peg says:

      We had a weiner dog that ate tomatoes off the plant. My Dad had to put them in pots on the top deck and install a gate 😛

    • Ashley says:

      My parents have three dogs – they each have a favorite plant to destroy 🙂 One likes to pick and play ball with cantaloupe, one eats squash, all three pick snap peas, and one picks the gates and rolls in the broccoli. Add my two year old and its mayhem!

      • wilma fingerdoo says:

        Our two puppies destroyed the garden last summer right after I fenced it in and did everything to keep them out. Our one dog Tilly “the tiller” dug holes to bury her bones after eating most of the tomatoes.

        This year (and I will only admit this on the anonymous internet) I tried something so disgusting, I can’t believe I am typing it now, but it worked. I used their own dog shit as fertilizer in a trench around the garden- dogs don’t like to dig in their own shit so they kept away. We had the biggest broccoli, most awesome lettuces, and now the tomatoes, cukes, and peppers are exploding.
        All because of Dog Shit.

  5. Pati says:

    That’s great! I don’t usually have problems with tomatoes but my broccoli and kale was getting devoured by the aphids! It seems I don’t have enough ladybugs… I’m guessing we each have one pest or another in the garden!

  6. fanny upcrutch says:

    I have pet raccoons in my UK garden and the little monsters reach through the mesh walls of their enclosure and have raided the blackberry and black currant bushes. But hey, atleast they are leaving my wallpaper alone when they come inside 🙂

  7. Felicity says:

    I’ve found that the birds only like it when the birdbath water is filthy. Let it get nice and rancid, and maybe they’ll leave your tomatoes alone! Yay! A win for laziness.

  8. Crystal says:

    I can picture rabbits chewing on mint leaves, then flossing with the strings you hung out to deter the animals.

  9. Sarah says:

    The narwhal “everyone loves tomatoes” needs to be your next t-shirt.

    • Kelly says:

      I second that swag!

    • Nickol says:


    • Aceroo says:

      That’s exactly what I was coming here to write.

    • Ana says:

      I would so rock that shirt!
      or water bottle. I can always use new water bottles…

      • Su- says:

        me, six! And I would buy one for my friend who introduced me to you. And my spouse who I tease for having a narwhal tooth! (He has eaten raw tomatoes as if they were apples from when he was a child. Hmm… And he really loves nuts. Maybe he was a squirrel in another lifetime.)

        Seriously, is wrapping each in tulle harder than building a cage? I am thinking of building one with a wood frame, chicken wire (squirrels got through the tough plastic stuff that even had a picture of a squirrel that it was supposed to repel that I tried last year) and hinges (so I can get in at will). Unfortunately, I have 2 young boys, too, and have not gotten around to it, though I have mental blueprints. It would be a good excuse to buy a staple gun! 😉

  10. Katy says:

    Aww!! We have moles and deer that totally wreck gardens. However, if a narwhal with sexy eyelashes wanted some of my tomatoes, I’d totally share 😀

    Also, I loved the visual of your disco dance party garden!!

  11. Kimberly says:

    The birds in my yard have actually grown squash plants for me! I grew the seeds indoors in early spring, brought them outside and never got around to planting them. The other day I saw big squash plants growing in my front yard. The birds ate the seeds I never planted, pooped in my front yard and voila…I have squash plants : )

  12. I have blueberry bushes planted near the garden — I let the birds have the berries to protect the tomatoes (it’s like a sacrifice to the bird gods, I guess). So far we’re all co-existing warily. The DEER, however, are a whole different story. Sigh.

  13. Kelly says:

    Just curious what you will use the mint for if it survives the rabbits. I have a ton of luscious smelling mint growing in my herb bed and don’t know what to do with it!

    • Kelly S says:

      We put mint in water jugs (repurposed milk jugs) for kids and dogs to drink all summer. The kids think it’s mine cause it’s “fancy” so they drink it… I also put lemonbalm and cucumber in water for the real “fancy” occasions.

    • amber says:

      We make mint tea all winter, use it in salads and make mint/lemonade popsicles.

    • Ma B says:

      Silly girl. Why not make:

      Frozen Mojito Cocktails

      1/4 cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled together until sugar melts)
      2 limes, juiced
      12 fresh mint leaves, plus mint sprigs for garnish
      4 ounces white rum
      2 cups crushed ice

      Combine simple syrup, lime juice and mint leaves in a blender and blend until combined. Add the rum and crushed ice and blend until frothy. Pour into 2 rocks glasses and garnish with mint sprigs.

