The dividing line between good and bad is pretty clear. My general policy is Live and Let Live. Unless, of course, you are a malicious little bug intent on destroying my crops—then I will kill you.
I’ve smashed countless Japanese beetles, Colorado potato beetles, grubs, and cabbageworms. One crunch and you know they’re dead. But lacking crunchable parts, slugs offer no satisfaction—and no audible way to tell they’re dead.
At first I tried diplomacy. I spread coffee grounds around my plants, which apparently makes the slugs lose their appetite and wander off. This worked well for a while, but after these last few days of wet weather, the slugs came back with a vengeance.
I found slugs on nearly every plant in my garden: bok choy, kohlrabi, Brussels spouts, broccoli, chard, collards, potatoes, spinach—even on my peas! The only things left untouched were my carrots and my tomatoes, but I knew it was just a matter of time. The diplomacy of coffee grounds had failed. It was time to crank it up a notch.
It was time for beer.
And that’s where I ran into the moral dilemma. Is it wrong to waste good beer on slugs? Then I remembered I had a can of cheap beer in the fridge, left over from some long-past family picnic.
Why beer? The slugs are attracted to the fermented yeast. Place shallow cups of beer around your garden, and the slugs will fall in and drown. Learn more about slug control here: Slug Stoppers.
I set little cups in each of my raised beds and poured the first round. Here’s to you slugs. Drink and be merry for tomorrow you’ll all be dead.
I had given up on my carrots, thought they were a no-show. But after weeks and weeks of worry, I finally spotted them, tiny and green, right where I planted them. Go figure.
It was another extremely productive weekend for me. I finished building my raised beds. I added five new beds this year. Digging, digging, and more digging. Glad I’m done.
I built my fence, but still have to finalize the gate. Right now, I just lean it on the fence posts. I also made a few beds around the edges of the garden, in which I planted nasturtium, calendula, cosmos, parsley, and mint. And I started some marigolds and basil in pots.
The collards and the chard we planted last weekend have germinated. My bok choy, kohlrabi and Brussels were being eaten alive by slugs but I put coffee grounds around each plant and the slugs are gone. I found one potato beetle on my potatoes. I squished it.
My next venture will be to mulch the paths between the beds. I think I’ll use wood chips. Should I rent a chipper or just go buy a truckload of chips? If I chip the wood myself, I’ll know exactly where the wood comes from.
The other thing I need to work out is my watering system. I mentioned earlier in this blog about making some kind of custom drip hose system by cutting up old hoses and new fittings. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m looking forward to the plant sale this weekend at the Rodale Institute, but am more excited about planting what I buy there in my new raised beds.
And finally, I’m happy to say we ate our first spinach salad from the garden last week: Baby spinach, olive oil, and Locatelli. So good.