The first tomatoes of the season
I bought DH an 'Early Girl' tomato plant for his b'day. Babied that thing: repotting it so it could spread its roots properly, carried it up and down steps to the patio every sunny day until Spring sprang, planted it into the garden the moment the soil was warm enough, put sweaters over it to keep it warm during the following cold spell. It flowered and set fruit and grew tomatoes. I watered it deeply and regularly during last month's dry hot days. Lovely, big tomatoes began to crowd the vine - bigger than a softball. The first of the fruit slowly began to ripen from pink, to rose, to red. Checking it last night, I decided to let the reddest fruit wait one more day: the difference between okay ripe and luscious ripe.
Okay, let's back up a bit: Somewhere I read about hanging red balls from the tomato plants as decoys; theory being that birds will peck and realize those ain't edible and then ignore the real things later. So I hung a red ball beside EG's first cluster of fruit. I don't know about the birds, but a couple squirrels got a real disgusted look when they tried to bite the plastic. Heh, heh, heh. DH just about literally ROFL watching the squirrels. That was last week, just as the first EG tomatoes turned pink. Yesterday, I added red balls to all the tomato plants, placing the balls high enough to be visible to any passing bird which might be a tomato-lover. Moved EG's ball from a foot above ground-level to waist-height, to be sure it could be seen from above.
This morning, I go out to pick the first tomato of the season, chortling in advance at how much DH will like it.
No red, ripe, luscious tomato. No pink tomatoes, either.
Saw a squirrel go over the fence, carrying something suspiciously red.
I think there's a moral: if your squirrels eat tomatoes -- leave the red balls at *their* height.