      Try Torched Cherry Rum and wowza! So refreshing!

      • amber says:

        Yum! The last time I made mojitos from the mint in our yard I drunk tweeted a bunch. Will have to stay off the interwebs if I do it again.

        • Ma B says:

          I really loved everything about this posting … so darn cute.

          Drink & Tweet Responsibly

    • Ana says:

      You break out the big floppy hats, folding chairs, kiddie pool, and make some mint juleps.

    • MamaBean says:

      Fruit salad & mint is DELISH! Or throw it in a jar with some vinegar and let sit for 2 weeks. VOILA… homemade minty household cleaner. Strain the mint out, and add equal parts water to the vinegar. I add a pretty mint leaf to the spray bottle for what my friend calls the “Willams Sonoma effect”.

  14. Carolyn says:

    I love nature, except when it gets in my garden or comes in my house. Then I am not so fond of it. 🙂

    The earwigs were enjoying our garden this year and I’m sure it will be something else soon.

  15. Momma Berry says:

    Here’s an easier trick for next season. Christmas tree balls! The ball shape decorations you would normally hang on a Christmas tree, painted red (if not already so) and hung around your garden well BEFORE your actual tomatoes ripen, will attract the birds away from the tomatoes. They peck at the fake tomatoes, get nothing from it and move on to other tomato patches, never to return! :))
    …at least it works for us here in Texas 🙂

  16. Lisa says:

    This is EXACTLY MY LIFE a few years ago. Birds…bunnies…deer…we had it all. The one thing that worked was putting bird netting over the entire row of tomato plants. Of course, then we found a dead bird caught in the net. That was fun.

    We are now strong proponents of the farmer’s market method. 🙂

  17. Christina says:

    “I hung old CDs all over the garden which spin and reflect light and basically turned the garden into a disco dance party.”


  18. Kamron says:

    I read in Birds and Blooms to hang red christmas tree orniments on your tomato plants. The birds will peck the glass and then leave your tomatoes alone. Does it work? I don’t know. We still don’t have any tomatoes on our plants lol.

  19. Leah says:

    We in North Texas also face near impossible odds when it comes to tomatoes (and lots of other stuff too for the record.) They do sell bird netting which you can kind of just drape across the plants instead of having to individually wrap them which sounds untenable. Also, for the other critters, fox/coyote urine scattered around the plants keeps them away.

  20. Jlynn says:

    Something is eating my leaves off my plants and being picky. They have eaten the cucumber, squash, and broccoli leaves but left all the other plants alone. We will see if the plants survive the defoliation.

    • Jlynn says:

      So I just went to check the garden and whatever ate my leaves decided my squash tasted good. One is half eaten and it looks like rodent teeth marks. We are in Vermont so our growing season is shorter then yours.

    • Cheri says:

      Are whole leaves gone down to the stem? If so might be a woodchuck/groundhog. 🙁

      • Jlynn says:

        Yeah and the teeth marks on the half eaten squash are of the rodent type. A friend said this is probably what we have. I am not sure how to go about getting rid of them as I know a fence will not help. We have not seen them so the suggestion to shoot them would not work…

    • Nicole says:

      Probably Japanese beetles. Awful little creatures. They eat the leaves into lattice-work, leaving just the “bones” of the leaves and then the bones drop off and the plant is doomed. Sound right??

      • Diana says:

        You know it’s Japanese beetles if your bean leafs are skeletal. They love beans and roses…the little buggers.

  21. You know those birds & their dancing feet! They can’t stop!

  22. Jolleen says:

    YUP!!! Most of the year I toss out peanuts and bird food on our back deck and love to watch the multitudes of birds and squirrels come. This year I found that both the birds (of all kinds) and the squirrels too LOVED that I had all of the little containers full of “yummy stuff” for them to eat. Sigh. Yes, I too have the funny rainbow tape and the impossible bird netting all over everything. Otherwise they dig huge wonderful holes into everything!!! Of course, then because it’s such a pain to water I never seem to water it more than once a week so everything is close to death anyway…sigh. At least we only live a block from the fruit stand.

  23. Heather says:

    Birds have gotten 90% of my strawberries so far this year – I will see them sitting in the strawberries having a feast. Sooo obnoxious!

