Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tale of the Tomato Thief

We have devoted more than a couple posts to fresh, ripe heirloom tomatoes, especially our prized Caspian Pinks. Each year, we start plants indoors to get a head start. This year, we used a soil testing kit to help us optimize the conditions for the luscious fruit. We got huge plants, lots of flowers, but... not many actual fruits. It seemed the very hot, very wet weather made for sticky, clumpy pollen, which doesn't spread as easily as when it is powdery. But we did start getting fruits off of our two Caspians. Meanwhile, a Brandywine plant produced exactly one fruit, and then essentially croaked. Mrs. C. trimmed back all the dead leaves and stems and left us with a spindly plant with one big beefy tomato. See?

Well, at least we'll get to try one of the famed Brandywines, we thought. The day came when it was red and ripe, and we planned to have it with our dinner that night. Except when we came home, it was gone! What the heck? Neighborhood kids? Next day, two more ready-to-pick 'maters are found to have large chunks missing from them. Scheiss! A search of the garage led me to the culprit:

This little devil likes tomatoes.

Having had only the odd transient 'possum encounters around the house, I futzed around for a couple days trying to figure out what to do, until the more sensible Mrs. C. located Brian the Possum Guy, who actually knows what to do. Thus...

The critter is blurry but the bars are in focus.

Quoth Brian, "I'm going to release him out in the country, and if he wants tomatoes, he can plant his own!"

POSTSCRIPT: The weather has dried out some, and the plants are now heavy with new fruit. We should be enjoying quite a bounteous harvest in the coming weeks....

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