Sunday, April 25, 2010

Down With Slugs!

That’s mine and Harrison’s battle cry.

i inadvertently killed all the sunflowers night before last by trying to kill the slugs. You see, we planted all these flowers around a perimeter in the hopes that they would grow to be a ‘house’ of sorts, as per the instructions of Sharon Lovejoy. I’ve got several of her books and really liked the looks of this sunflower house so I gathered up my materials (four varieties of sunflowers, all [potentially] reaching different heights, and a packet of morning glories) and set out to plant. I’ve been nurturing them for about two weeks now, excited every time I see another seedling sprouting out of the ground.

Alas, I had heard that slugs and snails really like the tender new shoots of flowers, particularly of the sun variety. I also read (in the above mentioned author’s books) that you could take paper cups, cut the bottom out and slide them over the new growth to act as kind of a collar to keep out any unwanted beasties.

Seems, though, that they have to be firmly affixed in the ground.


I went out two afternoons ago and noticed a baby slug sitting atop one of my very tender, very much anticipated, very much mine seedling sprouts. I saw red. I decided that if the collars won’t keep the critters out, I’d douse around the plants with something I knew would keep them out: salt.

Turns out, this is a terrible idea. Something that should have been researched in one of the dozens of books I’ve got on gardening in the house.

Funny, though, you’d think in all the books I’ve read on gardening, that one or two of them might mention not to put salt in your garden!!!! Perhaps I overlooked it, but I definitely don’t remember anyone saying not to do that.

So here’s my PSA to the gardening world: DON’T PUT SALT IN YOUR GARDEN!!! IT WILL KILL YOUR PLANTS!!!

Incidentally, if you’ve got some weeds in your plot—say, in the cracks on your driveway or somewhere similar, but definitely not near plants you love and adore and have spent countless hours babying, sprinkling a little salt might be exactly what you want.

Just sayin’.

So. I feel stupid. I have to start from scratch. I’m frustrated.

But I did get started again today. I took another idea from Sharon Lovejoy, this time from her blog that she writes for Lowes, about using paper sacks to plant in. She had a similar problem in her gourds, so she restarted them in her greenhouse in bags and transplanted them to the garden. I, more impatient being that I am, just trimmed some paper sacks down to about eight inches, cleared out a furrow in the compost/soil perimeter I had previously established for growing, and filled the bags with the cleared out soil. The bags are directly placed in the ground with about four or five inches showing above the surface. I figure I’ll keep them like this until the stalks get some decent growth to them and then just remove above the soil line. Or I might just leave them. Either way, they’re biodegradable and will make a wonderful barrier to keep out those slimy leaf eating bastards who insist on invading my garden.

I’m also thinking of investing in some cheap beer. I’ve heard that you can put shallow dishes with beer out in the garden and the slugs and snails will drown themselves in it. I’ll just have to make sure that I remove it before the kids go into the area to play. :)

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