Groundhogs (aka woodchucks) enjoy eating all kinds of snacks, and fruits and vegetables are no exception.
Do Groundhogs Eat Tomatoes & Tomato Plants?
Yes, groundhogs definitely eat tomatoes! While they do eat tomatoes, they generally won’t eat the tomato plant itself.
How many tomatoes can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck tomatoes? Err, something like that.
They’re not very picky eaters either; groundhogs will happily snack on other vegetables and even fruits like strawberries and melons.
How to Keep Groundhogs Out of the Garden
There are quite a few things you can try to keep groundhogs away from your garden. Here are some of the ones I’ve found to be most effective.
A fence is one of the more foolproof ways to keep a groundhog out of the garden. Groundhogs can’t really jump very high, so a fence is a great option. However, you need to make sure the fence goes at least 12 inches into the ground, as groundhogs are burrowing animals that can dig below the fence line.
Electric rabbit fences can work as well.
2. Motion-Activated Sprinkler
Groundhogs can be scared easily, so hearing loud noises and seeing a lot of movement can scare them away. A motion-activated sprinkler can do the trick.
All you do is attach it to your typical garden hose and aim it towards the garden. This sprinkler will do the rest and scare off small animals and even deer. I got one of these this season and it’s worked wonders in terms of me actually getting to eat my tomatoes before animals do.
Here is a video of it in action in my garden:
A motion activated sprinkler works wonders for keeping animals (and people!) out of your yard. It sprays intermittently as it detects continuous motion so animals won't get used to the timing of it.
Make sure you setup a trail cam to watch all the animals run as fast as they can away from your garden 🙂
3. Companion Planting
You can also use an age-old method of companion planting, which is essentially planting hydrangeas near other crops and vegetables that act as groundhog deterrents.
Some groundhog-resistant plants include:
- Alliums and onions
- Herbs like sage, rosemary, and dill
Fend Off Sticks have a strong garlic odor which is great as groundhog repellents. Groundhogs are not fans of strong smells, and that’s exactly what garlic offers.
4. Nylon Stockings with Soap
Got some extra Irish Spring soap laying around? Add it inside of a nylon stocking and hang it from a post in your garden. This scent is quite good at keeping groundhogs out of the area.
Make sure it’s hung pretty low to get in the way of the groundhog on its way to eat your tomato plants.
5. Hot Pepper Spray
Cayenne pepper or hot pepper spray is a great option for younger garden plants. Spray tender plants every few days and this can help keep squirrels and other animals that eat tomatoes away.
A garlic and pepper spray combines the best of both worlds and will help repel groundhogs from your ripe tomatoes.
6. Scarecrow or Fake Owl
Placing a fake predator nearby can help keep the deer at least mindful of where they are. While this alone isn’t going to stop them from eating hydrangeas, it will help along with red cat eyes or strong odors.
Fake owls are great for keeping many animals out of the garden, including squirrels, deer, birds, and more.
7. Pick Your Tomatoes Early
Groundhogs and other wild animals are usually drawn to more ripe tomatoes. By harvesting them early, you can avoid some of the damage to your garden. Animals usually won’t eat green tomatoes, and if you time it right, the tomato can ripen the rest of the way on the counter, safely inside.
There is something known as the breaker stage, where the tomato is just starting to turn pink (or yellow for yellow tomatoes), and that’s the moment when you want to pick your tomatoes.
If you wait too long and pick the super red ones, you’re risking a deer eating them or a groundhog munching on it before you get to it.
What do Groundhogs Eat?
Groundhogs eat insects like grubs and snails, but they also enjoy a lot of vegetables commonly found in backyard gardens.
Things like lettuce and other tender vegetables, peas, broccoli, as well as alfalfa and dandelions are some of their favorites. However, as the video below shows, groundhogs enjoy the sweet juices of tomatoes from the vegetable garden as well.
They will also devour anything in the brassica or cabbage family, including brussels sprouts.