Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Slugs Are Back in Town

Our little uninvited guests are back. The first year in our house, we were amazed to see huge slugs hanging out on our garage door one night after returning home . They were fascinating in a prehistoric way and since we didn't have a garden other than a few volunteer tomato plants and lots of perennials we weren't too concerned. So the slugs were thought of a quirky edition to our new home, that is until I started having nightmares about giant slugs slithering all over me. To stop the night terrors and rescue the hosta plants, we set out a few beer traps and called it a year.

Last year, our garden was virtually free of the slugs. Not wanting to congratulate ourselves too much, but still sure our anti-slug efforts were valid, we thought that maybe our yard was the equivalent of a gay bar at a Baptist conference - some people would sneak in, but they weren't about to tell their friends. Now, I think last year's dry and hot summer had more to do with the absence of slugs from our yard than our pithy little beer traps did.

This year the slugs are back in force and they're no longer happy with chewing their way through hosta leaves. In fact, I think all the slugs from the first summer were just out on maternity leave last year and are now debuting their babies in this year's rainy slug haven. Our fennel plants look like a slug nursery all loaded down with slimy little bundles of happy baby slugs. Which is funny, because this site suggests planting fennel as a slug deterrent. Our slugs' love for the anisy flavor of fennel would be fine if they just stayed there or even on the hostas, but, no, I'm constantly picking the little buggers off the pea plants and our lettuce is inedible because we can't get all the slugs off enough pieces to make a salad.

So, the beer traps are set, and I'm thinking of hand washing some of the leaves of the lettuce and peas with Shaklee detergent. Yes, I'm planning on individually washing leaves of vegetable plants with high-priced natural cleaning products. That is the madness of slugs and I'm expecting the nightmares to commence any day now.

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