It has been a great summer for tomatoes. Early hot, humid and sunny weather has made for a great growing season, as long as you could water your plants. Some of mine are almost six feet high. I love tomatoes enough to rethink my concerns about global climate change.
I've also been able to avoid the deadly wilt disease that has plagued my crops for almost a decade.
So, things were looking good. Then, just as I was about to harvest my first tomatoes after weeks of anticipation, they struck. Chipmunks.
The little bastards chew a hole in the bottom of the fruit just as it gets ripe enough to pick. It'd be bad enough if they carted off the whole tomato, but no. They nibble just enough to destroy it and then move on to the next one.
So, I consulted the internets. Turns out this is a major problem all across America. People have given the chipmunk problem a great deal of study, thought and consideration.
Philosophies on how to deal with them break down into three basic camps.
Bleeding heart earth mothers. Oh, the chipmunks are part of the beautiful tapestry that is nature. They're part of the natural cycles of life and they're just playing their assigned roll in the ecosystem. Let them be what they are and explore their total chipmunkhood. If you can, provide them with a little salt to put on their tomatoes.
Liberals. Capture the chipmunks in live traps, speak to them gently while explaining the situation to them, and then drive them at least a mile away and deposit them in a nice park. Don't worry about the tomatoes of people who live near the park. You have done your duty to solve your chipmunk problem in the most humane way possible. Of course, there's a fair chance that other humane people will capture these very same chipmunks and deposit them in a park near you. Also, you're contributing a lot of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere while driving these little guys back and forth.
NRA members. The chipmunks are destroying a product you worked hard to produce. They are criminals. If they could defend themselves with little Glocks that'd be fine, but they can't, so they should be killed. There are many means to this end. You can shoot them with pellet guns (the preferred method), use spring loaded rat traps, or drown them in buckets of water (if you want the instructions, visit the proper website; I'll say no more here).
I have to admit that while my politics generally tend to the liberal option, on this one issue of chipmunks, I can see the NRA point of view. Part of me wants these suckers to die.
However, I did not take this route. Instead I sought a fourth way. I fortified my defenses. I reinforced the chicken wire I already had up with bird netting so that they couldn't squeeze through. I dug six-inch deep trenches around my tomato garden and planted wire mesh fencing down there in the hopes that the little guys couldn't go under. And?
It didn't work. They just dug a little deeper and happily popped up in my garden the very next day.
So, my next plan is to take the bird netting and carpet the floor of my garden with it so that when they pop up they'll pop up into the netting and not be able to reach my tomatoes.
And if that doesn't work? Ya know, maybe I've been too hard on the NRA.