We have lift off!

It is with great irony that I submit the following photo to June’s Picture This Photo Contest over at Gardening Gone Wild.  Though this guy is our sworn enemy, I submitted this shot, from The Peas Treaty post because I like a photo that “speaks” to me, and this one says “Who? Me?”

Doesn’t it look like this snail is pole dancing?  Or is that just me?  I’m not really expecting great things with this months competition – the theme is “Best Frame You Have Ever Created” and some of the other entries are amazing.  Besides, most gardeners will see this and shudder, so no, I don’t think this is a winning shot, but as usual, I’m aiming to make people smile – the winning isn’t that important to me.  Well…I try to tell myself that!

So, back at the ranch…

We found the snail mother-ship and have deployed the “squishing stick” to destroy the enemy .  They were all huddled along the outside of my compost bin – I had put them inside it, in line with the terms of the Peas Treaty.  Now, that they have broken the treaty, it is all out war (they were put in the compost bin to eat the stuff there in return for their lives being spared!) – no snail or slug shall be spared (not even the photogenic ones!)

Is it any wonder I lost so much vegetation to these guys – look how many there are! Even with all these dead, I still lost a seedling last night…

Then we had a swarm of bees in the garden.  This, I don’t mind.  In fact, I even invited Karla and Al over to watch it.

This is the long distance shot before I plucked up the courage to get closer – bees don’t want to sting me – or so I’ve been told.

Al pointed out that there were no bees in his yard. “I use Miracle Gro!” he said, “This is what happens when you go all organic!”  We had a good laugh about that – he is funny!

Nonetheless, staying true to organic gardening has paid off.  The mulching has done the job, and my veggies are taking off. I now have giant onions.  The bees love visiting these flowers and I’ve begun collecting seeds from them – I’m not sure if they’ll germinate.  I can but try…

I replanted some zucchini and butternut squash seeds when the slugs and snails ate the plants I cried about in the last post.  They have germinated in double quick time.  As an experiment, I planted one seed inside an empty toilet roll for protection from our slimy enemies – let’s see does that work!

The most recently planted potatoes are looking great.  I planted them over the top of an old tree stump to stop it from sending out suckers.

I put newspaper around these seedlings to stop privet and heavenly bamboo from regrowing, and they are doing really nicely – I think they are either melons or squashes or one of each- my labels got lost!

But my biggest achievement to date are my parsnips!  My mum told me they are very hard to grow and I probably wouldn’t even get them to germinate.  It is a rare occasion when I prove my mother wrong. 

Now my problem is figuring out when to harvest them.  Does winter still mean winter in California?  Won’t they be massive by then – the foliage is nearly a foot tall.  Maybe the root doesn’t start to develop till fall (autumn).  Can anyone advise me on the peculiarities of parsnips in California?

No problem knowing when to harvest these cherry tomatoes though.  And boy, do they taste good!

And just look at what my corn did!  It reminds me of a sea anemone…

And finally, I’ll leave you with one last organic success story from my garden – the Crepe Myrtle came down with a heavy infestation of powdery mildew.  Al offered me some stuff to spray it, but I declined and after some online research, came across a recipe for a spray to treat the problem as follows:

To control powdery mildew on plants, mix together:

  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of liquid soap
  • 1 gallon of water

Lots of the recipes say one tablespoon of baking soda, the recipe I used called for three.  It says not to store the unused mixture though I did, and I used it on a similar looking fungal infestation on my pea plants – I think it has worked, but it may need another application…

In the meantime, the Crepe Myrtle was so happy it blossomed! 

Byddi Lee

16 replies to We have lift off!

  1. Looks like you have a green thumb. Our slugs do not get that big. On our sand I do not find to many. I have read that bees wanting to move to another hive do so in big clouds like that.

  2. I should start cooking escargot! The neighbours on that side of the house say the bees do that about every 3 years and they are usually no problem – they don't bother the bees and the bees don't bother them – sage advice.

