Saturday, November 08, 2008

let the games begin

This might sound crazy, but I spent half an hour this evening spraying coffee on my vegie patch. Something has been chewing my plants for a couple of years now. At first it was just in one area of the plot... miniature, cute spring onions would poke out of the soil one day, and the next day they were gone. Poof. Disappeared.

I figured it was snails eating them but I had no real proof. In winter I planted broccoli. Again, all disappeared over the course of a few nights. This year I planted snow peas and as I write, they are slowly being eroded by the mystery pest. Not even the chickens are winning over this pestilence.

I have never seen snails in my garden and there don't seem to be slugs hiding in the sleepers, so I've been making stabs in the dark at what might be attacking my precious vegies. That is perhaps too generous a description, because if I had truly been stabbing in the dark I would by now have discovered any snail or slug that ventured out under cover of night.

Yesterday I bought an organic gardening magazine. I was interested to read that snails and slugs exposed to caffeine die of heart attacks. So I headed out to the garden early this evening armed with a spray bottle of fresh coffee and set about coating every leaf, shoot and inch of soil with the brown fluid.

When you spray soil by hand you get down on your hands and knees, all close and personal and somehow details you might otherwise have missed gain new found significance. And that's when I saw them. All those little black slugs, barely half a centimetre long, sitting on top of the dirt making the most of last night's deluge. Hundreds of them congregated around every little seedling and plant.

How could I have missed them before? There were so many! All over the place!! I'm hoping they've all suffered fatal cardiac arrests by now. I sprayed 1.5 litres of coffee all over them! In case they haven't I followed up the coffee with another piece of advice - yeast. I mixed up some dry yeast in warm water, added a little sugar and salt and buried cups of this enticing mixture in the dirt. Tonight, any slugs that might have the tenacity to survive the caffeine fix are going to crawl on over to that yeast mix and drown. I'm banking on it. My organic vegetable patch is also banking on it.

So. Let's see what happens.

Slugs - the games have begun and I'm working my darnedest to make sure I win!

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At 11:29 pm, November 08, 2008, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

Coffee and grubs, this is a new one for me Cecily, keep us posted on whether it works or not. I've always done the beer drink for them. They seem to die very happy that way.

At 5:21 am, November 09, 2008, Blogger Cherie said...

And here you are a nurse - dolling out heart attacks!

Good for you! Anytime pests can be eliminated without harsh chemicals is a score for the planet. Good for you, Cecily. I hope your slugs float to that big slugfest in the sky and give your veggies a fighting chance!

At 7:03 pm, November 09, 2008, Blogger Robyn said...

Let me know if it works! We have little black slugs too...


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