Friday, June 18, 2010

The slugs are winning...

In March, when we were making soil blocks and planting seeds I had a fantasy of harvesting vegetables from our garden for our table. I did not picture a thriving population of slugs and snails enjoying them first. They seem to prefer the brassicas (kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli) but they are gaining on the potatoes and the rhubarb. This region, like many areas on the East coast, suffered a tremendously damp and cool summer last year which may have given the slugs a leg up (they need one! HA!). But this could also be par for the course around here. I just don't know. My only recourse is to head up the to the garden in the evening with 2 cans of 'natty ice' and begin pouring.

I have placed bowls on several of the beds they like to congregate in. Crouched near the ground with wafts of cheap beer surrounding me, childhood memories of late night wedding receptions and big hair flood in. I leave these bowls of beer out overnight and come back the next day, horrified and amazed by the abundance of creation.

This photo, as impressive as it is, is a week into this routine. The first night I did this the bowl was full, FULL with a crusty top, of slugs. I take them down to the chickens who, after walking over and through them a few times, gorge themselves. If I eat an egg from a hen who ate slugs, who ate the kohlrabi I planted, I am still 'harvesting' from my garden by a circuitous path. So I suppose right now the slugs are winning in the timeline, but ultimately we can't lose.

If anyone has experience with vast numbers of ravenous slugs and snails and has had success by a different method, please fill me in. I do like vegetables.



  1. Please tell me you end up with a flock of drunken chickens.

  2. Well, they are wild about slugs in beer soup, but they usually get this concoction 24 + hours after the initial pour, so I bet the available alcohol is minimal. Chickens habitually have panic at the ready, so I don't even know if they would take pleasure from a downer or not. They are so safe in their little house that they might as well relax with a cold one every once in a while. Maybe they will evolve to appreciate the refined and protected life we offer and take a load off with a cold one.

  3. This sounds like a more civilized way of preparing Beer Can Chicken. I hope Garth wasn't too angry with you for raiding his "secret" stash of Natty Ice.

  4. Natty Ice: the official beer of garden slugs. And college students.

    Are you getting fewer slugs a week in because the population is decreasing or because even slugs can't drink Natty Ice on a daily basis?

  5. Alanna: I think you should stay up some night and sing to them at the top
    of your voice, then the next day invite a shaman in to do the same the following night, then the last resort buy rock salt and pour it near their next
    area of dining. Judy and I used the rock salt technique in Orient near the
    back door where our cat feed. They also love cat food. Buy them a case and say, this is your food-- the plants are mine. Then, try singing all night.


  6. Ben, I thought I was beginning to win because there have been fewer slugs dead in the natty ice bowls, but come to think of it, when I pick the bowls up to dump them out, I find that there are even more slugs under the bowl than in it. So they must be hiding from the Natty Ice. You are so right!

  7. Sounds like you are really just hitting the slug population but the slugettes are all hiding under the bowl disinterested. I would recommend that you also put out a few bowls of mike's hard lemonade or long island iced tea. If that doesn't work, you could try Ben's famous semi-organic slug killer. Just mix 3 teaspoons of fresh spring water, 1 crumbled leaf, 2 teaspoons of dirt, 1 pebble, and 50 gallons of high-toxicity slug killer in a bathtub and then spray it liberally on your garden.