  24. Jennifer says:

    I have to laugh because I know how much you hate Caillou and there was actually an episode where Caillou and his mom plant vegetable (yes, I know tomato is technically a fruit) seeds and they get eaten by the birds. So to scare the birds off, Caillou, Rosie, mom, and dad build a scarecrow to stand by their vegetable garden. I would say, “Who wants to take the time to build a scarecrow?!” but you obviously spent quite a bit of time making everything else. See…Caillou isn’t THAT bad 🙂

    • amber says:

      I saw that episode! I’m certain that wouldn’t work, the birds don’t fly away until I’m right next to them yelling.

    • J. Haven says:

      Thanks for mentioning the Despised One, I keep forgetting to come and tell all of you that I have found a partial solution – let the kids watch it in different languages! I think it’s partly because I don’t understand the words, but mostly because the other voice actors don’t put so much whine in Caillou’s voice. So far on YouTube I’ve identified Italian, French, and Spanish for sure, and there are at least three others, including one with Cyrillic characters, so even if you’re multilingual you have a chance. And if the children complain that they don’t understand, just watch it with them and describe the action, they’ll catch on pretty quickly, and you can put your own spin on the messages. (Evil grin)

  25. Jo says:

    With us, it was lizards. But they were shy and only ate the whole backside, leaving the front. That’s really mean!

  26. There’s this sturdy green plastic stuff that you could stake around the perimeter of your tomatoes and then drape bird netting across the top– sun light will still get through and it’s easy to open the green plastic mesh to access them for harvest. Just a thought that might be less time consuming and way easier to keep the birds out. We had to use this exact method to keep the neighbor’s multitude of cats from using our raised garden beds as litter boxes. 🙂

    This is the stuff we got: http://www.homedepot.com/p/YARDGARD-40-in-x-25-ft-Garden-Fence-889250A/202024123#.UeWnBG3BxzI

    And the metal poles w/ little “hooks” on them that you just sink into the ground and slip the plastic mesh over… easy peasy:


    Hope that helps!

  27. Our garden is doomed because we live next to a protected wetland that is completely full of all sorts of birds. So pretty much we grow fresh veggies for the birds.

  28. Andrea says:

    Hahaha, birds disco party! That made me laugh out loud. We don’t have a yard, so once a year I buy a tomato plant or two and put them on the windowsill. Our cats chew on the leaves, which I read are supposed to be poisonous to the cats, but I think our cats did not read the same warning, because they don’t care and they are still alive. Then occasionally, if I actually water the plants, we have a butt load of tomatoes all at once. Which of course means half of them rot. After that I am kind of clueless about what to do with the plant, so I stop watering it for good and let the problem solve itself. And yes – then I head to the farmers’ market.

  29. Brooke says:

    Poor bunnies. So glad they got a public apology though. You sound like me with all of the ways you tried to distract the birds. Love the tulle idea! You are awesome like that.
    I thought I had my tomato worms licked, but alas they are back this year despite me breaking down and spraying my plants with non-organic bug killing stuff. I am a very unhappy Gardner right now.

  30. Samii says:

    Oh, yes. Bird is the word. Get some netting…. and a soker hose for easier watering. Weave it back & forth around the plants. Voila. Your watering woes and bird follies are history. 🙂
    I also have a splitter so I have two hoses hooked up – one soker & one for hand watering the flowers & stuff in planters. I would totally buy that t-shirt with a narwhale. haha.

  31. Didn’t see if anyone else mentioned this, but I always leave a “sacrificial” tomato out in the open where whoever is snacking on them can get it. Bonus points if you can see the seeds and it is slightly rotten.

    Sometimes it works, sometimes not – but, basically if you don’t clean up the previously attacked tomatoes sometimes they keep going back to them.

    Or you could buy a velociraptor. I have it on fairly good authority that they don’t eat tomatoes and are scary to birds. Or In-Laws, whichever pesters you more…

    • amber says:

      I’ve been doing that too! That’s where all the ones with bug holes go. I put it right next to the basin of water and they always peck at it.

      • Diana says:

        We had trouble with birds eating our bananas (yes I once lived in a very far away place where you can grow bananas).We’d hang the bunches from our carport and salt the stems so they’d ripen, it was awesome to just go out there and grab one. Anyway we kept taking off the bananas that the birds were eating and then realized if we left them on the bunch the birds would go to those, easier to access the fruit I guess, instead of start new ones. It really worked!

  32. Claire gilder says:

    Could be worse. Could be like the time when I watched a giant rat shimmy up the plant, grab a full-size tomato in his little rat hands and run off with it in his mouth. It was a giant rat, probably from such a healthy diet of organic produce….

