Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday's Timely Tip

Howdy. I noticed at least three typos in the previous post.

Please forgive me for my bad grammaring.

You probably noticed that I haven't posted for a couple of weeks. That is because I have been inundated with work to finish my MA project, write-up and defense. I also started my new, full-time job.

So things have been a bit busy.

In any case, Tuesday's tip is in regards to slugs. I intend to post on Friday regarding the compost system and it is then that I will provide pictures of the garden so far.

Slugs and snails are a major nuisance. We have used eggshells in the past, and they have worked somewhat. To use eggshells to deter slugs, you just save a bunch of them and let them get dried out. Then you crush them and sprinkle a barrier around each plant or planting bed. It can be about 1/4 inch wide. Slugs will get sliced to ribbons on them, so that works pretty well.

The problem is that worms would come up from the ground at night and mess up the eggshell barriers. Also, the snails around here are massive, and they just plow through the barriers. So the eggshells were only semi-effective.

I admit that I used slug bait once. I feel bad, but it worked really well. You can just buy bags of it at your local nursery or home and garden store.

We also tried cups of beer, sunk in the ground. The idea is that the beer was very attractive to slugs and snails and they would find the stuff and then drown in the cups. This worked fine, but dirt filled the cups pretty fast.

So what works? Two things: chickens and timing the watering. Oh, make it three things: kids also.

Our chickens get let out pretty early in the day. They spend most or all of the day wandering the yard. They eat bugs like made and they love slugs and snails. There are far fewer of these slimy critters these days. Also, we only water in the morning. This lets the ground dry out during the day so that when evening falls, which is when the slugs and snails love to come out, the ground in the garden is dry. This seems to be deterring them also.

Finally, send kids out to roam the garden patches in the morning. Their mission: hunt down and slaughter all snails and slugs. Sometimes they toss the evil slimers to the chickens and the chickens do the wet work.

Totally organic. Totally effective. Totally freaking cool.

Finally, we dropped the price of the surplus tomato plants to $2 and they went like hotcakes. We sold all of them in about two weeks.

That's all for today. Back Friday for some compost and pictures.

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