Snail in Our Spinach Bed

snail in our spinach bed

I found a snail and a slug in our spinach bed yesterday. My son was thrilled to play with these two critters while my husband and I worked in the plot. He made them a little home of sticks, rocks and leaves. I heard him say, “I cracked snaily’s shell by accident!” My heart sank. He was upset at first, but our new hose attachment distracted him. Later, I learned how damaging snails can be to newly planted seedlings. “Snaily” had to go. We just transplanted our tomato, peppers and eggplant seedlings to our garden plot!

Here are a few facts about snails from the Good Bug Bad Bug book. Snails attack young seedlings, lettuce, ripening strawberries, tomatoes and peppers. They will not eat plants with fragrant foliage or fuzzy leaves. To prevent snails and slugs in your garden….keep it clear of garden debris where they can hide and eat decaying plant matter, water garden in the morning to allow foliage to dry before night fall, and remove snails by hand and place them in a jar of soapy water. To protect seedlings from slugs, place pieces of window screening around seedling base (snails detest rough surfaces). Ducks, moles, shrews, garter snakes, frogs, toads and turtles eat snails.

This is the first time we’ve noticed a snail in our garden plot. Did all the recent rain make our plot more attractive to snails? Have you seen snails in your garden?

Spinach Pesto

spinach picked from our plot

The spinach in our garden plot is starting to flower so I picked a grocery bag full of spinach this week.  Slugs like green leafy vegetables so I always clean greens by putting them into our kitchen sink filled with water.   If there are slugs hidden in the greens they will float to the water surface in several minutes.   Before I cleaned our huge batch of spinach, I soaked a batch of fresh picked green leaf lettuce and found two small slugs!  Spinach leaves are tough so I put them through a soak and rinse cycle three times.  We ate the squeaky clean spinach in salads all week!

Today I made spinach pesto, mixed it with ricotta cheese and created a white pizza topping. Yummy!

Spinach Pesto is easy to make by pulsing the following ingredients together in a food processor.
Ingredients:
2 cups fresh spinach leaves, well-washed and stemmed
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated, not canned
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Do you have any surprising spinach recipes?

Turnips and Spinach

We visited our community garden plot at Howard County Conservancy yesterday. We found some treasures in the soft thawed soil.

our winter spinach

one of our many winter turnips
Turnips and spinach are growing under our row covers. Our first experiment of over-wintering our late fall crops worked!  Last fall, I planted lettuce, turnips and spinach seeds a bit late.  We did not have a good fall harvest of these crops.  In November, I covered the growing crops with row covers.   What a thrill to peel back the row covers yesterday to find green turnip tops and purple and white turnip roots, tender dark green spinach leaves and curly bright green lettuce sprouts.  I even pulled weeds out of the spinach bed.  Row covers are good winter blankets for the garden!

The Rain

It started raining early this morning.  We felt the thick air move through our open windows.  We heard our dog whine as he sensed the coming storm.  Then the rain fell.  It felt like water from hundreds of  hoses with nozzles set on “soak” blasting our townhouse.   All day the rain came in mists, showers and  downpours.  The rain caused flood warnings,  some schools districts to close two hours early, a relative’s  roof  to leak,  traffic delays and my hair to frizzle. Rain can be a nuisance in our busy lives, but it is never a bother to my son or to a garden.   The rain gives my son the chance to wear his  big yellow rubber boots,  hold a fancy striped umbrella, and search for the perfect puddle to splash in.   The rain gives our garden the chance  to thrive and grow new crops in autumn.  Last week I planted  lettuce, spinach, turnip and radish seeds in our garden.  They must be  bursting and sprouting strong roots  in all the wet soil.    I hope to see little seedlings peeking out of the ground in our garden plot this Saturday.    Thank you rain.