Versus the Possum, Round One

Sure I lost an eggplant last year but I don’t even like eggplants and you left the rest of the plants untouched unlike the raccoons that just plow through like tanks and tear everything to shreds so it was like, Okay, no problem, we can live together. I’m sure we can hug this one out, maybe employ a little group therapy and some committed rounds of roll reversal. You can have an eggplant or two if you REALLY need one and sure I don’t care for your, “I’ll just take a bite and see if I like it” attitude but you live here and I live here and we’re all creatures of the earth so I can dig it, man.

But then…. I wake up to this morning’s damage:


Who knew opossums eat tomato plants? Who knew anything short of insects and slugs eat tomato plants?


He was kind enough to simply nibble the bottom leaves off of this one. Thanks!


It’s safe to say that this tomato ain’t coming back.

I call this strategy, “The Eff You Method”, except when I say it I am much less polite.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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13 thoughts on “Versus the Possum, Round One

  1. Ohhhh, bummer. Rabbits will do similar damage, but I don’t suppose they’ve learned to scale the brick wall exterior to your building. Did you have any back-ups left inside?

  2. That sucks. Hopefully the wire will keep them out. Does Toronto have a lot of trouble with Racoons and Possoms stealing vegetables?

  3. There’s a raccoon coming around here and twice last week he pulled up the same tomato plant, and left it sitting nicely beside the hole.

  4. We bought a have a heart trap for the possums after I caught one in our corn. It’s heart breaking to wake up and look out and see a trail of corn husks in the yard.

  5. This sounds like my recent problem but with a rabbit eating my tomatoes. Its method seems to be eat one tomato a day so today I am planning on heading over to Canadian tire to get something. Is chicken wire tricky to use on the plant?

  6. Chicken wire is easy. I do two methods: The first is what you see in the above photo… I just wrap the entire section of containers with a big piece of chicken wire. The second is to fashion chicken wire cloches for individual plants. Both work well but the individual cloches look a lot nicer. That project is in my book but you can see a picture here that will give you some idea of how I do it.

    Katje: Depends on where you are. My roof is accessible from the fire escape so that’s how they are getting to the veggies. There are a lot of raccoons around the city but we seem to have a lot of opposums in this area. We suspect the possom is living underneath our fire escape so that doesn’t help!

  7. That reminds me of the evil squirrels here that ate the blooms of my parrot tulips the day before they were about to open. I wouldn’t mind so much if they looked hungry, but these are the fattest squirrels I have ever seen!

  8. Oh no! We have pests of the human kind, chopping our flowers down to the dirt. At least animals don’t know any better. Good luck!

  9. Thanks Gayla. I am going to have to wait till this weekend to try it but for now, I’m using netting. So far it is doing the trick.

  10. I’m with copperlegend. We’re got a serious squirrel problem too and they are more agile than possums. They dig up just about everything. Then later in the season they do the “one bite out of an eggplant” trick, but not just with eggplants. I’d have swath my entire garden in chicken wire if I really want to keep them away, which wouldn’t look so good. I’ve tried buckets of cayenne pepper, but they seem to like things spicy now.
    Any scarecrow-like techniques for squirrels?

  11. I think you’ve got to adjust your methods for what works for you… it never seems to be any one thing that works across the board. In my area I really only have to worry about early season problems with squirrels… they dig in the fresh soil stirring up young transplants. They also like to eat the peas!

    The trick with the peas was just to move the container away from the chair they were perching on. Problem solved very easily!

    As for the early-season digging I just put protective cloches around the young plants and eventually they are big enough to withstand any digging around the roots. The squirrels are usually done their thing by then anyways.

    You can also do individual chicken wire cloches that go just over individual plants… a bit nicer to look at then the full garden wrap! I will post about that this week.

    I think having a cat helps as a scare techique. Except that my cat just sits and watches with curiosity….

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