Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I'M THINKING SPRING

Last week I started to think about next years garden. I thought summer was finally over. It wasn't__ we are back in the 80s again. I had started to move a few things around thinking it was now time. How foolish of me! I'd love to have a break but then this is Texas and as my husband reminded me when he told me we were moving to Texas, "You are going to a place where you can garden year round" At the time I though that was a pretty big selling feature-I'm not so sure anymore!


The basket has been sitting on my dining room table for a while as I collected packets of seeds and bulbs for planting this fall.
Among the bulbs I have Ipheion, Narcissus 'Rip van Winkle', Several packet of species tulips, 'Lilac wonder' 'Tinka', 'Van Tubergans Variety', Anemones, Narcissus, Erlicheer, pink Rain lilies,  Packets of seeds of Nigella, Alyssum, flax, Indian paintbrush, blue curls. I already planted the bluebonnets.
I have also been collecting seeds from summer annuals.

It's a little too early to put the bulbs in yet, maybe after Thanksgiving, but now that we have had rain I think I can start planting some seeds. Before I do that I need to deal with two problems.

The enemy of seedlings. The decollate snail. If I thought I had stemmed the tide last year I was sorely wrong. They are back in force again this fall.


Snail gathering has been a priority this week with all the rain and I have gathered hundreds.  I avoid using snail poisons so I hand pick and use decoy bait. Perfect timing as the grapefruit harvest is in and we are eating grapefruit for breakfast every morning. Snails may do plenty of good out there but they also love the new seedlings of blackfoot daisies, violas, purple skullcaps, larkspur and bluebonnets not to mention vegetable seedlings. They can mow down a row of arugula overnight. I prefer them to eat the grapefruits and yesterday I discovered they love carrot peelings. It's the first job of the morning to go check the grapefruits and look underneath the blackfoot daisy plants. That's where they really like to hang out. But there are so many places to hide; underneath agaves, down among the rocks, along the edges of the raised beds in the vegetable garden deep in the cedar mulch.

Then there is the enemy of bulbs. A mouse has been collecting seeds and tomatoes and storing them behind the cushion box on the patio. I think he is thinking of setting up his winter quarters inside the box.


Just as long as he doesn't shred the cushions for nesting material.

There will be may more enemies of the garden that will come to light as I clean up the leaves and debris of a growing season. There is much work to tidy up before our Texas winter. All in the name of next year's garden.



10 comments:

  1. Nothing eats those snails? Maybe your walls are keeping some snail predators out? Probably not..
    Garden all year round? I don't know if I could -- I like a break!

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    1. We are only keeping the deer out. All the smaller creatures come in here but they don't eat snails. And yes-I need a break.

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  2. With your vigilance, I'm sure we'll see another glorious spring in your garden next year. Gardening year round can be exhausting, can't it?! I guess I should count myself lucky on one hand to have raccoons as regular visitors - they do a great job taking care of the snails. If only I could train them not to dig up bulbs and seedlings when they're scouring the garden for grubs...

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    1. I didn't know raccoons ate snails. Maybe I should welcome them. In fact I thought they came in here. I have seen a skunk walking through and a ring tailed cat. I just want to keep the armadillos out.

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  3. We have been struggling with mice this year as well. On the upside, Ipheion did beautifully for me this spring, so I planted a bunch more this fall.

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  4. What is snail decoy bait?

    How lucky you are to have homegrown grapefruits!! Do you think grapefruits grow in Houston too? My sister lives there and I wonder if I should encourage her to plant a grapefruit tree...

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    1. I wish we could grow grapefruit here. Ours are from the grocery store. They come from the Rio Grande region of south Texas. Maybe in Houston.

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    2. But the way the snail decoy bait is just something else for them to eat other than my seedlings.

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  5. Bayer Natria works a treat and from what I can tell it contains no poisons. Have used it with success for (3) seasons. Before I discovered it my seedlings would get mowed down at night.

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    1. I hadn't heard of that one but do have Sluggo plus which I use sparingly. I was reading that a good idea is to make a bait station by cutting a hole in a container. Would save having to put it on the ground.

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