  33. Elias says:

    A friend of mine was having his garden destroyed during the night. He got so frustrated he set up a night vision camera. Turns out it was rats.

    The lesson being, sometimes ignorance is better than the heebie-jeebies.

  34. hrhkatrina says:

    Cover the garden in netting. We built a frame over the whole bed with 1×2’s and laid netting over it. no more birds and lots of gorgeous tomatoes.

  35. Jen H says:

    My husband’s grandparents have a big garden. They have grapevines and have never eaten a single grape. The deer get them. They had some raspberry bushes last year and grandpa put up the wire mesh that’s supposed to keep birds out. The smaller birds managed to get under it and perched upside down on the wire mesh for easier berry eating.

  36. Lynn says:

    Can you use a mesh net over your garden, like they have for berries? It would be less work-intensive than wrapping each tomato. Just cover the whole area of tomatoes with one net. When you want a tomato, just lift it and pick away. We use rocks to hold the base of our net on the ground or the birds just go under it.

    • Amy says:

      My thought exactly. Although I was envisioning a giant hair net / shower cap type deal..

  37. Claudine says:

    A Narwhal! Brilliant!

  38. The good thing about mint is it’s notoriously hard to kill. I know people who have tried and failed to rid their gardens of it. Mine always bounces back no matter what eats it or how much I hack off to dry for tea. Mind you I don’t have bunnies to contend with; I garden on a balcony, so it would be super duper impressive if a bunny managed to get up there to begin with.

  39. Tina says:

    omg that is the cutest narwhal ever!!!!!

  40. Jenny says:

    Love the lineup picture! Too cute!

  41. Erin Cash says:

    My stepfather always puts out this fake owl he got at a hardware store. Just sets it up on one of the posts. Amazingly it keeps all small critters away. And then Mom plants marigolds in the garden to help with keeping away the bugs.

  42. Krysta says:

    Those birds!! Same story but change tomato to strawberry! Don’t think we have ever gotten strawberries from our garden patch :(. Hubster has hung a bird feeder nearby in hopes that they will go there instead

  43. fearless knitter says:

    the squirrels used to eat my tomatoes. they would just take one bite and then move on to the next. that’s just rude, i’d rather they just eat the thing. so i’d toss the abused fruit onto the compost heap, where my white dog would find it and eat it and then look like he murdered the squirrel with tomato juice and bits all over his face.

  44. Michelle O'Hagan says:

    I listened as my 85-year-old mother-in-law complained about people entering her back yard from the alley to steal her tomatoes. She finally talked herself into believing that if they are stealing her tomatoes, they must really be hungry and probably need the tomatoes more than she does.

    Then, the following week, she caught the culprit red-handed: It was my 90-year-old father-in-law. Just messing with her. Ah, the joys of a long, happy marriage. 🙂

  45. Sarah says:

    You know, that picture of a line-up was pretty sophisticated. You keep drawing any better, and you’ll have to change your blogs’ name!

  46. Lauren Harper says:

    My tomatoes didn’t ripen this year. Sad news. More sad news is that some horrible bug laid (layed?) its eggs inside the stalk/vine of my squash and when they hatched they blew up my plants. Stalk sawdust all over as they carved their way out. Squash are no more. 🙁

    PS: I bought your book 🙂

    • Alex says:

      You have the evil squash vine borers! We had them last year. You must remove and burn all the plants before the worms burrow into the ground to hibernate. I actually sliced the plants open with a knife and pulled out the suckers one at a time and squashed them. Then I destroyed the plants. If the infestation isn’t too bad you can put the open stem down and bury it and sometimes the plant survives. We didn’t do that. I wanted to be sure the suckers were dead. My mom also went through all the dirt in that flower bed looking for the pupae. She found none… They only live in the early summer so you can plant squash mid-summer. I’ve been meaning to get to that. I think I’ll have to do the farmer’s market method for squash this year. Good luck to you.

  47. Georgia says:

    Birds hate rubber snakes from the dollar store. Put some out between your rows and the birds will leave the tomatoes alone. I suspect they think it cheapens the neighborhood when the snakes hang out in the lanes.

  48. Barri says:

    Oh man, this is one of my favorite posts now! I actually did LOL. 🙂 Loved the line up.

  49. Laura says:

    Just heads up! They are not after the water in them. They are after the tomato seeds!
    Try putting out hanging seed things. Make sure you ask what is good for the type of bird that is eating them. Not all seeds will be attractive to the species that is devouring your precious tomatoes.

