Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lazy like a lizard

Lucertola - side view

The lizard, not me. And while this lucertola, the common italian lizard, is definitely heavy with reptile eggs, I hope she finds a safe place to hide them and herself before Maddie figures out that it only takes one leap across the tulip bed to catch Mrs. Lucertola. I wouldn't want to be witness to that massacre.

The garden has been taking shape with the proud addition of zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, watermelon, hot peppers and squash seedlings into the ground. Protective hail netting has been set in place. So far, so good. I've also been battling the slugs (read: killing) before they even get to be more than 3/4-inch in length. This early intervention has made it psychologically easier because there is nothing more disgusting than having to deal with, and dispose of, adult-size slugs. The ants and aphids have been put into their place as we have reduced their efforts and numbers with boric acid solutions, sticky fly tape around the fruit tree trunks and pyrethrum spray to nab the survivors. We felt comfortable in using the latter because it is a natural insecticide. Now all that's left to worry about are the thievin' birds.

Lucertola - top view

Average daytime temperature: 20°C / 68°F


  1. Thanks for the tip on pyrethrum - we didn't know about it. I'm mixing up some water, oil, soap and a smelly cigar or two. That'll show them aphids.

  2. bambucha lizards! wow! one good thing about living in a condo is that there are no slugs...but we do get aphids and the thieves (aka birds).

  3. Farfalle - we're also doing a stinging nettle concoction that was suggested by a neighbor who grows fruit trees. Take a big bunch of ortica leaves and let 'em soak in water for 10 days. Strain and pour into a spray bottle to use.

    Kat - the lizards grow to about 9-10 inches in length from head to tail. One curious thing that I read on the box for the slug repellent is that if you get rid of them, it lessens the chance of hedgehogs, toads, common blackbirds and redwings from hanging out in the garden because they are fond of the slimy things.

  4. I like the lizard....and what does this stining nettle concotion about, can it kill snails and slugs ? I have been battling them for years, snail pellets all over the place.

  5. Lovely lizard pictures. It looks very like the ones we get in our garden. Gardeners and vinegrowers here use a concoction of stinging nettles agains pests and diseases. But be careful it doesn't get near the roots of young plants as our neighbour killed his tomato plants like that.

  6. Rowena, that is good news that you are winning in your battle against aphids and ants. We are in the process of growing some crysanthemum plants (the specific ones that they get pyrethrum from) which we will plant in our greenhouses. We hope it works. If not, there is always spray!

  7. Hort Log - the stinging nettle tea is for aphids and other insect pests. Snails and slugs? I engage in battle early in the morning and evening when the temps have cooled. I dare say that I am winning the war...those suckers don't have a chance against my eagle eyesight and deadly toothpick and rock!

    Chaiselongue - ahhhh, so the old farmer down the road really is on to something! He uses a homemade concoction to spray on his fruit trees (and I guess his grapevines too). We haven't tried it out yet but have some "nettle tea" steeping in a bucket.

    Gail - I hope it works for you too. I did buy some pyrethrum flower seeds and planted them around February but even with much TLC, they didn't grow beyond an inch and eventually died.


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