The Days Of Spring Are filled With Work and Wonder

By Jannie Vaugh

Wonder and beauty for all the flowers and garden plants breaking into the sun and the next wonder. I wonder what the wacky weather is going to do now!

First, let’s take a look at the Native flowers and grasses that are blooming. For a good reference online go to Texas. And Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. Although we are Bluebonnet focused there are so many wildflowers and native grasses to look at and photograph. We have many favorites and when we get some time to go to a field of wildflowers we soak it all in as much as possible. Every year I try and learn about a few new ones. This year I am focusing on the yellow flowers. From Asters to Dandelions and Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susan and Bur marigold. I may not find all on my list but it sure is a great adventure to get out into nature and search. When the pecan trees bud and begin to leaf out we know no more freeze. And the trees are now leafing out. Before the leaves are fully developed and become firm it is time to spray them with some zinc. You will get better pecans. I will spray next week. I use a hose attached to a sprayer with a compartment that the zinc is put into. I stand back and spray high and with as much water pressure as I can get. Follow the directions on the label. At this time I also give them a large feeding of Superthrive around the drip line.

All the fruit trees are heavy with peaches and plums the berries are blooming and the figs are fully leafed out and with little figs showing. Remember to keep them watered and on a regular feeding schedule as they are working hard to produce. As the fruit develops it is important to support them, watch for stress, wilting or browning leaves, aphids or other insects and treat with natural products asap. I will also add leaf and straw compost around them as the winter compost has depleted and returned to the soil.

I will address what I do about snails. The common garden snail, also called the brown garden snail. The scientific name is (Helix aspersa or more correctly Cornu aspersum) is the most common shelled mollusk found feeding in gardens. It was introduced from France during the 1850s for use as food. The snails are drawn by an abundance of organic matter from sources such as plant debris, decomposing mulches and rotting compost. Snails are known for helping to break down these materials, but less is said about their destructive tendencies toward plants. As pest they prefer succulent foliage or flowers, snails and slugs are primarily pests of seedlings and herbaceous plants. They are also serious pests of turfgrass seedlings and ripening fruits that are close to the ground, such as strawberries and tomatoes. Snails will also feed on the young plant bark and foliage and fruit of some trees. Citrus are especially susceptible to damage. A good way to control snails relies on a combination of methods. The first step is to eliminate, as much as possible, all places where they can hide during the day. Boards, stones, debris, weedy areas around tree trunks, leafy branches growing close to the ground, and dense ground covers, such as ivy, are ideal sheltering spots. Read more at Gardening Know How: Organic Snail Control: How To Control Garden Snails

I do not use toxic snail bate. I use cheap beer in a pie pan and set it out in the garden, they love beer and end their lives in the pan. Or here’s the icky stuff, I go out early in the morning and pick and squish. Yes, icky.

Now about bees. This is a big subject. But here is a short thought on our most important pollinator. They are Not Pests! Also bees are not wasps! Wasps are deadly to bees humans! Do Not Poison or in any way Kill Bees! If you have a swarm call a bee company or find a local person who has hives and can capture the bees. Beekeepers say they are docile when swarming. They are establishing a new queen into a new home. Stay away and keep animals away also. Don’t poke the bees. We need them to pollinate our flowers and give us food. And beekeeping has become a popular practice now. You can take beekeeping classes and learn about the art of bees. Beekeepers are always willing to help.

It’s time to get the gardening going and I am outgrowing green.

Bee Happy,

Growing green with Jannie