Experts and BHG readers answer.
Rats in inner city veg. garden
Various rodents could be getting to your ripening tomatoes. Squirrels, chipmunks, rats, voles, or mice could be causing this type of damage. Depending on the scale of your planting, you have several options. You could encircle the plants with hardware cloth (1/4 inch mesh) and place a lid of hardware cloth over the cylinder to completely exclude the pests from getting at to the plant. Or you could try to bag individual fruits as they are close to ripening.You've got a couple of options. None of them are chemical because any poison that could kill rats would be hazardous to have around your vegetable garden. I've seen gardeners use those large rat snap traps. It always seemed a little creepy to me because of the other critters, including the gardener, who might get snapped. You can try using human hair. The scent might lead the rats to believe there are people around. Another idea is predator urine, available in some garden centers. Rats would hopefully be afraid of predators like fox or coyote. The urine scent can last a long time in your garden if you put it into a plastic bottle with a cotton rope wick.