  3. That is a great photo. You've perfectly captured your garden nemesis. We don't have snails around here, and slugs just aren't as photogenic. Does your corn need to be de-tassled? I remember in high school, lots of my friends earned money de-tassling the corn in the farm fields. I never did it, so I don't know when or why it should be done.

  4. That sounds like a very technical procedure – something I know nothing about – de-tasseling corn! Where I grew up it was all about the potato crop – they have to be de-mucked, de-eyed and in some cases de-skinned – if any of them had tassels then we knew we where in trouble! I'll keep an eye on those tassels – thanks for the heads up!

  5. That's a great snail photo, looks like he's posing for it, holding that stem. I look forward to your finding out if the toilet roll trick works!

  6. When I lived in CA I used to throw the snails at the fence. Hard. It killed them. I also would mash them and then, figuring that they had been eating all that nice green stuff, dig them into the dirt around the plants as "already fixed nitrogen". Seemed to work fine.

    Organic gardening is where it's at, as far as I am concerned. In a swarming situation, when the bees are looking for a new place to live, they are all full of honey and very mellow. You should feel blessed that you have honeybees as they are a very stressed species. All our pollinators are in danger from the chemicals in the environment, as you are probably well aware, and so to have a whole swarm of bees is fantastic. We had a swarm move into an abandoned woodpecker nest box and I hope that they make it through the winter.

    Oh, and I really like your contest photo too, even though it is of "the enemy." Good luck and god bless.

  7. Very nice photo indeed. I love the way the curling of the plant mimics the snail shell.

  8. @ John – its no match for your wonderful sunflower shot but they both make me smile!

    @ healingmagichands – I've had to work at not being scared of bees but have found it easier after reading "The secret life of bees." I love having them in the garden – it makes it buzz quite literally!

    @ Gardenlily – I will be sure to let everyone know if the toilet roll trick works!

  9. Hi Byddie Lee

    I would love to be able to entertain a swarm of bees – my friend did once and she said it was a sight she would never forget. Thankfully I missed the swarm of wasps in my garden this week – my next door neighbour found them in her garden and her hubby through petrol over the nest – brave man I can tell you and seemingly those wasps went crazy. I still would run a mile from a wasp lol

    I thought snails would dry out in your heat – there's plenty here in my garden and big ones too – thankfully they have not found my salad leaf crop yet!

    I love your photo…….. I have not entered this months competition.

  10. Rosie – I'm with you on the wasp thing. Once, my sister watched from a distance as myself and a friend flailed around trying to get away from a wasp – she said it was the funniest thing ever – as if aliens had inhabited our bodies and were making us do some kind of disjointed break dancing – of course she couldn't see the wasp!

    I wish the heat would dry out the slugs and snails but we have to water the very areas where they want to come chow down. I think that plays right into their hands -well, slimy feet – they don't have hands of course!

  11. I love your submission for the GGW contest. I don't usually enjoy seeing snails in the garden, but it's a great shot!

  12. Thanks – I hope the judges think so too – at least I hope they see the funny side!

  13. Laughing at the sworn enemy and the squashing stick~Wish I was able to take a small paddle to the backside of a few chipmunks to get them in line. This is strong stuff for me as I have never embraced corporal punishment;-) Love the photo! Isn't it a darn shame such a pretty creatures can be so destructive. gail

  14. Believe me when I say it takes a lot out of me when I have to deploy the squishing stick – I'll probably need therapy as a result of it – but what better place for therapy than the garden!

  15. HI! your snail photo was my favorite of the contest. I appreciate beautiful shots, but I'm always hankering for the story. Your pic show how design elements get repeated through nature, and the composition just hooks me and I keep looking around the photo because it's just so interesting too. I also appreciate the chance luck of getting the photo as well–being at the right place at the right time, it speaks to an observant person. Like I said, I do appreciate the technically perfect pretty photo–but yours has soul, it portrays a relationship. So thanks for sharing it!!!

    Celeste Pinheiro

  16. Celeste – I'm glad you liked it and appreciated it. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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