Rats eating tomatoes

Reply Tue 30 May, 2006 08:54 am
Hi, everyone.

I'm a member of a large ORGANIC community garden.

Some of the members have not kept up their space and rats have moved in under the weeds.

They are eating tomatoes when they turn red.

Any ideas on how I can protect mine?
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Reply Tue 30 May, 2006 09:09 am
Baited Chrismas ornaments come to mind. I have no idea what bait you'd use in an organic garden, however.
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 06:31 pm
Hi Dupre,

Unfortunately when it comes to rats, there aren't many options. Protection is probably out of the question, but baits and traps are about the only options I can think of in a garden. Here's some sites that might be helpful.

Good luck,
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Reply Wed 31 May, 2006 06:38 pm
Remove all the cover in which the rats live. Vector control guys always say that cover, food , and water are the three necessary things. If your gardens are all composted up and , like many organic gardens, cooking piles of rot stew in the corners , the rats will burrow and live in there. Keep your piles stirred and moved and keep the areas clean, rats dont like being out in the open. Dont let water stand around and maybe get a couple of polish roosters, which will also eat the tomatoes but you can fence them out,
. You can also get rid of the weeds with those garden "flame throwers"
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Reply Thu 1 Jun, 2006 01:22 pm
Hi, thanks for the great ideas!

This is a community garden, said to be largest in US.

I think there are/were some 200 gardeners there, and it's the many that have been abandoned for a period, that have overgrown, allowing for cover for the animals.

I'm not able to spend time clearing out the many abandoned gardens over this 10 acre spread.

Best I can do is put up a tiny fence around my tomatoes.

A lot less effort.

Would a fence work?

Do rats dig? Would I have to "fence in" the dirt underneath the surface as well?

Would barbed wire on my little fence help?

Reply Wed 7 Jun, 2006 02:38 pm
just a thought
i soooo don't know anything about this subject, but the first thing that comes to my mind is for you to mix some cayenne pepper and water in a spray bottle and spritz it on your tomatoes??? maybe it would deter the rats and i think you could easily wash it off when you harvest your tomatoes????
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Reply Wed 7 Jun, 2006 05:06 pm
Great idea!

Thank you.
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Reply Wed 7 Jun, 2006 05:14 pm
Sometimes I'd pick the tomatos green and let them redden on the shelf.
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Reply Thu 8 Jun, 2006 07:20 am

Yep, that's about my strategy for now.

I'm so thrilled.

These are my very first tomatoes I've grown myself!

Sounds like you have some experience ...
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Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2006 08:19 am
Rats are really tough to deter. I had to stop feeding birds in my backyard because a colony, which lived in the ground outside my fence, tunneled under the fence and feasted on the seed the birds kicked out of the feeders. They're like cockroaches -- to get rid of them, stop feeding and watering them!
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Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2006 08:34 am
It takes a combination of three things to attract rats: water, food and people.

Get rid of any one of these elements, and the rats will find another place to go.
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Reply Wed 14 Jun, 2006 08:42 am
Put some McDonalds hamburger meat on the garden. I used to have a pet rat. He'd eat just about anything. But once I put a bit of meat from a macca's burger, and had to take it out and throw it away two days later. He wouldn't go near it!!!
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Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2006 08:34 am
Gosh, I wish I could say it was ONE rat.

I'm in a community garden with about 200 gardeners, many abandoned theirs which provides cover for family's of rats right now.


They keep to themselves when I'm there, but I did clear part of a very close garden, and I could hear them scampering for cover.

This can't be good.

They did get two of my VERY FIRST EVER tomatoes!

I'm thinking the easiest solution is just to pick them while they are green, but I don't know how green to pick them ...

Any clues?


And I'm sending an email off to the community garden, I mean, REALLY, couldn't this involve some sort of city code?
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Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2006 08:38 am
I just checked out the latest newsletter.

Evidently they have some black bait houses for the varmits.

But they were put out without noting the locations and now are underneath the growth.

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Reply Thu 15 Jun, 2006 12:53 pm

Can you put out your own yummy rat bait in the abandoned garden? This might divert the rats.
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Reply Fri 16 Jun, 2006 11:18 am
Hi, thanks for your response.

There are many, many abandoned plots, I'm not really sure why. But putting baits in all of them would be cost prohibitive.

I was wondering about the spray thing, like eggs whites and tabasco. From some reading awhile back, I seem to recall the egg whites help stick the tabacso sause on the vegetable.

But I do get some required service hours if I clean out the plot next to mine, so I can do that this weekend.

Problem is there are just too many near me to clear out all of the abandoned plots near mine.

I'm wondering how they find the tomato. I mean, do they SEE them? If so, I could maybe screen them from view on the side.

Do they smell them? The tabasco dousing will help with that.

The only eat on the ripe ones.

I'm thinking there's so much harvest for the taking that if mine are less appealing, the rats will eat someone else's.
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Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 10:06 pm
Fried Green Tomatoes are wonderful!
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Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 10:10 pm
True, and I like sliced green tomatoes on thin slices of whole milk mozzarella on pizza, but past that, if I were you, Dupre, I'd be pissed, re how the place has been let go..
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Reply Mon 19 Jun, 2006 10:22 pm
Frankly, I am.

But when I went today to harvest some green tomatoes, I noticed that one of the abandoned plots near mine has been cleared. Yea!

I can take on one, too.

We lease our space from the School of the Blind, and they said they are expanding into a small portion of our space, so, the powers that be decided to put a moretorium on new members. That way the relocated members, when and if and where the school decides to expand, can still have a plot.

Some have had their plots for years and years.

So, that's how all this started I guess.

I am hopeful that by allowing service hours to clearning and mulching these plots that we can get this taken care of.

I don't suppose the powers that be had really considered the consequences of their decision.

Alternatively, I am considering putting up a fence and roof around my little space.
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Reply Tue 20 Jun, 2006 12:22 pm

Non-gardeners do not think like gardeners.

Remember Cain and Abel?
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