    Good luck!

    • amber says:

      We have two bird feeders already that the same dumpy brown birds go to. They’re just being greedy.

  50. Lisa says:

    The birds ate my tomatoes last year, so I gave up on it 🙁 I spend all the money at the produce stand.

  51. Jennifer says:

    Narwhals are pretty awesome – I wouldn’t even be mad if they ate stuff from my garden….we have a net to keep the deer out – never thought of birds……

  52. luísa says:

    try feathers. birds don’t like them. true
    or a rubber snake

  53. Lisa says:

    Disco dance party…Ha! lol

  54. Kinzie says:

    I can’t read all these comments, but tossing the whole sheet of tulle over the top of the tomato plants might help, yes? And I hope you meant you’re wrapping each PLANT in tulle, not each actual tomato.

    Also, human hair is supposed to ward off critters – smells like people. Or maybe pee. Let the boys pee on the garden. HAHA.

  55. Murphy says:

    Many birds are afraid of owls. If you put a large fake owl by your garden, it is supposed to help. Also, anything that looks like large predator eyes, like 2 giant Mylar balloons floating side by side. Those work better than the dangly sparkly strips.

  56. Terry says:

    I have 2 seckle pear trees (10 years old) that I have never gotten one pear from. We get lots of blossoms and then lots of pears but, either because of 1. Birds, 2. Squirrels/chipmunks, or 3. Deer, or 4. The peacock that has adopted our neighborhood as home. Not a single pear has been allowed to pass my lips. We even wrapped the bigger of the 2 in that mesh that is supposed to keep pests away. Didn’t work. Last summer the peacock also ate the yellow, orange and green peppers and some of the patio tomatoes that were all in pots on the back deck.

  57. pia says:

    in a word – Reemay!

  58. Ashley says:

    I feel for you. We have a problem with slugs and snails. The only thing we can grow are peas. We also have a very large cherry tree which is currently covered with screeching, pooping doves. My daughters wonder why they never see the cherries ripen and why all their outdoor toys are covered in bird poo.

    • Diana says:

      For slugs and snails try putting down crushed eggshells…if you haven’t already…they supposedly get all cut up on the things.

  59. Kari says:

    “Then I hung old CDs all over the garden which spin and reflect light and basically turned the garden into a disco dance party. So of course all the birds came.” <— Favorite line.

  60. pia says:

    ps. my 8yo just asked what the narwhal was, we looked at Google images, and she said “Do people put those things on horses to make unicorns?”

  61. Alicia Owen says:

    ha ha! Narwhals! lmao! At least you make an effort with your garden. We planted ours…that’s pretty much it. Didn’t weed, water as much as we should have, anything. We let it go to shit and then wonder why nothing but the godforsaken corn came up.

  62. Diana says:

    ooo….I can SO commiserate with you! But not on the tomato thing. The last place we lived I had a dickens of a time trying to grow lettuce. Just as it started to sprout something was eating it right down to the ground! Shredding it too! I used to think it was cute that the sparrows would take dust baths in our garden till I saw them frolicking around and then going over to my poor helpless little lettuce plants for a snack. I couldn’t believe it was the birds demolishing our favorite crop! I even tried putting milk crates (I was using the square foot gardening method at the time and thought it was the perfect solution) over the plants but somehow the birds STILL got to my lettuce! thankfully where we live now we don’t have the problem!

  63. Cassandra says:

    We gave up after one long summer of fighting the birds off our tomatoes. My husband even made chicken mesh cages to house the tomato plants in. I could no longer get to my tomatoes but the birds would come in droves and jump on the wire till it bent enough that they could push there little heads and beaks in an peck holes in the tomatoes. Then they would go wash off the tomato juice in the bird bath.

    Maybe we’d have more luck this year since a family of squirrels moved into the bird house…

  64. Jo says:

    Can you cover the tomatoes with a mesh netting? Like a mosquito net? It’ll keep out every kind of critter if you do it right 🙂

  65. Erika says:

    We use to have a garden but the dang dogs ate everything as soon as it was ripe…and only when it was ripe. I really expected to see Crappy Dog in the line up!

  66. jackie says:

    Can you leave the mesh netting over the entire garden like a blanket? The sun can still get in but the birds can’t and you only have to wrap it once instead of every little tomato that pops up

  67. Lana says:

    Maybe a motion sensor alarm would work- high pitch frequency that goes off every time anything goes into the vegetable garden. Scare the birds off.. maybe even give them a heart attack.. :-/

  68. Emma says:

    Ahhh.. the NARHWALS! I hadn’t thought to blame them!

