Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am Slug, hear me munch

I seem to be a little fixated on slugs at the moment. Perhaps, having just planted a bed of lettuce greens and spinach, I am a little paranoid. They haven't yet germinated and already I have compulsive visions of stripped and ravaged young plantlets.

I've been using Sluggo (Iron Phosphate pellets, yes they are safe) now for years, and I'm pretty happy with the results. You do, however, have to replenish the bait and you do have to look at those little white pellets which look kind gross of after they start to sprout spores and mildew.
But it works-great. And it's easy. It is not, however, particularly cheap.

Try and use preventative measures to keep slugs under control. Keep the garden tidy and clean, and keep mulches away from the base of targeted plants. There are other prevention methods, like barriers: copper tape, eggshells, wood shavings if you aren't inclined to use bait. Some insane people actually hunt slugs at night with a flashlight and claim that it works but I say let them have a little nibble-I'd rather not have my husband send me to the psyche ward in the morning.

Not all slugs are bad, mind you. Our native Oregon banana slug is a good guy. He eats decomposed material, leaves and animal droppings and returns it to the soil. Don't kill this guy (and gal-they're hermaphrodites) if you trip over it in the forest.

The slug that feasts in our gardens is an import from Europe-Britain, in particular. A smaller, voracious thing that also likes techno music, has bad teeth and launches into incomprehensible tirades about how Americans put ice in their water and drive giant, gas guzzling pick-up trucks...sorry folks, but it looks like they're here to stay.

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