Dead Snails Leave No Trails

I went outside today for my early morning peak at the progress of this year’s roses. The stems are stretching toward the Spring sun—I love their deep red color at this time of the year. It’s good to see what a little compost and organic fertilizer can do. Apparently, the clouds of aphids that are flying over also like that deep red color—it’s their trigger to land on our rosebuds and start messing things up. Thankfully, this is a manageable situation for us organic gardeners—if we persevere.

Here’s what I like to do:

About this time of year, I  check the rosebuds for aphids. Yep they’re there. Next, I use a regular old spray bottle to physically wash the aphids off each bud. Do it early in the day. If that doesn’t do the trick—use the lightest setting on a garden hose nozzle to get rid of the stragglers. Once the aphids are washed off, they don’t crawl back up. The best part is the aphids you kill now will not breed later in the season. Birds, ladybugs, praying mantids and loads of other beneficial creatures also like to eat aphids—so, NO POISON PLEASE

If you want this and other organic gardening tips, you can find them in the revised edition of my book Dead Snails Leave No Trails, just released yesterday! It’s a helpful guide for eco friendly gardeners. You can purchase the book along with my other titles on the Random House website: Click here.

Also, as your roses begin to bloom, post your pictures on my Facebook page. The prettiest rose of the bunch will win a signed copy of my new book!

I look forward to seeing all your Spring roses.




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28 comments on “Dead Snails Leave No Trails
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  2. Laubsauger says:

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  3. Vicki Summers says:

    I do love roses. I live in the high desert and so I contend with cold nights and very hot days during the summer months. I help work the property that my parents still live on so that they can take it easy as they grow older (86 and 87). But one thing my Ma and Pa could not keep growing was the roses and Ma loves those best. So I’ve worked pretty hard to bring some special different types of roses for her to watch grow and to bring her in small vases. She loves them. With great sadness I watched your visit to Fox morning news today and wasn’t aware of your brain tumor. I wondered where you had gone and missed you in the evening. Bless you Loren in your journey. I cried all the way through the interview, but I went right to your blog to read your story. You are a blessing to me and thank you for sharing your journey with us.

  4. Karen Kish Arvin says:

    Hey Loren – inspiring blog and always loved your garden tips. As a rabid rose grower I’m always looking for organic ways to help my plants. Since I heard it from you I always bury banana peels next to the roses. But I can’t remember why…Is that supposed to give them nutrients, keep away snails or just reduce the tonnage from your composter!
    Best wishes,

    Karen Kish Arvin
    former KPBS News Director

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm… and to think I thought you’d say just squirt the aphids with lemon juice! 🙂

  6. Wendy Weir Gurrier says:

    Thanks Loren! I always wondered if they would crawl back up after being rinsed off! Now I know! 😀

  7. Ray Eubanks says:

    You forgot to mention that instant gratification is possible. I just downloaded the Kindle version of your new book from Amazon dot com. I’ve been browsing it and look forward to reading the whole thing as soon as I have time.

  8. susy says:

    i am in love with your love

  9. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations on the revised release of your book. I just might have to get a copy of it… afterall, your “The Worm Book” came in handy with my composting bin.
    The Worm Book –

  10. Chuck Buck says:

    Smell the roses, Loren…

  11. Randy Baker says:

    Also, the best way to keep Lady Bugs on your property is to put a TV set out in the yard playing Housewives of _________. Breaking Bad or Walking Dead episodes. The lady bugs won’t even think of leaving. 😉

  12. Randy Baker says:

    I have a first edition of your Dead Snails book and it has paid for itself thousands of times over. You may quote me. I’d like to suggest a means of dealing with pesky rabbits that has worked for me in Vista quite well over the years. First, dig a little hole in your yard near where the rabbits are tearing into your garden. Then build a little fire in it. Put the fire out. Line the hole with fresh peas. Then hide nearby. When the rabbit takes a pea, kick him in the ash hole. Works. Every.Time. 🙂 Gonna go order your updated book now. Keep on keeping on, Loren.

  13. Jeanette says:

    Hi Loren. I just love your gardening tips! Yes even right here on the beach (we live 100 yards from the water at South Carlsbad beach) we have tone of aphids on the roses and even in the large birds of paradise. I spray with the hose after gently squeezing each tender bud and wiping then leaves with my fingers. This seems to be keeping them at bay for now. Any other tips you have I’d appreciate.

    I miss hearing you on TV. Hang in there, you are an inspiration to all of us.

