Valley Gardening: Ruthie get your gun

Let’s see…. I have not been able to find my little criminals—that’s what happens when you work for a living—you can’t just park in the neighborhood and look for them. I did find out that the same ones that stole from me more than likely also stole from a local liquor store and I am just waiting for pictures of the jerks. Will post pictures everywhere!

Please understand that when I talk about crime, I am not saying that Alamosa or even the SLV has a monopoly on it. Crime seems to be rampant across the country, as do drugs. Only by talking about it…and spreading alarms, and telling your neighbors, and sharing information do we have any hoping of slowing it down or even putting a dent in it. Ignoring the crime and/or drugs will NOT make it go away!  As people, as a community, we need to step up and take action—my humble little opinion.

A year or so ago I took a Concealed Weapon Course. I finished, and got my diploma but never finished getting my license—which I plan on doing this week. I will begin carrying my gun in the next few weeks—and I don’t think it has to be concealed. Haven’t decided yet if I will put bullets in the gun—guess that’s for the criminal to wonder about. Most of you reading this will be safe!

It will be interesting getting my fingerprints taken. When applying for a liquor license for Society Hall I had to get prints taken three times. The reason----I had literally worn down the swirls on the tips of my fingers. So my prints were denied at the state level of government. I guess the years of hauling landscaping rock, digging in the dirt, and just working took a toll on my patterns. I was pretty amazed at this, but probably no one else is.

Spring is slowly but surely coming and that is why I just received Praying Mantis Egg Cases. It seems a little early, but the cases can take 2-6 weeks at 70 degrees to hatch, depending on when the female laid the egg. It goes without saying that you cannot place the egg cases outside, but so many customers of mine have greenhouses, which are warming up pretty fast.    

Praying mantis feed on crickets, grasshoppers, moths, locusts, caterpillars, flies and even cockroaches.  They are strictly carnivorous so will not eat your plants. I’m thinking they may eat a ladybug or two if they get hungry—but need to look into that a little bit more.

One egg casing will yield up to 200 little babies. When they hatch, they hatch fast! A friend of mine had a casing hatch on her kitchen windowsill and before she could do anything they were gone. One of the diagrams I have seen shows putting the egg casings in a mason jar so that you know when they hatch.  They need to be released within five days if you hatch them that way.

As I study a little more, I find out that ladybugs produce a chemical that tastes terrible so that predators don’t eat them, so maybe the mantis won’t eat them after all. Did you know that ladybugs can also float on water, paddle around and even swim? If you have ever wondered where exactly ladybugs hibernate…the answer is--about 50-100 million of them get together to conserve their warmth and gather together under logs, tree bark or ground vegetation. Trying to figure out if it is better to be in the middle or the outside edge? Maybe they rotate as penguins do, I don’t know.

If you don’t know what the pupa stage of the ladybug looks like, you should come by the store and take a look at the pictures. More than one person has killed them, thinking they were detrimental. They don’t look at all like the beautiful adult ladybug!

If you are needing to fluff up your raised beds in your greenhouse, I just got in some ‘recycled soil’, that is the best and the most economical. Primarily peat and perlite it will really help with aeration and water retention. And the funds generated from this soil go to my charity projects—yahoo! On top of that I would recommend Fox Farm Soil Conditioner because that will add the bat guano, worm castings, forest humus and mycorrhiza—the living organisms that will help any plant grow better!

Hey…take a look at and check out the group coming up from Taos next week! A seven-piece group that Don Richmond says will blow your socks off. AND…for you folks with ‘tired butts’, we now have cushions for rent (only $1), courtesy of Mike Gibson and Angel, upholsterer extraordinaire!


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