Is there some kind of snail transport that they can pop onto and then suddenly they are dispatched across gardens off the back of the snail express? I can imagine thousands of snails packed into a little carriage, and then when it rains, they drive around like mad crazy little speed demons, rushing around corners so fast they almost look like cartoon character cars, and then a snail administrator wearing a tiny little red cap dumps a hundred or so snails off all at the same spot - all to invade the gardens of the world.
I mean, last night, after the rain, I went out into the garden to do a few bits and bobs (the unglamorous taking out of the bins) and I feel the crunch and slime under my feet. Cue freak out, not because I hate snails, but because despite our competing goals (to eat my garden) I quite like the little things and hate killing them. There are hundreds of them! The snail express has obviously just dropped off. I often feel a bit sad when I see a displaced snail (slug) and wonder if it would be possible to find them a home in an abandoned shell. Only problem is, in The Sticks, we are about 5 hours from any shells. Second only problem is, I'm supposed to want to kill them, because they are an enemy of the garden.
This morning when I went to go out and look for snails, they have all gone... the only question is... where? Did the storm finish and the snail express swing back around, gathering up all the little guys, and any displaced snails to go back into hiding for the next attack?
We've been having a few crazy storms in the last week or so, hence the snail brigade making their appearance. Nothing like my beloved Bris Vegas conjures up, but still some almighty cracks of thunder and lightning so bright it lightens what seems like the whole of The Sticks.
Because of all this rain, and the milder than the usual stinking hot February weather, the garden has been having a few problemos. First problem is that when I go on a mini break, my chief gardener does not give the same loving attention to the patch that I do (how could he, I mean, there's nothing like motherly love). I would like to think he would administer some boarding master type love- but sometimes, he's more like a uni boarding master- forgets all the responsibilities but still has good intentions. Second problem is that all this organic farming doesn't come without trials and tribulation. A previously unheard of failure rate (Last year, I told you I had a black thumb, things haven't changed except my new garden is a little better than my oldie!!) the tomato (three different varities), corn, eggplant and capsicum (RIP babies) all succumbed to different little midgets or other problems.
The capsicum and tomatoes were taken by the fruit flies ( i once knew a lady nicknamed fruit fly- can you imagine?! ha ha ha) but I'm just not sure about the eggplant and corn. If you know what these holes are caused by- please let me know!
I spoke to my new garden man (not the old enemy garden man) and he reckons that organic is a load of it and simply will not help me with any organic theories. I sometimes try to drop pieces of info into conversation- i.e.'But what about companion planting- I've heard that has it's merits?' or 'Heard the kids in the Stephanie Alexander program at my old school (more on that later) about some fruit fly traps -what about those' and every time I do, the same response. 'I'm not going to talk to you about organic methods. Just dust the bloody vegetables.' He'll often recommend products saying that they could be 'sort of organic' or 'contain some organic ingredients' but I bust him every time. He simply believes you can't successfully garden organically in this climate. I'm trying to prove him wrong, but all I'm doing is earning him more money because I have to keep re-buying seedlings.
We've also had a frog visiting frequently, of which I'm a fan. Mumzy isn't. Apparently she is as unhappy now to have the frog hopping around the house now as she was ten years ago when I had a pet frog named predictably named kermit. So I just gently pop Kermetta outside when I find her sticking about the place.
Spring onions, beetroot and zucchini are all doing terrifically well. Rocket is more peppery than ever and plentiful. Beans are so cripsy and fresh, I'm still delighted every time I pop one into my mouth. Other mixed lettuce plants have gone to seed and I will attempt to plant some more soon.
I've managed to roast some beetroot and whip up a roast beetroot and goats cheese salad. We are lucky to be able to get some french aged goat's cheese here in The Sticks - it's quite okay and perfect in this salad. Did I mention that I miss Rosalie Gourmet Market and their cheese selection more than you could imagine?
As the rest of the garden decided to die on me (RIP babies) and the weather is milder, I bought some winter vege seedlings at the monthly markets that I'll be popping in as soon as I get time to sort out the garden, do some rotating and look up a bit more info about companion planting. Leeks, parsnip, carrots, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli and kale are just a few little things waiting patiently to be placed into their new home.
The zucchini plant required a lot of cutting back, as it decided to take over a large segment of the garden. It is producing lots of beautiful fruit, but also has some odd sort of thing happening with the leaves? I'm wondering if there is some disease in the soil perhaps?
Seeing it's time to put the winter vege, maybe it's time for me to start my knitting again. My knitting is almost comical I must tell you, it's been a bit of a joke and has been going on, constantly for the last 5 years at least. It's taken me this long to knit a bloody scarf that is not even a scarf yet, because it's not finished, so in effect it's taking me this long to not knit a scarf. This year I'm going to start fresh, and I'll have to get my nan to cast on some stitches for me (because I just can't....what- I hear you ask is wrong with me?) and get those needles click clacking.
Also, get your hands on the latest Country Style, mine arrived in the mail the other day, and it's such a beautiful cover. Lavender always reminds me of my Gran. I'll have to remember to renew my subscription. I got it last year at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival - not sure if I'll be able to get back there this year- but they always have good offers if you want to subscribe when you are there (just an insider tip).
Speaking of which, I believe you can start buying tickets for the Festival now, and you totally should- it's a fantastic weekend and is seriously all about the food. Had an amazing time last year so hoping I will be able to book some accomo and get up to (possibly my favourite place in the world) Noosa. It is by far the best Food Festival I have ever been to- so much to learn and do and it is a must not miss event.
There are more clouds on the horizon, so I'm going to get back to digging the garden, weeding, reading and sitting out waiting to see If I can catch the snail express doing a drop off!