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  • Andrew Nielsen

When Animals Attack!

I do consider myself to be a nature lover and an animal lover. Generally speaking, I love to see animals in the wild and I am especially thrilled when I am on vacation and I see a species that I have never seen before (elk, bald eagles, bears, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, etc.).


But there is also nothing more infuriating to me than nurturing a tomato plant for months and then going outside for my morning garden check to see that a plant that had 25 tomatoes in various stages of maturity has been stripped clean in one night. That was my experience this morning, July 30, 2020 (and the saddest part of all is that it’s my birthday). Seriously though, it is so disheartening to see something that you have nurtured for months become decimated like that. In this case, in reviewing the way that the plant was stripped, I am guessing that the culprit was a raccoon because tomatoes from every part of the plant were removed and it just seems that it was done by a creature with some dexterity.





I have imagined something like the Nuremberg trials for the animals that have committed these atrocities against my vegetable plants. Deer, raccoons, opossums and chipmunks sitting in shackles in the court dock as the trial proceeds, awaiting their eventual and inevitable execution. Obviously that’s an overreaction but that is the level of anger and horror that I feel when I see three months of work destroyed in one night.


This is not the first time that I have experienced this so I was a little better prepared this year. My piece of land is in an unfortunate location, it is surrounded on two sides by dense woods with thick underbrush. It is a perfect habitat for all kinds of animals to feel safe during the day due to the heavy cover and to sneak out at night. Last year, early in the season, deer ate a lot of the very young plants that I had started almost down to the ground. Then late in last year’s summer growing season, animals actually devoured pretty much my entire crop of tomatoes.


This year, at the beginning of the season, I surrounded many of my plants with poultry netting. The crops on those plants, for the most part, have survived this recent attack with just a few losses. My plants have experienced a lot more pressure from animals in the last few days, which I am guessing are a combination of deer and raccoons, so I have been adding additional poultry netting and bird netting to surround my plants. I will report back on how effective this strategy proves to be within the next few weeks. I have heavy loads of tomatoes on Celebrity and Goliath plants and I hope that they end up in my salads and sandwiches and not in the bellies of the local vermin.


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