Drama in the Garden

Yesterday afternoon my tummy was feeling upset and I thought to myself, well I can lay around here feeling pathetic or go outside and get some fresh air.  So I went out to work in my garden.  The first thing I saw was this.

Some totally disgusting little varmint (probably a rabbit) ate all the leaves off of my potato plant.  Expletives were shouted in a loud voice.  Note to self: learn how to cook rabbit.

The other not so great situation is that all of my lettuces in my raised beds have been totally taken over and ruined by slugs.

This makes me very unhappy because during the heat of summer I love having salad every night.  When it got to the point that one head of lettuce contained more than 25 slugs I realized that I had lost the battle.  One night after more than three washes, my mom had a slug in her salad.  Not super appetizing.  So I decided to carry out the most severe form of punishment I could think of on the slugs.  I pulled up the lettuces, slugs and all, and fed them to my chickens and geese.  They were very happy chickens and geese!

While this process of removing all of my lettuce and five colored silverbeet from one of my raised beds was taking place, my girls came out to the garden to tell me that they heard a funny sound in the garage and they thought there was a rattlesnake in there.  I went to investigate and found that there was a snake, but it was a gopher snake.  The cats, Toby and Shadow, were harassing it and it was making itself look really scary.

I picked the snake up with a rake and put it in a bucket so that I could relocate it to another place on the ranch, far away from my house, my kids, my animals.  Imagine my surprise and the screaming that ensued when this snake launched itself like a rocket out of the bucket!  Luckily for me it sailed through the air in the opposite direction and quickly scuttled off into a giant butterfly bush.  In just a few seconds I could no longer see it.  That was a little scary also because now I have no idea where the thing is.

At the end of all this I noticed that my tummy felt great!  Must have been all the adrenaline.  So I went inside and had two margaritas to celebrate.

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6 responses

  1. Talk about a bad day. The only thing to do about the slugs is removed the mulch far away from the bed and let the bed become dry by nightfall. Water only in the morning. Slugs seem to come more some years than others–everything has a season, I supposed. One year, after almost giving up, I doused my raised bed with saline water from the pool. One dousing is not enough to kill the plants, but the slugs don’t like it.

    As far as rabbits go, I plant clover and leave scraps for them far away from my garden. They prefer the clover and clover is a good soil enhancer. I also have a birdfeeder to keep the flying animals away from my berries. My idea is to try to outsmart them.

    Snakes, eek! Mentally I know they have a purpose, but eek!

      • The pool water trick is a last ditch effort. Risky business. If you do manage to get rid of the slugs, the high chlorine water will strip all the nutrients from the soil. You’ll have to come back with some fertilizer. My recipe: Mix one cup of lemon dish washing liquid, one cup of lemon ammonia, one sweet soda can per one gallon of water for larger areas. Smaller amounts for potted plants.

  2. I saw a gopher snake down by the river that runs through downtown Santa Fe last week. It launched it self off the river bank (about 3′ above the river) to a tree without a net. Other people were taking photos and getting close. I know snakes can nearly fly, so I stayed a safe distance back.

  3. I have a tip about the slugs from my lovely mother-in-law. She puts beer around her garden and the slugs go crazy for it, and then they die. What she usually does is wait until beer has been consumed (so, like every day) and leaves a little in the can/bottle and puts them around her garden. The slugs climb into the container, die, and then she recycles the container. She says it really works.

  4. I’ve heard about the beer trick. (My experience, it gets some, but not all) Another one I heard about: Put a scrap piece of wood between the rows and the slugs will crawl under it overnight like vampires, hiding from the dawn. Boo-ooh-ahh! Let us know how things work out…

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