Q: How can we keep squirrels from taking a bite out of green tomatoes? They take one bite and drop them on the ground, ruining a perfectly good tomato! We have tried various things but nothing works!
A: I’ve heard of folks doing everything from leaving plastic bowls of water for their squirrels to draping sweaty shirts over the tomato cage.
The best I can suggest is using a cage trap, baited with peanut butter and sunflower seed. Eventually you’ll catch the miscreant squirrel(s) and your tomatoes can ripen in peace.
Squirrels are easy to trap.
Buy a cage trap and some sunflower seed.
Put the trap on a piece of newspaper in a spot where you commonly see squirrels. Place a small handful of sunflower seed BEHIND the trigger plate, so the animal has to step on the plate to get to the bait.
I catch most squirrels in the morning, as they do their daily foraging. Put a towel over the cage after you catch the animal to keep it calm.
In my experience, taking the squirrels two miles away is sufficient to keep them from returning.
Remember that by law you must have permission from the landowner to release an animal.
Also, some percentage of the squirrels will not survive in their new environment.
Another option is to pick the tomatoes when they begin ripening, but before the squirrels get to them.
If you put pink tomatoes in a spot no warmer than 85 degrees, they will continue to ripen.
I’ll let you weigh your options and proceed accordingly.