Monday, April 05, 2010

Limitations of Spring: Weather, Slugs

With hail in the forecast last week I was glad I hadn’t invested too much effort or cash into this year’s garden. To protect the few tender seedlings that I had already put in the ground, I placed a few “cloches,” fashioned from recycled plastic drink bottles, over them. The hail never materialized but we have had high winds and heavy rains the past few days. Above is a 5-inch green bean seedling in its plastic housing.

Of course wet weather means snails and slugs are on the prowl. I never have good luck with greens. What few butter head lettuce seedlings that sprouted in the half wine barrel appear to have succumbed to the slimy pests. I can’t figure out where they hide during the day. Could they possibly climb the height of the barrel then commute back down under it at dawn? It seems like quite a haul, and it’s not like I can just tip it up and casually peek under. It weighs about a ton. Or, could this be the result of marauding birds? These two pictures were taken only days apart.

Whatever the culprit, they are ruthless. Here is a small arugula seedling I placed a berry basket over. Notice the damage on the protruding portion of the tiny leaf? Someone’s been sampling.

During a dry spell Saturday, I got to work on some seed starts for succession planting. Here is a photo of what I am calling my pop-bottle “greenhouse.”


Bill Bird said...

Do you have a cat? Empty cat food cans (the small cans)? Place as many cans that you can into the garden -- near your edibles -- fill cans with beer (yes -- BEER) -- and you will find every slug within shouting distance in those beer filled cans the next morning.

Easy way to get rid of the sluggies.


Christine said...

Bill, I will try that, thanks. I can't stand those slippery little suckers!

Ron McDonald said...

I'll have to try the beer trick... kinda forgot about it. I leave enough unfinished beers in my garden to supply the whole nieborhood.
That mulch you have in the barrel gives slugs plenty of places to hide.

Christine said...

Ron, Thanks for stopping by the blog. I know it looks like mulch in the barrel but it was labeled as compost. It was finer than mulch but too chunky (in my opinion) for compost. A disappointing purchase.