  69. Stacey says:

    After seeing birds eating my tomatoes (the few my 8 year old left on the vine after devouring the others) I placed a fine net over the 6 tomato plants. Fast forward thru 4th of July weekend when we were away. I came home to find a bird carcas amidst the plants. Poor thing had gotten his foot caught in the netting. I felt horrible, but was glad PETA wasn’t waiting at the door.

  70. HB says:

    Our backyard is an overnight stop on some unmarked deer underground railroad to the freedom found at the nearby forest perserve. And with the rabbit family and birds, and a garden isn’t worth the effort. We go to the farmer’s market instead. Also, I can’t grow Amish baked goods in the garden.

  71. Heather says:

    Don’t worry about the mint in another year or 2 you can feed a whole colony of bunnies and yourself.

    This winter something ate all of our broccoli plants. Then it started on the cabbage. I happened to look outside and see the furry culprit… OUR DOG!!!!

  72. Leslie says:

    Only you could make a post about bunnies, birds, and tomatoes THIS entertaining, Amber. I bought a “Have a Heart” trap for my bunnies a few years ago. Didn’t work. Those bastards ate all my Black-Eyed Susans down to the nub. Ended up moving the flowers. Now my dog keeps the bunnies away. We call them “free dog toys that die.”

  73. Christa says:

    My neighbor, who is a tomato growing master, bought a box of cheap hairnets and just slips them over tomatoes as they grow. Seems to be working. I’ve also seen him use those blue paper booties that are used in hospitals.

  74. JN says:

    Rather than cumbersome tulle, a girlfriend’s mom used to use pantyhose. She’d cut them up, tie the bottom, strap the tomato in and secure the top to the branch. Stretchy enough to let the tomato grow…but it starts to look “funny” if you put two twin tomatoes in 1 little sack lemme tell ya…

    • Larissa says:

      We do this with our apples, with mixed results. I think it would probably work great for tomatoes, but I hear ya about not putting two in one! LOL!

  75. tara says:

    Uhhh can you please put an adult t shirt with the narwhal in the shop?! Kthx

  76. Cathy says:

    Narwhals are a big problem in my garden!

  77. My mom has the same problem with her chickens. At first she was mad and started picking them early, but then she realized that for all the tomatos the chickens ate, she still had too many tomatos to keep up with.

  78. melissa says:

    I don’t know if anyone else has said it, but let the bunnies eat the mint. There’s no way they can keep up and without the dent they’re making in production you’ll soon have a mint plantation instead of a yard.

    /will never plant that scourge outside of a container again. On a concrete slab. Surrounded by a moat.

  79. Tessa says:

    My biggest tomato stealer is my 2 year old! I kept finding my tomatoes with giant hunks eaten out of them, still on the vine. It took 3 tomatoes until I caught him. He looked up at me, ever so innocently, and said, “apple?” and offered me a bite.

  80. Rebecca says:

    Haha, I never knew that narwhals were so cute! How could you be mad at that adorable face? Feed the narwhals!

  81. Stephanie says:

    Last summer I cleaned out all the tall weeds behind my garden. My reward? Deer came that night, found a weak spot in my fencing, leaned over it and ate every. single. tomato. because I apparently rolled out the welcome mat.

  82. Tanya says:

    I absolutely love your posts-every single one makes me laugh out loud and then giggle again and again when I remember them later on-thank you so much for sharing your talent

  83. Kerry says:

    Love the crappy animal bandit mystery! I also love your narwhal picture. There’s just something about it… I’m assuming you, like me, had never heard of a narwhal until you read some children’s animal alphabet book where “N” was for “narwhal” (because newt just isn’t as cool). (Or maybe everyone knew about narwhals pre-kids except me). Anyway, your narwhal looks so much prettier and more feminine and friendly than the one in our book.

  84. Pat Phillips says:

    Go to Cabellas, take some money, buy a pellet gun. You probably won’t save all the tomatoes, but it’s highly rewarding. You’ll probably have to get a bigger pellet gun for the narwhals

  85. jamie says:

    I lost mine to Chickens. They love tomatoes to eat the seeds out of them. Probably same with birds?
    Dunno. Didn’t plant anything this year because surprise, surprise, we don’t have any water. Like, some days I can’t take a bath, because there’s no water. Sigh. People think I do all sorts of great veggies out here on the ranch… little do they know!

