Monday, May 23, 2011


Now in my second year of blogging, it's fun to look back at 2010's posts. Google Blogger's admirable infrastructure (labels, archival dating, and internal Google Search), makes it easy to retrieve information and assess progress.

In March, April, and May of last year, I was engaged in mortal combat with snails and slugs, and devoted three posts to my struggles. Snails and slugs, part 3 will link you back to the series if you're interested in some nostalgia.

This spring, thanks largely to a year's liberal use of Sluggo Plus, our garden is virtually free of land mollusks and their fellow travelers -- sow bugs and earwigs. "Virtually," of course, is a word from computer jargon. It often means "not quite," or "notable exceptions abound." I don't think I've seen a single slug in the spring of 2011, and three or four snails is about average for a whole week. Often, this year's snails are found clinging to bricks or dry branches where they have climbed to wait out the dry summer months.

Feeling smug about snails and slugs, then, and with May more than half gone, I was shocked to find the largest snail of the year a couple of days ago. It was blissfully clinging just inside the lip of my new rhubarb pot! Ironically, I discovered it while sprinkling Sluggo Plus around the plant. I'd seen some damage to new leaves and attributed it to sow bugs, so brought out the heavy artillery. The intruder was revealed when I lifted a small leaf to make sure I'd covered the soil's entire surface. It was tempting to leave him/her to die slowly ("twisting in the wind," as it were), but I opted for my usual "stomp in the gutter" routine.

Not having seen any snail trails leading up to the pot, BTW, I strongly suspect that the snail came from Marina Garden Center WITH the rhubarb. The evidence would have been easy to spot, as it would have to cross an expanse of dry paving stones and rough bricks.

You can be sure that next time I buy a plant I'll check the pot for pests.

Meanwhile, I plan a progress report on the offensive against parking-strip weeds.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License