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The strange case of the disappearing tomato plants...

 
gardener
Posts: 392
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Thinking I had planted way too many, I gave away more than 50 tomato plants this year, plus some peppers, and planted about 25 tomatos and 10 peppers.

I planted two weeks ago, and so far at least 10 tomatos that I planted in the back have gone missing, including a few fancy types I bought from local people,  not even a stem left sticking out the ground, and I am going to need to BUY tomato plants. Grrr.... i already bought peppers, and more than half the peppers I put out have disappeared too. And more seem to disappear each day

Not sure what kind of nibbler this is, but I DO NOT like them.
 
Catie George
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Posts: 392
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Gah..... another 3 tomato plants gone overnight from the back mulched bed. I may need to do emergency measures and move the few survivors to the front bed, which has been more or less left alone by whatever devilish beast is preying on them. I dont have room for them, but oh well.
 
pollinator
Posts: 161
Location: Hamburg, Germany
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Slugs?  All my transplants disappeared this year, and I've seen that the slugs are all over.  Slugs also really like mulch.

In my case it could be rabbits, but I've heard they don't bother nightshades and my peppers disappeared like everything else.
 
Catie George
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Just checked. My ground cherries and cucamelons are gone too, plus 1.5 naranjillas. I dont think its slugs? I havent seen any. It may be a combination of nibblers, as I noticed initially things seemed to be dying if my mother had gone around and tucked the mulch up against them, but now things are disappearing regardless of how they are mulched. I suspect squirrels or voles or something.  In some cases, the whole rootball is gone. Almost all of my cabbage transplants are still around. I am very confused.

I am thinking of going to the feed store and buying some chicken wire or something and making a garden fence, I have never had issues with nightshades being eaten before, but if things are this voracious it doesn't bode well for my curcubits, which I always struggle with protecting early in the season.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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If you put up a game cam, you'll probably find that these guys are responsible:





Twice in one day; I'm on a roll.
 
gardener
Posts: 3158
Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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I do suggest voles or whatever kind of burrowing underground nibblers you have where you are.  

One of my reasons for preferring raised beds and containers is the number of times I have found a plant just ... gone.  No sign it was ever there, no stem, no roots, nothing.  It was both vexing and mystifying until the time I found the top four inches of a 20" plant sticking out of the hole in the ground where the stem used to be.  Careful digging revealed a bit of a burrow underneath.  Something was sitting snug in its tunnel, eating the plant from the roots upwards -- but didn't finish the meal in a few cases.

Once I understood that, it went from "vexing and mystifying" to merely vexing.
 
Catie George
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Posts: 392
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Timothy Markus wrote:If you put up a game cam, you'll probably find that these guys are responsible:





Twice in one day; I'm on a roll.



Ok... I will bite, and prove either my lack of culture or my age... who???

Dan - that sounds exactly right for some of them, not even a root ball left half the time, although occasionally there is a tiny stem with careful digging. I wonder if I have a few types of nibblers.
 
Timothy Markus
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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Catie George wrote:
Ok... I will bite, and prove either my lack of culture or my age... who???



It's Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi in Burt Wonderstone.  Not Oscar worthy but the last bit was hilarious.  Also, they're magicians.  
 
pollinator
Posts: 499
Location: BC Interior, Zone 6-7
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If you have any small mounds of fresh dirt around, I submit pocket gophers for your consideration. You have my sympathies.

I had one last year that liked to chew through squash vines. If it had eaten anything, it would have been slightly less offensive. This one liked to pick the vine with the biggest squash, sever it from the plant, and leave it there as a big old fuck you, human.
 
Posts: 42
Location: Medford, Oregon 8a, 21” precipitation. Clay soil.
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Three years in a row, an increasing number of my tomato plants disappeared from my garden. 12...boop, boop, boop...9...and so on. I was so puzzled, because it was only the tomatoes and always when they were getting to be about 9 - 12 inches tall. Arrrgh.

Then I found the first tunnel under a disappeared tomato.

We have tomatoes in raised beds with hardware cloth on the bottom now. It was the only way.
 
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