Beewatching’s Blog

Yummy!? Slugs and tomato leaves …
July 9, 2010, 9:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Baptisia, one of my favorite perennials

Don’t hate me, but I don’t have a deer problem. I live in the middle of town, with fences on three sides of the property. This means that only slugs feast on my hostas, otherwise known as deer candy. I leave the slugs alone, especially now that I’ve read that they are a choice nosh for the many fireflies who live in my backyard. Let them make a few little holes in the leaves, so their short lives are not devoid of pleasure.

Various mammals cross my garden path — rabbits, chipmunks, voles, opossums, groundhogs and, more rarely, a skunk or two. Since there are bird feeders, there are two other logical visitors: the neighbors’ cats, and squirrels. The latter, furry tailed rats that they are, have apparently bribed a grackle or two: I’ve seen those birds use their beaks to shovel showers of seeds into the air while they search for their own favorites in the mix. On the ground beneath, enjoying the bounty, the squirrels seem unfazed by the hot pepper coating intended to make the seeds unappealing to them. Perhaps their taste buds have now short-circuited and they no longer notice the burn.

Their willingness to eat stuff that shouldn’t taste good makes me suspect that a squirrel is the culprit who ate one of my tomato plants, admittedly the runt of the litter, down to a stick. Otherwise, who eats tomato leaves? In fact, I thought they were poisonous, although I’ve read that some fools smoke them for a cheap high. (I don’t think I want to cross paths with a hallucinating squirrel.) Hopefully, a memorable stomachache will prevent the same thing from happening to more of my crop. Rather than take chances, I’ll defend my plants with chicken wire and garden hose at the ready.

Speaking of slugs, this year I used shredded newspaper in the strawberry bed, into which I wound up placing the tomatoes that were left after I ran out of big pots. My strategy is simple: the slugs would be so distracted reading the local news (in slug-size bits) that they’d forget where they were headed and leave the plants alone. So far so good, because I know that plastic snake lurking nearby would not make any impression on them.

Hope the squirrels don’t eat the snake.


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