Monday, August 8, 2016

WHO IS EATING MY MATERS


I am not a really big tomato fan. Big, fat and juicy tomatoes don't appeal. I don't eat foods cooked in tomato sauce.  I would have been a crummy Italian and am un-American by not liking pizza slathered in tomato sauce.  So why do I grow tomatoes?

Ok, the little ones I kind of like.  Grape tomatoes are a fun snack but the biggest I will go for are plum tomatoes. I prefer them for they are mostly meat with few seeds and rarely a gushy middle. Do you all really like that gushy middle stuff??

I know--I hear you groaning in disbelief and horror.

But every year I do grow plum tomatoes for my salads. I usually just have one plant which gives me all I need plus some for my neighbors.  However, something has happened this year. A mystery has hit my yard.

I was working on a bumper crop this year and it seems that they were all ripening at the same time. The plant was hanging out of the cage,  heavy with beautiful red fruit. That one plant had at least 30 ripe and ready. I made a note to be sure and harvest them the next day. I sure wish I had taken a picture but I had no idea where this was going.

Not my picture but looks a lot like my plant before theft.
I had my basket ready yesterday morning and walked towards my raised beds for the bounty. As I got closer, I was surprised that none of the red that had covered my plant the night before was visible. Hum, I thought as I approached, perhaps the wind blew them off.

But no--there was nothing, nada, zilch. There were no tomatoes on the ground, no half eaten remnants, no foot prints, no scat ( also known as animal poop), just nothing but the unripened fruit still attached.  Just the night before it had been a overburdened plant, now not one ripe tomato in sight. I have grown them for years and this is a first.

Even Google has been little help.  I have a fenced yard which kind of eliminates the neighbor element----Google's prime suspect.

Have you had this happen or have you heard of something like this?

Who ate my maters?

45 comments :

  1. I can't imagine who ate your maters!?!? But oh yes, I do love my maters.

    Best summer recipe is: partially cooked pie crust. Brush bottom with a little spicy brown mustard. Layer cooked sausage, thick layer of sliced tomatoes, basil, and then top with some grated cheese that has been mixed with enough mayo to bind. Into the oven, 350, until top is puffy and lightly browned (about 20 - 30 minutes. I wait all summer to make this, as it is only good with the very best maters.

    Good luck with figuring out which critter is the thief!

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    Replies
    1. Carole,
      Thanks, still working on it. Even to a person not wild about tomatoes, this sounds like a good recipe. Of course most things in a pie shell appeal:)

      Delete
  2. Definitely human theft. Last year our neighbors planted a second garden close to the road and each evening when plants were almost ready for picking they would be gone on picking day. I am glad that I have cameras on my property to catch any such sneaky sneaks. I have a difficult time believing it was an animal of any kind without some mess or half eaten tomatoes around. Too bad that you can't enjoy a fresh tomato sandwich with slices of BIG juicy tomatoes and mayonnaise. My favorite sandwich this time of year.

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    Replies
    1. Annie,
      Hum, will your neighbor's bounty was viable to the passerbies. My garden is pretty well hidden which makes me lean away from the human poacher. Still working on the mystery.

      Delete
  3. I agree, probably human theft. It happens but it sure is mean. Grrr!

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    Replies
    1. Djan,
      I sure hope not. I am so pleased that you don't have that problem in your community garden.

      Delete
  4. Oh My Goodness.... I have no idea who or what ate your maters --but we can ask the same question: Who ate our ROSES???? In our case, it's the deer... Don't know if it is a critter or a human who took yours... I'm so sorry....

    By the way, I love the big, juicy Summer tomatoes --but don't eat them any other time of the year much (unless I can get a nice Roma)....

    I do love the little ones too though. So sorry you lost yours.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    Replies
    1. Betsy,
      Hum. I have had deer clear my fruit trees last year. Maybe I will look father out in the yard for their scat. Thanks for the reminder.

      Delete
  5. OMG, the horrors! A year ago this would not upset me, but this year I have been raising my own and the thought of all that care and watering and worrying and waiting and then having someone else take my babies!!!

    I do not believe in the death penalty, but this would have me reconsider.

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    Replies
    1. joeh,
      I know what you mean. Once you have become a plant caregiver, your perspective changes. Hope your two experiments remain theft free.

      Delete
  6. We like Roma and Pink Girls. Both without the traits you dislike.

    I haven't a clue what leaves no evidence.

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    Replies
    1. Gail,
      I have a phantom thief. Surely they will mess up and leave a clue.

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Fran,
      I can only hope so. If that were so, I'd plant all sorts of tomatoes for them. That would be so cool.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Olga,
      Phew. So glad I can cross you off the list:))

      Delete
  9. What a pain! I don't like tomatoes much either but I'd be truly pissed off if I grew some and then they got eaten, especially if it was by humans! Who the hell steals tomatoes!

