The first method involves the use of netting. In the past I used bird netting, but stopped using it when I found small lizards and birds could become entangled in it. Now I use a small hole netting called tulle from material stores. It is very economical and comes in a variety of colors and no small creatures will be harmed by its use. Tomatoes are also self-pollinating, so don’t worry about the need for bees to get throug the small holes in the tulle for pollination. The wind will be able to pass through the tulle netting and insure that the plants self-pollinate.
Gently drape the center of the tulle netting over the top of the tomato plants and tuck in the ends around the base of the plants.
The second method involves the use of cd’s connected with yarn to rings that slide back and forth along a wire. They are not 100% effective by themselves, but serve to scare the birds a little. The cd’s blow in the wind and as they turn they reflect blinding flashes of light from the sun. To connect the cd’s to the wire, I used jewelry slip rings (available at hobby stores). You can use any rings you have, including shower rings. This allows the cd’s to be moved wherever and whenever you need. I hung some cd’s on shorter strands of yarn so that they dangle over the top of the plant and other cd’s are on longer strands of yarn so that they hang near the center of the plant. These places are the most strategic places where ripening tomatoes will be located. *If the wind is really high, you might want to put clips or just a piece of tape on either side of a ring to keep the cd’s from being moved and bunched together along the wire.
The third method is the most effective. This method involves just picking the tomatoes while they are**light orange**in color and then ripen them on your windowsill inside the house. This method allows you to pick the tomatoes before they turn red (ripen). Once the tomatoes become red and ripe is when the birds become interested in eating them.