Sunday, April 15, 2012

Snails and Slugs and Escargot

OK so why bother with this post on a Sunday night?  Maybe I should be writing some beautiful reflective article about rainbows, flowers and chocolate cake (though we did have that tonight - chocolate cake in a mug - decadent delight) but this is not it.  Tonight I want to talk about snails and slugs.  And yes it's not symbolic of anything incredibly spiritual or deep.  It's those slimy, slippery - always-eating-my-new-vegetable-seedlings-thing-a-machigs (did you ever use that word when you were at school?)

So while my family were doing the dishes after a delicious dinner of pork, mash and salad followed by choc cake in a mug (I mentioned that didn't I?) - I headed outside with a torch and my crocs.

I don't like crocs much (that would be plastic/rubber shoes for my foreign friends - not crocodiles - because in South Africa we do not have wild life in our back yard - at least not in Cape Town - unless you would consider my children wild life).  I have a pair of crocs - pink ones - which I use: not for fashion but for crushing those slimy snails and slugs underfoot.

I can just see you scrunching your face up and considering whether you want to continue reading this but let me explain.  I am no organic-green-recycle-everything-type of girl - in fact having to recycle just irritates me but I want vegetables and I want them to be without all poisons and pesticides that you find in the store, unless you pay a fortune for the organic ones which in our current economic climate is not affordable.

So we have slugs and snails and I need to get rid of them. 

I tried  a few less gross methods of getting rid of them:
*  making beer traps (my dad thought this was sacrilege to waste it on snails and I didn't want to explain every time my friends came around, that the beer in our house was for the snails and slugs - honestly, how many of you would have believed THAT?).
* I tried putting salt on the ground but then I worried that the ground might become to salty (I mean if you put too much salt on chips or popcorn, it spoils it, so surely it will do the same with soil?).  Not sure how scientific that is but it can't be good to keep putting salt on the soil.
* I put down egg shells which are supposed to cut their slimy bits and stop them from eating your plants - but it looked awful.  It looked like we were dumping our trash in our garden and the birds started to take wide detours around our house, no doubt fearing we were egg thieves.
*  Apparently if you put wet newspaper on the ground at night, the slugs and snails like this.  The next morning all you have to do is go outside, fetch the newspaper full of all these creatures and then dispose of them. There wasn't one slug or snail in all those layers when I tried it. Maybe its because I put out the Sunday Independent rather than the Sunday Slimes.
*  I read that if you attract certain birds to your garden, they'll eat the snails, which also didn't happen - besides the horror of them seeing all the broken egg shells in our gutter garden, our cat-want-to-be-tiger, does very little to encourage confidence in any bird, that our house is a place of safety.

Then I stumbled upon a site which said that slugs and snails like to come out at night or when it rains and so if you head out at night with a torch you will find these criminals.  Which I did.  There they were - guilty, guilty, guilty -eating all my precious plants.  And so the process started of eliminating them from my garden. I just pluck them off and crush them underfoot - it's something I will never get used to and I grit my teeth and bear it, just like I did when I knew that one of my babies had delivered a special parcel in their diaper, but you just do it.

Of course anyone driving past my house at night might suspect that there is a rather suspicious criminal loitering around our house, and I am surprised that no one has yet called the police - but maybe that's just the sort of behaviour they expect from us, across the street - you know those people with those children who do that weird thing called homeschooling.

Though mind you, it could be far worse - I could be recycling the snails and eating escargot for breakfast, lunch and supper - now that would be a interesting outcome.  Anyone keen for a snack?

Growing Home

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