Gift in the Pot

Digital StillCamera
While preparing my pots doing spring garden cleaning, and turning over the dirt, I discovered some gifts from the squirrels. Yup, peanuts buried in there, one to each pot, 2 in the last one. During winter I saw a squirrel that looked rather sickly to me. Its nose was all runny, bearing its teeth, and had the head very close to the ground of the railing it was sitting on. It refused to leave, even after a couple of firm nudges. I thought maybe it was really old, or it had a cold. It almost looked like it was falling asleep, or couldn’t go on. It hadn’t occurred to me that yes, squirrels can get old too! I was quite concerned for its health. But I needn’t be, it was more that it WOULDN’T go on. I just saw the same squirrel running about bearing a very fat winter tummy, looking quite boisterous. The reason it didn’t want to leave, was probably because it had just buried its nuts in my pots, or trying to retrieve them, and it would explain the low bearing teeth posture, probably in defense mode.
I threw the nuts back out to them, and am trying to figure out a natural way to keep the squirrels at bay, and away from my garden. Funny though, the pots didn’t appear to be rustled through, they had hay mulch over them which were undisturbed, and the nuts were buried quite deep. I don’t know how they accomplished it without making a mess.

spinach-01Part of the spinach crop this year. These were transplanted from indoor seedlings, and are taking quite awhile to establish. Not much sun on the balcony, and it was quite a cold April, with only one or two warmer days. Those are egg shells for mulch, to help reflect more light onto the leaves, and keep some of the excess heat out during the day, and heat in during the night. I double cupped them, using old cups from last year, due to the near freezing temperatures at night. Poked some pin holes in the sides to keep some air circulation.
I notice the gnats and bugs in general are attracted to the black color of the earth. More and more mulching seems the way to go for multiple reasons. I am also hoping to detract some of the bugs with the white color of the egg shells.
Some of my home made compost had spider mites, darn! I scooped the bulk of them off the top surface when transplanting, as I couldn’t let my winter compost go to waste. I have noticed that there are fewer spider mites in the glass pots, and more in the plastic ones. I am concluding that they might be finding the glass too slippery. Believe it or not, I spend some extra time in the evening hand picking the remainder out with a pointy blade while the population is still low. They just crawl onto the blade and then I squish them between my fingers off the blade, being ever so careful not to cut myself. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Funny, I would never dream of squishing any type of bug between my fingers a couple of years ago. It appears that I am starting to relax about bugs. But only I think because these are so small, and it seems to be the most practical way so far. It’s giving my eyes quite a work out too. I really don’t want to be spraying anything. Until I figure something else out, this seems to be keeping their numbers down, there are only the odd two or three now. If I had more cash I probably would go for some predatory insects, to do the job for me.

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