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Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Garden's Planted—and Slugs Are Noshing

Jessica Walliser
Hobby Farms Contributor

Hobby Farms blogger Jessica Walliser treats her garden's slug problem with a an iron-phosphate bait, as chemical baits are poisonous to mammals. Photo by Jessica Walliser (HobbyFarms.com)
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I treat my garden's slug problem with a an iron-phosphate bait, as chemical baits are poisonous to mammals.

I am thrilled to pieces that the vegetable garden is fully planted! I've been chiseling away at it for the past several weeks, and yesterday I finally hammered in the last of the tomato stakes. Everything is coming along beautifully, and despite a few issues with slugs, even the pole beans look good.

Our lettuce has produced incredibly well this year, keeping us elbow deep in salads for a few months now, and soon the first of the Swiss chard and beets will be ready to harvest. I've already made a few cuts of one of my favorite crops: a stir-fry greens blend from Renee's seeds. It's a mixture of baby kale, mustard greens, bok choi, chard and mizuna and is super delicious when brazed in olive oil or blended into a Thai-style stir-fry dressed with coconut milk and curry paste.

Another favorite spring crop we've been enjoying is our strawberries. One of my soon-to-be-tackled summer projects is a complete overhaul of our strawberry patch. It's been a few years since they've been separated and replanted, and the patch is full of ground ivy, clover and lots of other weeds. It's so overrun that I fear the only way to "fix" it is to completely dig up the whole strawberry patch and separate out the strawberry plants by hand. I'm considering moving them to another bed entirely so I can smother out any remaining weeds with a thick layer of mulch and finally get a handle on them.

I grow a mixture of berries so transplanting them to another bed while keeping the varieties separate will be difficult, if not impossible. I'm thinking that in the long run, it doesn't really matter. A weed-free strawberry patch is more important than a well-labeled one! I also suspect that one of the reasons we've been having such an issue with slugs this spring is because of all the weeds in the strawberry patch. I think that's where they are sheltering at night. Hopefully, by cleaning up the bed, some of the slugs will be sent packing to the compost pile!

In the vegetable garden, I've been using an iron-phosphate-based slug bait, which I sprinkle around the beans, broccoli and cabbage plants. I avoid using the chemical baits because those kinds of baits are very poisonous to mammals and I never know when my dog is going to get into the garden. The iron phosphate ones work just as well and are much safer to use. Plus, if I use them, I don't have to waste any good beer on the slugs!

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The Garden's Planted—and Slugs Are Noshing

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Reader Comments
Ick.
Galadriel, Lothlorien, ME
Posted: 2/3/2014 12:13:56 AM
slugs in the garden are a never ending battle, yet we can win some times, best of luck.
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 6/17/2013 2:48:57 PM
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