09 June 2010

slugs, bugs and beer

I want lace on my knitting needles, but not in my garden.

To bring you up to speed: this year I'm tending an urban garden in my boyfriend's backyard. (He graciously donated about a third of his yard to this project so I can't have BUGS eating my plants!)

Currently most of my broccoli plants and a handful of my bean sprouts look the delicate lace leaves of a hand knit shawl. The culprits, I suspect are two varieties of beetles and a clan of slugs . . . well, not to mention the rabbits . . . but they seem to be afraid of the garden hose. So I have a handle on the rabbits . . . I think.

Never get to cocky about your garden. That's rule number one.

Rule number two is expect the unexpected. With this new garden on a new site in the city I knew I would be coming up against many unknowns. For instance, the soil that I found beneath the sod in the backyard seemed rich and loamy. It's filled with earthworms and plant matter, but I still don't know whether it will have the right matrix to sustain hearty vegetables.

I've brought in some compost from my parents' farm and started a compost pile of my own in the back of the lot, but the success of this garden will take time. I just want to see my plants grow into their blossoms so that they have a chance to produce fruits.

To do that I have to outsmart the bugs, slugs and rabbits. Like I noted earlier, the rabbits seem to be afraid of the garden hose I've wrapped around our tiny garden, but ultimately I'll probably need a short fence. The bugs and slugs are my immediate concern. I've tried a mild soapy spray on the leaves of my plants, because I will not use chemicals.

What seems to be working the best, however, is beer. A dollop of beer in the array of ceramic coffee cups that I have strategically placed around the garden. I found the coffee cups stashed in Garrett's garage. (He doesn't use these cups because they have a rim of metallic glaze that makes them spark in the microwave.)

The slugs don't mind. They seem to love slithering over that silver edge and plopping into the frothy pool of golden liquid I've set out for them. Too bad once they're in they can't get out!

Ah, the adventure and anxiety of a garden.

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