Monday, July 13, 2009

Bring on the cull: How to rid your garden of slugs

After a long winter of renovation, I thought it would be nice to just sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labour and some of the fruit of the garden. May was a bit cooler than usual this year, so I was about 10 days late getting the tomato and pepper plants in. We have not had any success growing peppers, but this year I purchased a more mature seedling and gave it a prime plot, where tomatoes have flourished in past years.

Pictured above you will see the pepper plant, which now resembles swiss cheese. Seems that somebody or something was feasting on my fruit before me. (Not fair! I pay the taxes here!!!) Unfortunately, my friend Corinne's garden was also suffering from the same affliction, several blocks away. Worried for her transplanted Brown-eyed-Susans, she took action sooner than I, and discovered that it was slugs who were fattening themselves in our gardens. Slugs. I had heard of these translucent pests before, but they'd never taken up residence in our money pit plot. It was time to fight back or risk losing all the basil.

The internet provided a simple solution. Dig a small indent in the soil and place a shallow saucer in the hole so that the rim is on the same level as the soil. At dusk, open a beer (any brand) and toast the slugs last day. After enjoying a few sips, pour a splash into the saucer. If your garden is large, you will need many saucers and more beer. I could only find two suitable saucers, so created some small slug wells by cutting the sides off some individual yogurt containers. Now this is the hard part: wait until morning. I suggest a warm bath to help you sleep, as I had difficulty nodding off due to eager anticipation.

The sunrise will reward your patience (and love of beer) with saucers full of dead slugs. Hooray. Bring on the cull. Who knew that something so delightful as beer could be so lethal to these garden pests (yet safe for pets and children). I recommend burring the drowned critters in a shallow grave which will decompose into rich compost, feeding next year's crop of peppers. It's the circle of life at its best!