Friday, July 17, 2009
Slug Fest '09
While looking for a good place in the backyard to build an ark in anticipation of the eventual flood from the 40 days of rain we've been experiencing, I took a walk around the garden and noticed the plants each had 5-8 slugs on them. What really set me over the edge was the slug that wrapped itself around a new bud on my fig tree and then ate the entire thing. Normally I say live and let live, but now this was personal. Just as my father declared war on the neighborhood squirrels after they broke into his birdfeeder, so now I, too, declared war against the slugs.
I don't like pesticides of any kind, so preferred to stick with more natural preventatives. Looking through the fridge, I chose what was on hand - Sam Adams Light. It was a shame pouring a bottle of Sam into a shallow purple bowl and to set out in the garden for the slugs, but sacrifices are necessary in time of war.
The next morning I did a preliminary investigation of the bowl and was rewarded with 8 slugs that had drowned in the sudsy foam of doom. I felt a slight twinge of guilt but knew I had to reduce the slimy menace from my beloved little garden.
After work I checked again. It was Happy Hour at the new bar in the middle of my garden. A crowd of slugs surrounded the bowl and more were making a distinct beeline for it.
The next day, I found more slugs and realized I needed to refill the bowl with beer, but I didn't want to fill it with the good stuff again. I went across the street to the local package store to view the selection. Ultimately I chose O'Doul's so see if the slugs would go for a non-alcoholic malt beverage. Based on what I saw over the next couple days, it doesn't matter if its alcoholic or non-alcoholic beer. Slugs love them both and it'll save you some decent cash in the long run to go for non-alcoholic.
Although the beer worked its magic, there were still a decent amount of slugs remaining on the plants. In doing some research, I discovered that while slugs love malt, they hate caffeine. Since I rarely drink coffee, I have to rely on my wife to supply me with grounds from her morning coffee. Every morning, I sprinkle the coffee grounds around the edge of the garden. Since coffee grounds are great as fertilizer, it's also good for the overall garden health.
The result has been a dramatic drop in slug activity in my garden. Now the beer trough only catches an occasional slug here and there, the ones that happen to get by the caffeine border surrounding my garden. For the moment, I'm winning the war against the slugs and so will keep up my vigilance and step up my efforts when I notice an increase in slug activity. I still hold out hope that we'll get warmer, drier days to come, because I really don't want to move forward with building an ark.