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    Replies
    1. Joey,
      I am not sure but I intend to find out if only to ease my curiosity.

      Delete
  10. It must have been a light-footed human. I don't think kids are that fond of tomatoes or I would have suspected that who it was.

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    Replies
    1. Inger,
      I think that would be the last things kids would take unless it was just for the thrill. I have gravel all around the beds so so far, no tracks.

      Delete
  11. Is it hot and dry where you live? In Texas, in the heat of the summer, rats came into neighborhoods seeking water. Our neighbor had a compost pile in her garden. Her tomatoes disappeared. Our bird seed began disappearing during the night. Bob stepped out in the dark and shined a flashlight on a big tree. It was amazing the number of rats coming down the trunk of that tree headed for the bird feeders and our dripping bird baths. All in the dark of night.

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    Replies
    1. Linda,
      Oh my, I hope that image fades before I go to sleep tonight. When I had the rescue with automatic feeders, rats were a problem just like you said. Ugh.

      Delete
  12. I'm so sorry that those lovely salad tomatoes disappeared! I really suspect human theft, too, and shame on them. I'm truly impressed with your ability to grow such lovely tomatoes. I've tried with little success. Of course, being in Arizona doesn't help. Two years ago, they baked on the vine!

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    Replies
    1. Dr. Kathy,
      Hum, never thought of growing sun dried tomatoes on the vine. It must be so hard to grow anything there without constant watering.

      Delete
  13. I have no idea who would take your tomatoes. The fact that there was not a single clue left behind makes me think human theft, but I really don't know. I love tomatoes. We grow many never kinds and love picking the little sun golds and enjoying them right there warm from the sun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. robin,
      That is how I like to eat the cherry tomatoes also. A couple of those with some sugar snap peas are great walking around snacks.

      Delete
  14. Birds? Like you, I'm not a fan of tomatoes, and I've never tried to grow any.

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    Replies
    1. Stephen,
      Good to meet another who is not in love with tomatoes. We are not the majority here.

      Delete
  15. Can't imagine any culprits that would leave no trace at all. Count me among the tomato lovers...one of the things I look forward to every summer. In winter I stick to the little grape tomatoes, but I eat the big juicy ones all summer long.

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    Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      Part of the no trace is how I have the raised beds set up. I have gravel surrounding the beds so no foot prints can be seen. Maybe tonight they will leave a clue.

      Delete
  16. No tomato dishes for me at all. Acid reflux made me swear of....:(

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    Replies
    1. TB,
      Ooh, so sorry it was a medical choice not a personal one.

      Delete
  17. I enjoy the smaller tomatoes as well, though have little luck growing them. As for who might have been the thief, I have no idea though I suspect human rather than animal. Good luck solving the mystery!

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    Replies
    1. Eileen,
      Me too. They are just more meaty than the big ones. Still working on the mystery.

      Delete
  18. Critters gnaw on ours, but animal damage is obvious. I do believe you have a human tomato thief.

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    Replies
    1. Linda R,
      If it had been a smart human you would think they would leave a half eaten one behind. I still want to believe it was a critter and not a human. We will see.

      Delete
  19. From all the comments, it seems like you have a unique situation. I have no experience with tomato growing but I'd have to say sounds human to me if there were no spoils or signs on the ground. I do like tomatoes, big, juicy and sliced. I also love the little bitty ones in my salad or just to pop in my mouth. I'll be thinking about this for a while, I'm sure. You know how a problem gets in your mind and you think you should know the answer so you just keep thinking and thinking.

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    Replies
    1. Barbara,
      Thanks, it is in my head for sure. I want to believe it is not human. I mean, I'd have given them plenty if they asked. Since it was at night, I am still leaning towards critter. I am planning a little late night surveillance.

      Delete
  20. Trail cams work really well for this type of thing. Check around and see if you have a friend with one that you can borrow.
    Raccoons are very good at this type of thief.

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    Replies
    1. Brig,
      Oh how I wish I had one or a friend who had one. However, I think you may be right. I found suspicious scat this morning and it was not human.

      Delete
  21. Between the dog and the chickens, mine are disappearing too. Mine are the big, fat, juicy ones that you don't like BUT the critters sure seem to like them. LOL

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    Replies
    1. Belva,
      Well you can always thing it is a compliment to your gardening abilities. That is what I am trying to think.

      Delete
  22. I would imagine it's not a human. There are some shifty animals out there. I used to love the tomatoes that we grew when I was a youngster but haven't tasted a good one for years.

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  23. I think it's birds that eat our tomatoes. We stopped growing them. Mom and Art love tomatoes. I'm like you. I do love those grape tomatoes though, but they better be sweet.

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  24. Bob and I are eating as many heirlooms as we can while the season lasts. We have to buy ours. We love them sliced with avacado and fresh basil. I know who tour thief was cause I already peeked.

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