Tomato Thievery

On Saturday afternoon, I was taking pictures of our garden produce, and planning to write an eloquent essay on the bounty that our family gardener had produced.  And so, let me begin with that essay.  To say that we have been luxuriating in an abundance of lettuce is an understatement.  Growing lettuce is so amazingly easy, and incredibly rewarding, that is amazes me that everyone doesn’t have a bed of lettuce outside of their back door.

But never being a family known to stop at one type of plant, we have, of ucourse, a good sampling of other produce.

Our Marketmore cucumber, grown from seed, has just produced its first three eatin’ sized cucumbers.

Our basil is as tall as a small child, and there will need to be pesto makin’ on the Family Foodies’ “to do” list this week.

And, we harvested our first baby potatoes – only three so far, but sweet and delicious!

But the pride of the garden has always been our tomatoes.  And, yesterday, at about 3 pm, I took pictures of tomatoes ripening, in anticipation of being able to pick them today or tomorrow.

At 7:30 pm, the Man of the House walked in with the ripening Paul Robeson, the one in the picture right above this paragraph, and showed me the devastation. I was so distraught, that I couldn’t bring myself to photograph it. It had been pierced, with a beak we believe, and most of its juicy insides were consumed. We did, however, cut out the bird-eaten part, and tasted the unstolen side. It was delicious, even though not fully ripe.  It made us long for the ability to eat a fully ripe Paul Robeson. It was a most bittersweet evening.

Apparently the long hot June means that the critters who live in our neighborhood really really want our tomatoes.  Some summers, we have limited thievery, but this summer our first two sun golds were snatched, and we have had to start picking BEFORE the tomatoes are all the way ripe, because somehow the critters know when the tomatoes are just about ripe….

Well, the plants have been quite productive, so we are hoping and praying for (1) rain, and (2) less thievery.  We have not had success with cayenne pepper, and haven’t quite decided to try fox urine, and aren’t entirely sure that we could actually make netting work given the location of our garden.  So we continue to hope and pray and pick earlier than we want to. But, maybe, with time and rain, we can let the tomatoes ripen all the way on the vine.

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