Protecting my tomatoes

I have finally managed to grow tomato plants that have fruit on them! Woohoo… Now my question is, how to I make sure those babies get ripe on the vine without getting savaged by birds or other pests? I thought about a net, but that doesn’t stop caterpillars and worms plus that would block the sun which the tomato plants love. I have 4 HUGE basil plants as well so I’m really looking forward to my homemade pasta sauce :slight_smile:

Oh and while I’m at it, I have 4 tomato plants, 3 of which have fruit…the 4th has plenty of flowers but doesn’t seem to be bearing at all. Any idea why that is?

You could wear an iron bodice.


Okay, now I’ll go back and read the OP.

Could you put something in a ring around the base of your plants that they couldn’t climb?

As to the birds, if this is a serious problem you could stretch a netting above the plants. Get a net material w/ large weave, 1-2 inches, so it won’t block the sunlight. I’ve never had a big problem w/ birds eating tomatoes, other plants yes, but not tomatoes. You should probably do a Google search for the care of tomato plants in you geographical area. You should be able to find a site that will answer all your questions and probably some you haven’t thought of. The plant that has lots of flowers and no fruit probably needs pruning, too many blossoms can prevent the plant from forming fruit, or develop smaller fruit.

The little critters (worms, slugs, etc.) will mostly need to come in on the ground, so defenses at ground level will work. A ring of any sort of salt will keep the slugs at bay… Most types of salt will be bad for the plants, but Epsom salts will actually be healthy for it (I think it helps the plants to take up water). For catepillars and other insect larvae, you can get diatomaceous earth, which is composed of tiny irritating particles (actually the remains of various sorts of microörganisms) which get in between the bits of their exoskeletons. Again, sprinkle it on the ground around the base of the plants. Both of these methods are safe, non-toxic, and organic.

And may I just add that I’m increadibly jealous… All of my tomatoes have been frost-killed since some time in September.

We grew lots of tomatoes, and we always put cans around them to keep worms away.

Large-size metal cans, like those from 3-pound coffee cans. Use a can opener to cut off both the top & bottom lids. Put them around the plants when you plant them, pushing the can down so that it is an inch or two into the dirt.

This will help protect them from crawling & digging worms, like cutworms & caterpillers. But it won’t do anything about flying bugs or birds.