by Charlene Burgi
This wet weather can bring out an abundance of snails and slugs to feast on our plants. Find a Bay-Friendly way to rid your garden of the pests. Crush egg shells and place them around plants. The crushed shells act like glass shards to these slimy creatures. Ring the plants with pennies or purchase copper guards that will shock them when they touch. Or, share your beer by placing the beverage into a saucer near your plants. Protect the beer from diluting by covering with a bottomless milk jug. Cut semicircles into the plastic jug for the snails to enter. Check the saucers frequently, clean and add more freshly poured beer. (The snails are not attracted to stale beer.)
It is time to start thinking of pruning fruit and ornamental trees, roses and some shrubs. Before starting, make certain your tools are ready to go. Clean off the dirt and any accumulated rust on the blades by scrubbing the tools with a wire brush in a bucket of water. Wipe clean and spray with oil. Sharpen the blades of your pruning shears using a whetstone or sharpening file. Follow the angle of the existing edge until you achieve a sharp edge. Be careful not to cut yourself in this process. If you have splinters on the handles of your tools, lightly sand until smooth and rub the wood with linseed oil. A little elbow grease now will pay in big dividends when pruning begins.
With these chores done, treat yourself to a cup of warm apple cider or tea—or a pint of beer! —knowing your plants are secure from unwanted pests and your tools are ready to go.
Have a safe and happy New Year.