  86. Man versus nature:
    But nature has no carpool,
    and thus, much more time.

    I heard a lady
    paintballs insatiable deer!
    (Ok, fine. it’s me.)

  87. Chakolate says:

    You should let the bunnies have as much mint as they like – that stuff will take over your whole garden and spread out into the lawn.

  88. Annie says:

    Gosh, can I get a Narwhals love Tomatoes shirt? For reals.

  89. Melissa says:

    Holy crap, I have the same problem! I also took to SEWING
    screen around the green tomatoes to protect them. Damn birds. They somehow figured out a way under the bird netting, too!

  90. Leigh Dever says:

    narwhals! ha!

  91. Hands down, my favorite part of that entire post is the eyelashes on the narwhal. Love it. Simply love it…

    Oh, and good luck with the tomatoes!

  92. Katale says:

    My husband & dog pee around the perimeter of the garden before bed every night. Keeps away wildlife and nosy neighbors!

  93. Alice Rudin says:

    Has it been a frustrating week? Love the pictures, I’m sitting in my quiet house at 10:21pm cackling like a banshee at the Narwhal comment.

  94. mb says:

    I just heard that putting red golf balls in the tomato seedlings keeps birds away from the fruit. They peck at the golf balls, then give up by the time the real fruit comes in.

    If you want to try another decorating project next year…

  95. Angela Butherus says:

    As usual, I’m dying laughing….because it’s all so damn true! I can’t get enough of your posts!!!

  96. The Mommy says:

    We use a plastic snake to keep all manner of critters at bay. You just have to remember to move it every day. And also remember that you’ve put a plastic snake in your garden. Otherwise you’ll be pulling weeds and see a snake in your garden….

    • Toms Mom says:

      That’s a good idea, except the boys’ plastic snake wound up in my bed, and then the trash.

  97. M says:

    When does the Narwhal bacon?

  98. Rachel says:

    LOVE THE NARWHAL comment! Coolest post ever just for adding that one thing…and yes I had two perfectly grown red juicy ripe tomatoes and the disappeared last year. I blamed neighbors stealing them, but it was probably the raccoons or something…ugh. What are my lazy dogs doing letting animals in my yard to eat my plants anyways??

  99. Sharon says:

    One year my sister was supposed to take care of my garden while I was on vacation. I was waiting for all the green tomatoes to ripen so I could can them. When I came home I found cans of tomato sauce hanging from the plants in pantyhose. Something ate all my tomatoes and she was afraid I would get mad at her for it. She said I probably bought those new “self canning” tomato varieties!!!! LOL

  100. Maria says:

    LOVED this post! 🙂 great drawings and writing style, surely one of my favorite posts from your blog

  101. Teresa says:

    Wow! You really are doomed to never have tomatoes!

  102. erin says:

    we have deer. they come randomly, jump the fence, and eat everything down to the nub. next year, i’m building a giant cage.

  103. My husband and I have had success with: fox urine and bars of soap! You’d think the pee wouldn’t smell as foul what with the scent of Irish Spring wafting on the air, but you would think wrong.

    Anyway, you can try to build a pee/soap barrier around your garden. Maybe it’ll keep the animals out? For a day?

  104. Sarah Williams says:

    I think the outdoor cats protect ours. If tulle worked on individual tomatoes you might be able to do a net over the whole tomato area. Less labor intensive.

  105. Heather says:

    My husband has several annual freakouts over the birds and squirrels stealing tomatoes. One year he started in on building a giant (seriously, 10+ feet tall, because the tomato plants get about 8 feet tall) cage around all 12 tomato plants, but it quickly became apparent that the PVC pipe frame wasn’t going to be strong enough to support all of the wire needed, which would’ve bankrupted us to buy, anyway. So he stopped, and we had what looked like a baseball backstop in the garden that year. He’s tried sonic alarm things, granulated predator urine, etc. This year he swears the Scare Eye Balloon has worked (no ripe tomatoes yet, so I can’t disagree, except that I keep seeing house finches sitting on the top of the pole to which the balloon is secured). I completely understand why tomatoes at the farmer’s market are so pricey. Now something keeps eating our zucchini, so he covered that section with bird net, and then some dumb robin killed himself trying to break into the net-covered area. I’d laugh at my poor spouse, but I’m too busy hand-picking and drowning Japanese beetles from my roses. We have terrible, heartbreaking hobbies.

  106. 1. That narwhal is my new favorite drawing of yours (besides the one of me, of course).

