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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 4:35 pm 
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Last year (and the year before) we rarely lost a tomato to a bird unless we left it on the vine too long and the dark red color was too much of a temptation. This year it's different. We have a famil of bluejays and mockingbirds in the backyard. All the juveniles play in the raised beds; darting in and out and play fighting etc. They are fascinated by all the tomatoes, even the small green ones.

They pecking holes and then leaving them to the ants that follow. AAARRGGGHHH!

What really got me this morning is that I was determined to pick the first Brandywine today even though it was barely blushing. The fruit was so huge that it wouldn't even fit in the palm of my hand, it was about 6" in diameter. This morning it was torn apart from the birds.

We went out and bought some mylar paper and cut it into strips and hung them all around the tomatoes. As we stood back to look at the festively dressed garden, a mockingbird brazenly swooped down, jumped into the bed and pecked at a tomato.

My mantra now is; I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds, I will not kill the birds......

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 7:20 pm 
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A couple of suggestions:
1. Cover the plants with bird netting
2. Pick the tomatoes while green and let them ripen inside
Tony M


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 7:41 am 
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Location: Keller, TX
Have you tried the Christmas tree ornament thing? I have had great luck with tomatoes so far this year, so I've been fortunate enough to have no need to experiment with this.

When I lived in Houston, I didn't have a single tomato survive because of the birds, and I tried almost everything. At the time, I hadn't heard of the ornament technique.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 8:53 am 
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Location: lewisville,tx
a note on the bird netting. be SURE it does not bunch up on the ground. last year I used it for the same reason and I found my lizzard that had lived in my garden for three years entangled and strangled in the netting on the ground. It broke my heart.
unklmike


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:37 am 
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Mike-
Thanks so much for adding your comment. Even tho bird netting is not as obvious as a harsh chemical or a steel trap, it can and does kill. Sorry about your lizzard, I live on 10 acres and don't have one. Sounds like you have a good environment, I bet another will take its place.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2004 10:05 am 
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Tony, already has plus geckos! :P


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 24, 2004 8:45 am 
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The mylar strips and chicken wire around the base of the plants helped. It seemed the birds preferred to hop around under the plants to get the lowestr hanging fruit. We left a couple of gaps though because I've been seeing toads in the garden at night and wanted them to have a way in and out of the plants.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 12:46 am 
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Location: California, zone ... (looks like) 9a
Bird net works great- I get the 100' rolls and use it all over. Staple it to the wall / fence for the passionflowers and gourds, and cover the fruit trees and vegtables with it. To support it over the vegtables here's what I do:
I got some 3/8ths re-bar (the smallest diameter they had) at the hardware store and cut it into 1.5 foot lengths. Then I got a bunch of 20' lengths of 1/2 inch PVC pipe. I pound the rebar into the ground untill 4 - 6 inches is sticking up and slide the ends of the pipe over it making a row of hoops- then toss the bird net over, cut to length and weight the edges with another length of pipe zip-tied to the net. Sometimes for large beds I have to stabilize the tops of the hoops with a rope running down the middle of them (zip tied to each) and anchored at either end.
Works fairly well and keeps the birds out.

To get the rebar out in the fall I loop a Prussic knot around the bar and using a round of wood and a piece of pipe as a lever. (like a teeter-totter) It pulls out easily.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 7:28 am 
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where do you get bird netting and do you have what you describe set up anywhere now? If so, can you take a pic and put it on here?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:28 pm 
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Krstofer-
What a coincidence, I do the same thing here in Texas to protect my winter crops against frost. The exception is I use row cover in place of netting. I also have a couple of floodlights in there for real cold nights. We were eating greens all winter long.
I like the rope trick. I took lengths of the pvc, ran them perpendicular to the hoops and just screwed them together with deck screws. This stabilizes the structure and provides more support for the row cover.
Tony


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2004 7:58 am 
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anyone have images of this set up? I'm having trouble visualizing it.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 8:02 am 
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I think I might have something that actually works. My grandmother gave me this trick and I didn't believe it until I saw it actually working yesterday.

She sends me these ornamental peppers, red and yellow ones (they remind me of tic-tacs). I put them next to the tomato plots in 6"pots and the birds see the bright colors and eat them and leave the tomatoes alone. I haven't noticed any holes or loss on my plot this year so far.

To protect from squirells I have little nylon stocking bags I cover the fruit with, this also masks the color from the birds so they don't notice it and prevents sun scald.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 8:19 am 
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Very clever! Do you make the stocking bags pr purchase them somewhere? The peppers are interesting. I'll try anything at this point.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 2:43 pm 
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I'll try to take a picture of the pepper plant for ID, but I think the concept there is to basically give them something to distract them to eat or nibble at and they lose interest in the stuff you actually want.

The stockings I take the Mrs.'s old stockings and cut about 4-5 in sections and then slide them over the ripening fruit, this makes it difficult for both squirells and birds to get at them and they get "vine ripened".


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2004 5:40 pm 
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The name of the red peppers are "explosive ember" as far as I know the yellow which looks identical except, well... they are yellow are just the yellow variety of this plant.


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