Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Slug Fest & Super Sugar Snap Peas

The birds are seriously slacking. Usually I have a pretty decent sized mob that combs through the yard and gardens but they are otherwise distracted at the moment. We had some rains, enough to green the place up a bit and out came many more bugs. While I have squished a few cucumber beetles.. I am at war with the explosion of slugs. Usually the birds keep the numbers down, but not this year... and there are tons of them.

So I am out in the garden every evening and every morning just as the sun just starts to peek over the horizon.. chopsticks in one hand, jar of salty water in another. I don't care to handle the slugs, but the chopsticks let me reach just a little further in the tangle of peas to get at them. I have a bag of diatomaceous earth, but can't locate it. No doubt as soon as I get the next bag, the first one will reappear.

So the Burpee Super Sugar Snap Peas are in full swing. They are sooooo good. Even when they are very filled out.. voluptuous pods.. they are tender, juicy and sweet. They produce pretty well, but are so delicious that one pack of seeds was definitely not enough for our family of 3. I keep trying to add them to dinner and salads, but without an armed guard they get devoured seconds after I rinse them. My husband and daughter prefer them plain to boot!

Definitely will have to triple how many of those I plant next year. They are eating and picking them so heavily that I will have to buy the seed as no pod gets left behind.

The snow peas I have picked the last pound for a friend, let's just call him Tom. Although good.. and Tom loves them.. I am letting all of them go to seed now. Next year they will be planted again and I should have more than enough to also harvest the shoots.

So I sent off the extras to Tom.. several bunches of radish, about a pound of snow peas, 1 1/2 pounds of shelling peas, a 1/2 pound of dill, a 1/2 pound of chives, a massive massive bunch of catnip, a pound of kale, a 1/2 pound of arugula, 2 heads of romain lettuce, and a 1/2 pound of sugar snap peas. I know my dill is pretty powerfully flavored and Tom is so hooked on it that there is no such thing as too much... and his cat comes flying out of nowhere to pounce the catnip the moment my husband walks in the house (this rather large cat will try to climb up you to get at it).. but Tom tried the snap peas while talking to a mutual friend (will call him Jimmy.. who used to live down the block and used to get the extras).. and raved about them. lol Jimmy called us and said he is more than happy to drive across town should we need to unload extras.

I get as far as saving the seeds to perpetuate the crops, but I don't put up as much as I should. It gives me a lot of joy to share. Jimmy and Tom as well return the favor.

Anyways... the sun is almost coming up. I need to go get my chopsticks and get to slug hunting.


  1. I hate slugs.... I have been finding a few very small ones this year on the undersides of my zucchini and squash.

    Never had any issues with them in my garden before but it appears I am having some this year... grrrrrr.

    More birds thats the answer...

  2. Diatomaceous earth.. sprinkle that around the base of the plants. Slugs wander away from the plants and look for cover during the day. They will hide in mulch, in loose compost, under anything that will keep them cool and moist. I have actually found that a ton are hiding in the garlic plants. Because of the storms and winds the garlic has pulled away from the soil a bit and the slugs crawl right down next to the stalks to hide.

    Diatomaceous earth won't bother birds, mammals, etc.. but on bugs it is like they are crawling across broken salty glass. It cuts them up and literally draws the fats out of them. Flying bugs like your bees shouldn't be bothered as they well.. can fly to escape it and usually are more interested in the flowers vs getting at them from crawling on the ground.

    The Diatomaceous earth should also help with other squash and cucumber pests (the squash bugs, borers, etc.) as they should be just starting to hatch out now. The crawl out of the ground and make their way to the stems where they then bore in and can kill off the squash. The DE will make their pesky lives a bit more miserable too. As it is a surface dusting on the ground.. I have not had any issues with earthworms being bothered by it.

    Quite a few people reach for Sevin and forget that it kills almost all bugs.. beneficial bug predators, bees and wild pollinators included.

    Also.. if you have copper tape around.. you can make plant collars. It won't work for sprawling types, but you can protect other plants they chew on with it. Makes a mild electrical charge when they come in contact with it. Much like chewing tin foil when you have fillings.

    Hey now lol I love my mob of birds.. they make quick work of debugging the yard. I'd love chickens,or ducks.. but zoning laws prohibit it. My Mom is spoiled in that her neighbor has a ton of guinea hens that just roam about during the day. Fabulous birds for keeping tick populations down too.

  3. Ya I used to have guineas. I had 3 for a while then I went and bought 11 hens and a rooster and when I got them home I quickly had zero guineas... LOL a long story but ya know guineas roosters look exactly like hens :)

    Anyway I have also had ducks and chickens and sadly the last few years the raccoon population has climbed so bad that any poultry is decimated overnight. I am currently looking into a super mega pen for some more chickens but haven't gotten that far yet.

    As for the squash bugs I always get them and nothing I have tried has ever gotten rid of them completely. The slugs are new but I am going to try the earth trick you mentioned.

    I have also observed my bees doing some wierdness in the garden mud. Honestly I am not sure what they are doing but they seem to always go to the same spot after a rain although that spot does move from rain to rain. It's really odd I had a bird bath set up for them less than 30 feet from their hive so I simply have no clue what they want with the garden mud.

    And I love birds too.... sadly the new garden cat which is now more than an animated skeleton with fur has taken to stalking my garden birds :(

  4. Totally cracked up at the guinea roosters looking like hens. That is hilarious!

    It seems that quite a few people have noticed an over abundance of slugs this year. Some use a beer trap (container sunk in the ground with enough beer in the bottom to drown them) but our dog is a lush and when it comes to edible things he is overly motivated.

    The diatomaceous earth does bother the slugs.. but it has to be used before the onslaught. I've dusted the raised bed and it definately helped.. but it rained a few days later.

    I keep thinking the bees will move on.. but they seem to just love drinking from those starter pots. So I left 1 tray and it's only purpose is for the honeybees to drink. I have quite the swarm of various pollinators.

    Ah I envy your lovely set up Pioneer! Raccoons and all :)