Yesterday I put the garden to bed for winter. It has been a couple months since I really paid the garden much attention and we’ve had a few frosts so most of the garden was already dismally dead, but underneath a mass of flowering arugula I found a whole spread of delicate, zippy greens. I guess that is what happens when you let all your spring greens bolt, bloom, go to seed and then sprout. YUM!
Under the arugula I also found slugs. HUGE slugs. I cleared out the rest of the beds and found their shimmering trails crisscrossing every corner of the garden.
As the unseasonably warm sunlight danced along the slug slime I drifted into the pleasant slugicidal daydreams shared by most gardeners. I needed chickens, obviously. I needed 3 or 4 bantam hens to come clucking along, hop into the garden and devour all the slippery slimy slugs. I made a mental list of all my friends who have chickens, maybe I could borrow a handful for a day or two, just to clear out the garden. Maybe we could then return most of them but keep one or two in a chicken house in the basement with a chicken run up the back basement stairs to the garage with a chicken sensor trapdoor to the yard. When they were inside we could have them in those little poultry panties, or have those dropping mats people have for their dogs. If it works for dogs it would work for chickens too right? Oh yeah, this was a good plan, really too good to be true.
Last year around this time my dad and I shared a text message conversation spanning a few days when we thought of how beneficial a hedgehog could be for the garden. Craigslist had a few hedgehogs listed in the area, but they really covered a lot of distance in one night. Maybe we could set up the perimeter of the property with an electric fence like the ones used for dogs, could a hedgehog be trained to stay within an electric fence? Our gardens could take turns as the little heddgie’s habitat, maybe every other week we could meet up in Milwaukee to trade off the hedgepig until winter took care of the creepy crawlies till spring. My dad has a worm bin in the basement, he could keep the hedgehog for the winter and feed it the overflow of worms along with whatever else hedgies eat. Eventually this plan stalled too, can’t imagine why. If hedgehogs can survive in England and Germany they should make it through a Wisconsin winter just fine.
This is how invasive species happen. You think it’s people having a pet somethingorother that accidentally gets loose, or it’s thanks to a flawed plan of some environmentalist group trying to “balance nature”, but it is in fact gardeners going a little crazy with their green thumbs. Earlier today I was reading about spotted slug snakes. They are not native to the Midwest… but that doesn’t mean if I let a couple dozen go in the back yard that all of them would perish, maybe a few would survive and establish a new population and eat all the slugs. Yet another brilliant, foolproof plan.
Slowly my mind cleared, it was time for lunch and the girls needed naps. Time to let winter work it’s wonderland magic on the garden for the next 9 months. Next year there is always the option to use slug killing scary chemical warfare, but if other mommy blogs are to be trusts if I use slug bait outside in my garden and then feed my kids veggies from said garden then my grandchildren will be three-headed slug monsters. No one wants to have three-headed slug monsters as grandkids, so I guess we will settle for a few quail as our super secret slug control weapon. It is the obvious solution.
And with that I’ll just leave you with this. I have most of her rant memorized by this point and still laugh every time.