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April 25th, 2011

Random Wishes & the Green Creep of Spring

I wish I had the patience and time to sit in my basement and watch my seeds grow. Wow, that sounds incredibly boring. OK, so maybe I’ll wish instead for some time-lapse photography equipment so that I could witness the glory and wonder that I assume surrounds the breaking through the surface of soil by the meek yet powerful tomato seedling.

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My first tomato seedling is an Itailian Heirloom

Like a sunrise or explosion. Or some kind of mathematical miscalculation or a statistical long shot, the tiny seed does it again, bursting onto the scene with the newness and grace of a baby antelope: one moment is birth, the next is running for its life with the herd.

Am I being over-dramatic? Do I attach too much significance to the lowly germination of a seed? I think not. I’m still in awe. And hopefully always will be. Me: the perpetual gardening simpleton.

On a larger scale, I am always humbled and silenced by that slow yet fast springtime creep of green over the hills in the distance. The trees look so soft and furry, mostly green, but sometimes reddish, with little dollops of white, yellow and pink from those flowering trees: the cherries, magnolias, and dogwoods.

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The Pennsylvania hills grow soft and green in the distance.

Sometimes I wish spring would last all year. But as George Harrison sings, “Sunrise doesn’t last all morning, a cloudburst doesn’t last all day: All things must pass.”

But while I’m wishing…I’d also like to wish for one of those electric cars. Hey Chevrolet, give me a Chevy Volt. Hey Nissan, give me a Leaf. Seriously, I think giving the online editor at OG an electric car would be a smart PR move. My commute to work screams out for an electric car. I would like to expunge gasoline from my life. Think about it.

On my way home the other day, I saw this sign: Beer cheaper than gas. Drink, don’t drive.

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That sort of sums it up...

Which reminds me, when the slugs start decimating your greens, put out little cups of beer. They’ll get so excited by the prospect of free beer that they’ll forget all about your lettuce or young tender broccoli plants. Learn more about trapping slugs with beer.

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May 25th, 2010

Slugs, Beer & the Moral Dilemma


My garden is hardly ever a place for moral dilemmas or ethical decisions.

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The dividing line between good and bad is pretty clear. My general policy is Live and Let Live. Unless, of course, you are a malicious little bug intent on destroying my crops—then I will kill you.

I’ve smashed countless Japanese beetles, Colorado potato beetles, grubs, and cabbageworms. One crunch and you know they’re dead. But lacking crunchable parts, slugs offer no satisfaction—and no audible way to tell they’re dead.

At first I tried diplomacy. I spread coffee grounds around my plants, which apparently makes the slugs lose their appetite and wander off. This worked well for a while, but after these last few days of wet weather, the slugs came back with a vengeance.

I found slugs on nearly every plant in my garden: bok choy, kohlrabi, Brussels spouts, broccoli, chard, collards, potatoes, spinach—even on my peas! The only things left untouched were my carrots and my tomatoes, but I knew it was just a matter of time. The diplomacy of coffee grounds had failed. It was time to crank it up a notch.

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It was time for beer.

And that’s where I ran into the moral dilemma. Is it wrong to waste good beer on slugs? Then I remembered I had a can of cheap beer in the fridge, left over from some long-past family picnic.

Why beer? The slugs are attracted to the fermented yeast. Place shallow cups of beer around your garden, and the slugs will fall in and drown. Learn more about slug control here: Slug Stoppers.

I set little cups in each of my raised beds and poured the first round. Here’s to you slugs. Drink and be merry for tomorrow you’ll all be dead.

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