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The last few days I have begun to notice some pest damage to my plants outside. This morning I took a nice long stroll with a cup of coffee and inspected the situation.

Slugs have been munching on the collard greens and the raspberry bushes. I have also noticed holes in some melon and squash starts, which is another sure sign of slugs. There were a few I caught in the act, but they were so darn small it wasn’t worth the squashing of slug guts.

There are plenty of tricks to getting rid of slugs, like putting aluminum foil or grit down near the base of the plants. Slugs are suppose to tear their bellies trying to crawl over this stuff. There have been friends of mine that did well burying a cup of beer into the ground, letting the slugs fall in and drown themselves. My favorite was simply letting my chickens free-range in the backyard. Not one slug seemed to live long enough to eat any of my plants. The trade off though would be watching all my seeds get dug up or the new starts get bulled over by my tromping ladies.

I decided to just suck it up, save myself some time and just buy some Sluggo.

(Let me just state for the record that I am not receiving anything from any company to talk about products/books. From time to time I might mention a brand I have used or book I have read, and I will always be honest if I liked it or I didn’t. I have never been one to hold back my opinion on things – just ask my loved ones.)

Different things work for different people, but this is an organic slug deterrent that is safe if ingested by pets and wildlife. I don’t remember it being so dang expensive, but it works really quickly as I recall from my pre-chicken days. I meandered through the yard sprinkling some of the pellets where I noticed slug damage and I expect the slug problem to be gone within a couple days.

The next pest is not really something I consider a pest, but rather a new resident of the garden. A mole found his way to my patch. Moles do not actually do a whole lot of damage in the garden. A benefit is that they push up rich earth from deep in their tunnels, which I used today to push in around some new transplants. Since I don’t have a flat, green lawn they don’t bother me so I will let them be. I have heard shoved moth balls down their tunnels is a deterrent, in case you should find that helpful.

The most annoying pest issues discovered today are possible aphids. I say possible because I didn’t actually see any. I did see a ton of ants though crawling through my currant bushes. When I see a large amount of ants I automatically think of aphids. The ants are drawn to the sweet substance left behind ahpids, so ants will actually farm them. The ants protect the aphids and the aphids then feed the ants. Yuck. I hate aphids.

Beneficial insects in the garden will chew up aphids, but I am afraid all those lady bugs might not be grown enough yet to handle the problem. I made a concoction of dishwashing liquid and garlic that I diluted with water. The dishwashing soap is suppose to dry out their bodies and the garlic is a repellent. My little water sprayer in hand, I gave the shrubs a good dousing of the liquid.

I went to the garden store to pick up the Sluggo and somehow ended up with a cart full of other stuff. Surprise, surprise. I broke down and bought two varieties of lavender to plant along our front pathway to the house, five of each. They are both gray varieties with slightly different shaped leaves and flower colors, so I alternated the plantings. Should be quite pretty once they grow in.

The plant store also had a 50% off sale on some spring bulbs. I am really late to be planting these, but I tried to pick packages where the bulbs still seemed strong. I ended up with a couple yellow calla lily bulbs, some yellow and red crocosmias, and a few caladium bulbs. They all went in the ground today and I am anxious to see who makes an appearance this summer. Not bad for a day’s work.

In other news, my grandfather is doing as well as we can hope. Thanks for the kind words everyone. The doctor says he still won’t recover to where he was a month ago, and they are giving him six months, but who knows what that all really means. I had some great visits with him this weekend though and appreciate you all thinking of me.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson