On Wednesday night I enjoyed my very first salad made with lettuce from my own garden. I felt so in touch with the earth, with nature, that I enjoyed it while watching an episode of “Bones” on hulu. In all seriousness, though, I enjoyed that salad. My hands (and my mother’s) put the seeds into tiny trays and delicately covered them with soil, then I watered them and obsessed over them like my daughter’s first breaths, counting each little seedling as it sprouted. I gloried in the leaves growing bright bright green, reaching for the sun.
I did not glory in the slugs.
Okay, so I’m the girl who cried when my brother salted snails or held a magnifying glass over ants. It just seemed cruel. I didn’t even want to hear him talking about such things. Now I find myself wondering how to take care of these garden pests. Geoff Hamilton, the author of Organic Gardening, recommends dropping these little guys into a bucket of kerosene. While probably an instant death, it also sounds A) cruel, and B) dangerous with a toddler wandering around the backyard, managing to get into everything. For awhile my compromise was to launch them over the back fence and into the yard of the empty, bank-owned house next door. Now that people actually live there, it seems wrong. Especially because those people are nice. If they were mean, I’d probably do it anyway. Okay, okay, I threw a couple of slugs over there yesterday, and I feel really bad about it, okay? I’m not going to do it anymore.
My new compromise is probably worse than the instant kerosene death or the slow torture of the salt, but I bet it makes the little suckers happy in the short run. I stick ’em in the yard waste bin. It’s full of damp, decaying vegetation. Slug’s paradise, right? Yeah, until summer when that thing heats up like a slow-cooker.
If my slug-compassion gets too intense, I can always just plant arugula next winter. Bleh. That stuff is so bitter, even the slugs don’t want to eat it.