Brandywine heirloom tomatoes 2015

Newly planted Brandywines before they were attacked by iguanas and burned by Iguana Rid. When I have the heart, I’ll post the “after” photos.

So Tomato People, I know it’s been a few years and I’ve been wildly inconsistent with posting and even growing. This year, however, things will be different. In fact, I’m into the season already, with Brandywine, Yellow Gold 100, and Black Cherokee tomatoes in the backyard.

I will get into the details of this season a bit later, but today I wanted to talk about iguanas. This issue is becoming a serious problem for me. We moved a few years ago, to a brackish canal in east Fort Lauderdale. Love the house. Love living on the water. We had manatees come to our seawall last Christmas Eve and they drank water from a hose for an hour. Beautiful, right?

Yes, except for these iguanas. Our yard and the whole canal system is literally infested with them. It’s not uncommon to walk outside and see a dozen huge, prehistoric lizards clipping grass and plants in the yard. And unfortunately, iguanas also love tomatoes.

I grew my seedlings indoors, under lights, as usual, then hardened them off in a screened-enclosure (I also grow orchids, aroids and ferns). Then I moved them outside in their big containers.

They didn’t even last a whole day before the iguanas found them and started munching. Half of the plants were defoliated almost within hours. I was so, so mad.

So I bought some Iguana Rid because, hey, it even says in the title it will get rid of iguanas. I sprayed this stuff on my tomatoes last night and awoke this morning to discover the seedlings were terribly burned and might not make it. Note to self: NEVER USE IGUANA RID AGAIN.

This morning, then, was the moment of last resort … I put up a quick wire fence around the tomatoes. Now the yard looks like a maximum security prison for plants, and last I checked the fence was literally surrounded by iguanas on their back legs, trying to crawl up and over.

All in all, a disappointing start to the season and just really frustrating. I know better than to think I can win the war on iguanas … I’ll never get them all out of my yard. There are dozens, if not hundreds, on just our canal alone. And while I do appreciate a good challenge, this feels a little ridiculous.

Anyway, look back for posting again, and I’ll get some pictures up. My growing operation isn’t as large as in years past, but I do plan to document the season, try some new things, and see what works for tomatoes in South Florida.