I started about twelve dozen tomato plants from seed in my basement this winter. They included beefsteak, yellow plumb, cherry tomatoes and more. I gave some to my mother and other dear friends and family whose past patience was more than deserving. My plants have done well and others have reported the same. One friend was foolish enough to agree to a friendly bet about who would have the first ripe tomato. I won a few days ago as I swallowed several cherry tomatoes. (or so the lie went)
As satiated as I am, my tomato growing has turned tragic. My dog was the first to trample stems in pursuit of a toilet. I staked them back up and removed her evidence. About a week later the same area looked like someone had pitched a tent on top of my plants. The dog denied responsibility and I cast blame on the community raccoons. This past week I keep finding rather plump green tomatoes on the back stairs and balcony railing. My dog again denied responsibility as I swung my foot in her direction. “I didn’t leave a damn tomato on the railing, let’s be reasonable,” she seemed to say.
I was awash in disappointment and a danger to be around. A gardener with a grudge. As the blood returned to my face I brandished blame on anything I don’t take to the veterinarian; raccoons, skunks and squirrels. There is a six story walnut tree at the rear of the property. I can only assume the squirrels in the area are afraid of heights as even without my glasses I can see seemingly similar green orbs plentifully scattered among the plethora of walnut branches. If I had a ladder I would pick a bushel of walnuts and pummel the beady-eyed brats anytime they ventured on my veranda.
I haven’t seen any sign of squirrels on my property minus the half eaten tomatoes that make my eyes tear. I attended college to learn about fish and wildlife management, but I must have been absent the day they divulged that these creatures eat green tomatoes. I’m convinced tomatoes are not part of their natural diet and I can only hope they all get the shits.
I don’t mind sharing tomatoes as my friends will confirm but these creatures are clearly uncouth. Do they not realize there are people starving in the world? Even I don’t have the gall to leave half eaten tomatoes strewn about my stairs. It is in fact a health hazard. Some child might ingest one of these chewed morsels or worse, I could slip on one. The jig would be up if I couldn’t water their green gems because of the cast on my leg.
The more disturbed I become the more desperate I get. This morning I checked on the plants that held my prized and largest tomatoes. All were missing. I searched the area for evidence and remnants as even I would need two hands to carry them. They may have swallowed them whole but my suspicion is that these vermin are also responsible for the stolen shopping carts from the neighbourhood grocery store. How else does something that walks on four legs cart off a prize winning tomato? Possibly they have an arrangement with the grocery store manager. “Hey Stan, loan me that shopping cart and this idiot will be forced to purchase your overpriced, tasteless tomatoes.” Squirrels and raccoons can’t talk so I am more inclined to think it is theft. This would also explain why so many of these grocery carts end up in the Thames River. After they ravage my garden they pile in the cart and head for the wastewater outlet from the local brewery. Party animals.
Screw them all! I have started to harvest my tomatoes green. They might be as tasteless as those on the grocery shelves but they are free. The next time these nocturnal nuisances come in my yard with a cart they can fill it with walnuts.