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I ran away from teaching to the country to grow veggies. There are also some chooks and a pair of troublesome goats who were so much trouble they had to go! My simple green life isn't always as simple or as green as I'd like...but I keep trying!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Getting the pecking order straight!

I would like to make an announcement to all the creepy, crawly, slippery, vegetable sucking and munching critters out there:

This is MY garden,
I am at the TOP of the FOOD CHAIN...
so bug off!

Not for one second do I think they will take any notice, but it makes me feel better having stated it.  All the lovely rain we have had, after ten years of drought, has provided lush conditions for all sorts of beasties.  The snails look like they have been on steroids and as soon as there is one drop of rain they are out in their hundreds (no exageration).

I am sure you will agree they are quite photogenic though.  This lot were collected from the broad beans.  I think there are as many snails as leaves. I fed them to the chooks...they love them. *Devilish laugh* Unfortunately I have banned the chickens from the garden until the seedlings are more robust, so they can't go snail hunting themselves.

I have another confession to make...I am using snail bait. So much for 'organic' gardening.  I did consider some of that adhesive copper tape that gives snails and slugs a little electric shock when they touch it.  However it is very expensive for someone like me with lots of garden space.  I will keep investigating alternatives.

The dead snails aren't wasted though.  They become part of the food chain too.  If you look closely at the photo above, you will see maggots eating some baited snails.  They were fat healthy maggots obviously not affected by their snail baited menu.

What about this fellow...I wouldn't want his shoe bill.

This shield bug is one of many.  Last year I must have had thousands of these.  They suck the moisture out of plants but didn't seem to have too much of a detrimental effect.  They seemed mostly interested in the nectarines that dropped off the tree.

I didn't have chickens last Summer.  I wonder if they will like these guys?

Now, here is something
 that really sends shudders down my spine!  
The last three nights have seen the termites swarming.  This isn't a very good photo, however, you can tell what it is.  This is on the top of a stump in the veggie garden.  The termite disappeared into the crack.  She will be looking for somewhere to establish a colony.

These aren't the nice termites that build mud nests and eat grass.  They are the evil ones who live in the core of gum trees and eat buildings.  
One of my sisters had a quite a big problem with them in her house and the last school I taught at was just about devoured by them.  
I will be watching carefully for any signs of infestation in the house.

And finally, when I drove home from visiting my old mum this afternoon I ended up with lots of squished bugs on the windscreen.  At the same time I was hearing on the radio that the locusts, we have been expecting, have arrived in the suburbs of Melbourne.  Hope they keep away from my veggies.

Who would want to be a real farmer?
Ten years of drought.
Then floods.
Now plague locusts!


  1. Hazel I seem to spend a good time of each day squashing snails underfoot.I hate killing things so does this mean I will be reincarnated as a snail! eek
    cheers Ian

  2. Great pics. Don't let the chooks in until you want the vedgies razed and the weeds cleaned out! Peter

  3. I'd say eggshells against the snails (they cut into the snails if they try to cross any barrier you make with eggshells), but for a large garden like yours I think you'd need alot of eggs! Good luck with "musseling" out the mollusks! We only have teeny ones around here, and not hardly that amount!

  4. Crikey Hazel, you've got me worried - it all sounds very dramatic and "Biblical"! I have to contend with the odd snail or two, a few dozen slugs, a few caterpillars, a few aphids, etc, but nothing on the scale that you have described. I hope you manage to keep them all at bay. I'm afraid I would be reaching for the little blue slug pellets. I'm 'organic' only up to a certain point!

  5. Wow! Your right, those snails are very photogenic, although they all look related (one big happy snail family). I guess I would try to pick as many off by hand as I could... fresh escargot for the chickens. Wow, that's alot of insects you've got going on and termites are serious business. We're lucky in Ireland to have very few pest problems compared to warmer climates.

  6. Those snails were starting to look beautiful to me. Nothing like a close up to show you the wonder in everything.

  7. Snails are invading at my place too. My Mum used to provide them with a welcome drink - beer- in which they dutifully drowned. I think we should try it.

  8. wow. those snails look plump and i couldn't help but wonder if you've made any escargot. i love that stuff, with the right bread and fresh butter. anyway, what an amazing garden you have. i'm jealous of course as over here we're just putting our gardens to sleep for winter.


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