- Author: Karen Metz
Initially the strawberries started off planted around my grape vine planted in a a half wine barrel. But as strawberries do, they formed runners and clambered out of the barrel. Over the years they had formed a little area at the foot of the barrel, just off the corner of the patio. Unfortunately at the same time, the vinca minor had spread from its intended area. At first I thought everything would be okay, the strawberry plants were sort of growing on top of the vinca and it looked kind of cute. Over the years, I found myself getting fewer and fewer strawberries. By the time they would ripen they would have been reduced to pathetic shells by slugs and snails. I don't like to use snail pellets so I was continually on the lookout for snails and slugs each morning when I watered my plants.
I finally realized that the vinca was creating the perfect environment for the slug/snail contingent. During the day they would rest in the cool, dark, moist area provided under the vinca strands. At night they would crawl up and feast on the strawberries. So early this spring, I decided that the vinca under the strawberries had to go. If you've never pulled up vinca, it's a little like pulling bindweed. I also had to be careful that I didn't pull up the strawberry plants at the same time. It took quite a bit of time and effort, but finally it was done.
I have really been impressed with the change. I am actually getting strawberries again and losing far fewer to slug predation. Now I just have to keep my eye on the birds.
- Author: Kathy Thomas-Rico
Our wacky spring weather has taught me a lesson, again: I am so NOT in control of anything in nature.
In my last blog, I pledged to get my tomato seedlings planted before the self-imposed deadline of April 15. Didn’t happen. I had to wait out the frost warnings and hailstorms that rolled through. Then when rain soaked the soil (which was really very welcome), I had to wait a few more days for it to dry out. But wait I did, and the tomato seedlings are now happily in the soil, soaking up warmth and sunshine, nearly doubling in size after just a week.
So patience paid off. I’ll try to remember that next year when tomato-planting season comes around.
This made me think of other areas of the yard where patience comes into play. We have three well-established rose bushes, which were planted by the previous owner of our 36-year-old home. Because I am not a rose fancier (the blossoms are lovely, but the plants are a thorny, unattractive pain, in my opinion), I have steadfastly refused to fuss over these roses. I do not prune them in winter. I do not spray off the aphids in spring. I do not deadhead the fading blossoms. I never, ever fertilize the plants. Mind you, I am not trying to kill them. I simply do not have any patience for the problems they bring.
You know what? Those darned roses thrive, putting on dinner-plate-sized blossoms all spring and deep-orange rosehips the rest of the year.
In that sense, having no patience (call it laziness or benign neglect) has its benefits. But, lesson learned: Mother Nature is driving this bus, not me. Guess I’d better buckle up and enjoy the ride.