    2. Try painting some rocks red and scattering them in the garden. The theory being that the birds will mistake them for tomatoes, peck them, be disappointed, and leave your garden alone. I hear it works for strawberries.

  107. I had my husband dig up and level our garden mid-season. After three years of trying, I finally admitted to myself that I don’t like gardening! I love going to the fruit stand (the south’s roadside version of a farmer’s market, but much less trendy…) much more. My mom had the same bird problem with her blueberries for years, she tried all of the stuff you mentioned! Last year, she finally discovered that those shiny helium balloons scare the birds away and she’s had a huge crop the past two summers! And it’s such stylish yard art, too…

  108. Aubrey says:

    I feel for you. I’ve had birds, the horned-tomato worm thing, two summers of record breaking heat and hail destroy my plants. This year I just gave up and planted squash instead.

  109. Kristin says:

    I didn’t read all the previous comments so this might have already been mentioned. But places like Lowe’s and Home Depot actually sell bird netting. You drape it over your tomato plants to keep the birds away. Also a lot of work, but I hear it helps.

  110. Francis R. McHugh III says:

    Not sure how well these work but these could help keep the birds away but may ultimately over water your garden.


  111. Laura says:

    One year my sweetie’s tomatoes were getting an odd thing on the bottom…almost like they were rotting or being chewed. We chalked it up to an odd rot or fungus. A few days later we saw a turtle chowing down on the bottom on the tomato. Turns out turtles like tomatoes. Not quite a narwhal, but close. I wish I still had that picture…

  112. Ali says:

    what about a BBgun i bet crappy boy would love an air rifle!! BTW i am kidding….I am Canadian and have only ever seen hunting guns. 🙂 but birds do get into our garbage when we put it out too early in the morning…pesky little critters.

  113. Lauren says:

    Believe it or not, hanging bags of water in the garden/by the garden will help keep the birds away! This website http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/an-eco-friendly-and-safe-way-to-repel-flies-170971 talks about it! Although most websites only mention it in regards to flies, it does work with birds too. Sometimes I’ve seen people put bits of tin foil in the bag or pennies in order to add to the reflective-ness.

  114. Amy says:

    (Fairly safe for kids, mine LOVE it, but watch it first to make sure it’s ok for your kids)

  115. Emily says:

    Nope, no garden. I use my sprinkler to water me. At 30, I don’t run in it anymore. I take my chair and my beer and sit in it. Who needs a garden when you can water yourself when it’s hot out?

  116. Devan says:

    Amber, the line up is awesome!!

  117. Sara says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments so someone has probably already suggested this but have you tried one of those fake wooden owls?

  118. Susan says:

    Groundhogs and deer eat used to graze freely in our garden. Now with all the fencing, it looks like an outdoor prison for vegetables.

    If you have a dehumidifier, you can use the water from it for your garden, or at least some of your garden.

  119. Pami says:

    When we lived in Indiana, I was grateful for the rabbits eating the mint I had planted in the front yard. Apparently, my HOA didn’t appreciate the non-maintenance of my “weeds” in my flower bed. /sigh However, a milk snake moved into my yard and chased all my bunnies away. 🙁 /bigger sigh

  120. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I have too, been plagued with holey tomatoes. Each and every year, no matter what lengths we would go through to dissuade the critters. I had leftover tulle from making a rainbow colored tutu and wrapped three of our six plants. Much to my happiness, those three are thriving and we’re still enjoying the fruit! They will forever be known as our “wedding tomatoes”, but whatever. It worked!

  121. Meg says:

    UGHH. Don’t even get me started on tomatoes. I am done. Just done.

    Leaf footed beetles out the wazoo, aphids, dry rot, low potassium levels, too much rain, then too hot and dry..I give up.

  122. Sarah says:

    Loved this post! I could totally relate! I don’t know who the culprit at my house is, but we switched to growing exclusively cherry tomatoes so there is enough for everyone 🙂

  123. Elisabeth says:

    We have a large Hmong community garden not far from our home – I say “garden” but it is really a full fledged farm – acres of veggies that are all tended by hand. Little women in Asian hats with umbrellas in the summer sun … it’s a very unique sight in the middle of Minnesota. Anyway, I noticed they tie plastic shopping bags onto plants or dowels here and there all over their plots. I think the noise and movement scares away the birds and rodents. Worth a try!

  124. Caren says:

    The tomato narwal needs to go on a mug or T-shirt. Awesome.

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