Field of Science

Wildlife friendly yard and tomatoes

Our gardens provide food, cover, and water to quite an array of wildlife, unfortunately this year their primary food seems to be tomatoes. Let's see, so far the opponents have fielded a team consisting of young possums, a couple of raccoons, and a woodchuck. Apparently it takes quite a few tomatoes to keep these critters well fed, and all one asks is a BLT on a regular basis, one without teeth marks in the T. Now not to be too unfriendly, but what with small mammal populations running about 10 times higher in urban areas than in rural areas, my aim is to relocate a few individuals to even out the population. As a result of this experimental approach, the kitchen is now for the first time in a long time awash with tomatoes. The cucumbers have been quite wonderful, but the zucchini have been relatively speaking a no-show maybe for the 1st time in my long gardening history. Hard to know why; while growing they are producing mostly staminate flowers, perhaps a stress response to the hot, dry conditions. With the return of some cooler nights the capsicums are beginning to set fruit again although the variety has been fruitful during midsummer in the past. Rain is still needed, and it was probably too little water during my absence in July and early August that set the stage for poor fruiting now.

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