  14. Nancy Wiley says:

    I seem to be raising a group of future aphid eaters, in the form of tadpoles (about 30 of them – a guess, as they don’t line up for role call! ) They appeared in a container of rainwater without any participation on my part. Am keeping their container filled and, enjoying their antics and reward them with bits of spinach for the entertainment. They will hopefully hang around even after they get their legs and wipe out some of the insect population. Don’t know the source of these little guys. A possibility is that there is a flood control channel behind where I live in Escondido. There is always a “froggy” chorus lullaby every night after the rainy season is over. The iris are in bloom now, but still waiting for the roses!

  15. Beth Linge says:

    OK……that brings back memories of when you set up a third-grade McKenna with her very own compost (which Mom took care of)!

  16. Kris Quart says:

    Loren – will spraying water on citrus leaves get rid of aphids, too?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Lorn, am I spraying with plan water or do I put a drop of Dawn in my bottle. I have a Don Juan that is going to town with blooms. Wish I had a sense of smell because the are huge so must give off an abundance of perfume. Also have a Sally Holms that isn’t blooming yet, but lots of buds. Both have tons of aphids. Look forward to getting your book. When I figure out how to send you pics I will. Thanks for the tip. Tons of hugs my fellow gardner.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Praying for you everyday. You are a STRONG MAN and YOU ROCK!! San Diego Loves You ( La Mesa too!) Thanks
    for all you have done for years and continue to do..
    Love Bonnie.

  19. Dona says:

    I have no roses…my Mom grew many different kinds of roses in Illinois. I remember, as a child, going from rose bush to rose bush and smelling each one….what a great feeling that gave me. I had forgotten how important it was to enjoy every minute of every day until a few years ago when I lost my husband to cancer. Now I know how important it is to take time to appreciate and enjoy; my family and friends, the sunshine and rain, the moon and stars, walks in the park and on the beach, everything we have been given in our wonderful world. There is something to be said about stopping to smell the roses……

  20. Jackie Owens says:

    Hi Loren. Always await your gardening hints. Can’t wait to always try them. Keep the faith and keep us informed on your health and your hints. The aphids are in full force out here in El Cajon..’Gardening is very theraputic for me. Was my salvation when I was working, sure helps the stress to watch things grow and blossom. I am sure you love it as much as anyone. Keep the faith. Jackie

  21. sheri says:

    Loved the original. Can hardly wait to get the second one.

  22. says:

    Hi Loren, Just a hello from Judy and Dave from Palomar. We love hearing from you and how you are doing. Also, question, do you know of a really good way to get rid of gophers?? My daughter has lots of them in her lawn…… Also, Dave wants me to mention that you said you like to RV. Well, the best place in the world to RV is on the Ranch. We would love you and Susie to bring your RV to the Ranch and park for awhile. It is a wonderful healing place. Really please think this over. We would really love to have you. All you’ll see are the birds and the bees, cows and maybe some snakes………….Please consider this for a little get away… Please let us know. 760-742-0656 Judy & Dave

  23. Jack Hayes says:

    I gave up on roses up here five years ago. BUT we are just now seeing the first flowers on my five Japanese Snow Fountain Cherry Trees. All five trees made it through the winter!

    Bless you and I hope you continue to improve.

    4/3/2013 2:29 PM, Loren Nancarrow wrote: > > lorennancarrow posted: “I went outside today for my early morning peak > at the progress of this year’s roses. The stems are stretching toward > the Spring sun—I love their deep red color at this time of the year. > It’s good to see what a little compost and organic fertilizer can d” >

  24. Reese Brothers says:

    Oh I can’t wait to see all the roses! I’ll be sure to take a picture of mine and post it. Thanks Loren!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Dear Loren,
    If I purchase a container of live ladybugs… don’t they just fly away from the roses or will they be smart and feast on my buffet of aphids?

    Lynn in Carlsbad

    • Hi Lynn,

      You can increase your odds of them sticking around by spreading them just after sunset on damp shrubs nearby.

      Hope this helps. Let me know.


      • Anonymous says:

        OK Loren. Thank you. I will apply the ladybugs on damp shrubs after sunset… and I guess NOT directly on the aphids as to force feed?

        Lynn in Carlsbad

      • Ladybugs absolutely work Loren. Great advice.. I mist everything down and let 1/2 a container go one day and repeat the next evening. My daughter and I love doing this and letting all the ladybugs go free.

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