Saturday, June 6, 2009

Revenge in the Garden?

I always plant marigolds near my tomatoes because the marigolds repel nematodes (soil dwelling microscopic white worms) that are harmful to tomatoes. Actually, marigolds are natural insect repellents but they are vulnerable to slugs. Well, the tomatoes are fine but the marigolds took a direct hit from the slugs. The slugs must be fat and happy with their tasty meals, yet I can’t find them on the plants, just their dried slime shinning in the sun. Guess I need to get up earlier and sneak up on them. I considered using Diatomaceous Earth (DE). I have had good results in the past with this powder which is the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton. The DE acts like razor blades and cuts up the slugs, but DE works only when it is dry and with the weather here I am feeling like I live in the rain forest. Yesterday one of the roads near here was closed due to high water and on the main road to town we could see the creek was just barely below the bridge.

Another thing that has worked in the past is beer. We had a terrible slug problem in Cooperstown, NY. I would fill a shallow cat food can with beer and bury it so the top of the can was at ground level. Maybe the slugs thought it was a beer party and they dove in en masse! Every morning I would empty the cans of dead slugs and put out fresh beer. I bought the cheapest beer available. So why didn’t I do that now? The only beer in the refrigerator was bought for my son Matt. I kept forgetting to buy something really cheap. And it just keeps raining so the slugs are thriving. I was waiting for hot dry weather, anathema to slugs. The marigolds are dead - just little brown stems sticking out of the clay/dirt. Should I say “live and let live,” or get revenge?


Struggler said...

Revenge, revenge, definitely! The beer plan sounds like a great bet.
Funny, we suffer from snails here but hardly any slugs. I always try not to tread on the snails when I'm out and about, but if they're in our garden, that's a different matter!

C. Stuart said...

haha, I say go get some PBR and some new marigolds!

Porch Days said...

I decided on the beer (sorry Matt). It was with glee that I emptied three cans full of slugs this morning. There must be drunk raccoon somewhere because one can had been moved and was empty!