And now back to slugs, my primary focus this week. Why did I choose them as my topic today? Was it for the fact that I have just found a dozen of gigantic slugs (bigger than me) in my Hosta bed? Or maybe it was the whole part of the Lupin bed that has mysteriously disappeared just when it was about to display its wonderful blooms? Or is it the horror in the veg garden and the salad beds? It's all that, and then some. My dad is quite brutal when it comes to slugs, he goes about with his mini-torch and just burns them to death, or stabs them on the long metal bar while creating his very own type of shish kebab. He's also one of those people who think beer traps are a serious waste of beer. Years ago I've talked him out of using the non-organic, highly toxic and wrongly tagged 'wildlife-friendly' slug pellets, making quite an effort to prove that there is no such thing if it consists of Metaldehyde and methiocarb, a pair of mean killers that allow no antidotes. Never mind the victim. I have also found it quite cruel to put salt on slugs. It just seems way too brutal and painful for any living being to experience. And slugs are, after all, living beings, with a bad and incurable habit to pick on gardeners and spoil their flowery dreams. Being greedy is yet another of their many virtues, but then again, who are humans to preach about greediness. My favourite weapon of revenge are the beer traps (at least they die drunk and happy), Diatomaceous earth and the likes of it, whose effect fades away with first drops of rain, just as fast as they cross the copper wire.
Sometimes I just throw them over the fence. They probably don't endure much longer over there as my omnipresent neighbour walks about with scissors cutting them in half. Did I mention her before? She's a lovely old lady with a spirit and zeal of a teenager (and a pair of scissors in her pocket, ever since I talked her out of using slug poison too), who spends days and days protecting and loving both her perennial and vegetable garden, and proudly fights the handicaps her age has afflicted upon her. I know it is impossible to get rid of them once and for all, I think our moist climate even with the extremes of hot and cold is still idyllic for them. The only method I haven't tried and am thinking of trying are Nematodes, but that also seems a painful death. Any experience anyone?
Did you know that...
- each cubic meter of soil contains about 200 slugs
- slugs have approximately 25 000 teeth
- slugs consume around twice their body weight per day
- they can have up to 90 000 grandchildren ( talk about baby boom)
- some slugs only live on rotting vegetation so those in the compost heap, you should leave them be
- young slugs stay underground feeding on humus and waiting for hasty gardeners to plant their young seedlings
- everything you kill would have been someone/something else's lunch
The bottom line, I don't moan at slugs (not really, it's just that I collected 53 off a single head of lettuce), as much as I moan about the weather. The continual damage that Homo sapiens has unleashed upon this planet is finally blown into our faces. The Mediterranean climate, or any other, is hardly what it was before, we can have disastrously dry and barren years, and then again we can live on the verge of floods for ages and have waterlogged gardens. As far as the slimy buggers are concerned, I know I haven't done and am constantly NOT doing all I can to prevent the wreak havoc in the veg garden as well as my flower beds, a few beer traps here and there will not save the day, and I'm way too dispirited to start a brewery of me own. My dad is away on a business trip so no grilling or stabbing either, I'd definitely say the guys are having a feast of their lives. And as for hedgehogs, they must have realized by now that there's just too many slimy buggers out there and they just cannot keep up with their amoeba-like reproductive capabilities. I know we all have different climates, different gardening conditions, different slug populations, but I also know for those of us who love 'grooming' perennials in moist conditions, they are enemy number one.