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Another Smorgasbord in the Garden (The Rest of the Story)

Tags: pests

Use a fake owl to scare off other birds in the garden.
Hooty, our plastic owl, is back on watch in the garden, helping keep the birds from pecking all the tomatoes before we can get to them.

Well, as they say, I thought I had learned my lesson since I wrote about how I had “learned my lesson” by going ahead and picking veggies and fruits that may be vulnerable to being snatched up by pests, birds, wild animals, etc… (blah, blah, blah!).  But, I found out otherwise (the hard way). Before my original smorgasbord blog had even posted, both of my BIG tomatoes that had slightly turned color, that I thought were safe left on the vine, were pecked and half eaten by a bird.

My husband asked why I hadn’t picked them and let them turn in the window. “I know, I know,” I said, as I walked around the garden in disbelief. Like everyone else this happens to, I didn’t think my tomatoes were at risk as I thought I was battling hornworms and flea beetles. And, we are in and out of the garden throughout the day since our raised beds sit inside the gate of our swimming pool, so surely I would’ve noticed the birds…

My husband had watered the pots that sit around the beds early (before work) that morning and I had gone down there twice before 10 a.m., but with the temperatures soaring to 104 degrees, we took the girls to see a movie late in the afternoon (which is our usual family swim time). When we got back to the house about 6:30 p.m. and decided to go for a swim before dinner (no-schedule summer is awesome), that’s when I glimpsed over and the large, half-eaten tomato still clinging to the vine caught my eye…and a I felt a pit in my stomach. Sooooo frustrating!

A plastic owl saved our vegetable garden.
Who knew Hooty would be so valuable?

So, there you go…another lesson learned! I wanted to share this with you for several reasons. First, to show that we are all human and things just happen in nature.

Second, to tell you about how I am handling this duel with the birds eating my tomatoes. I’m bringing in the big guns…bringing back old “Hooty.”

Hooty is a fake plastic owl that has been propped up on a small dining table near the middle of our garden for the past three years. During our renovation of our pool house, the table got moved and so did Hooty. I have to say I really didn’t give it much thought as I didn’t think his presence in the garden made much of a difference…that is, until today.

Sliced tomato and basil make a lovely salad.
Fresh picked tomatoes and sweet basil from our garden make a scrumptious summer salad!

So, since I haven’t had my tomatoes pecked all over in the last three years, I’m going to have to hand that success over to old Hooty and get him back on watch. And if Hooty doesn’t work (but I think he will), I’m going to go forward with getting a big net from my local garden center and spread one over each of my beds that has tomatoes.

I hope you aren’t having any issues with birds pecking on your tomatoes or any of your veggies or fruits, but if you are…you might want to think about a scarecrow or fake friend like Hooty to watch over your crop when you can’t. Happy summer!

I also wanted to add a photo of our side salad we picked from our garden last week.  Featured are fresh tomatoes and sweet basil from our garden (the yellow golden are my favorite) and a side of Buffalo mozzarella drizzled with balsalmic vinegar, olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked pepper. It was scrumptious!

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