And the bad

Not to dwell too much on the negative, I will try to be brief.

1) Slugs and snails have overrun the earth. The constant rain and cool temperatures have been perfect conditions for gastropods. They continue to decimate crops. The fennel and carrot seedlings – gone. Courgette flowers, leaves, stems, and, worst of all, baby zucchini, are mercilessly attacked and eaten. I have yet to have any cabbage, arugula or kale successfully established. Even my sweet peas, which are usually resplendent, have slimy trails on them; buds are eaten off, leaving the long stem mockingly behind.

When I planted out my second round of bean plants I attempted to protect these with a barrier of sharp-edged eggshells:

Ouch, ouch, ouch. Like walking on shards of glass with bare feet, or one giant foot, if you’re a slug.

The Amazon slugs must just have laughed at this pitiful attempt. My bean plants lasted a couple days longer than the first ones before they, too, became leaf-less sticks. I was too disheartened to take a photo. (In other news, neighbors who liberally carpet the ground with little blue slug pellets have flowers on their runner beans…)

2) Remember those ripe and succulent redcurrants still to be harvested? When I went back to pick them I found the bush bare, stripped of every last crimson orb. Somehow a bird (perhaps a whole flock?) had gotten in through some gap in the netting and eaten the berries leaving the stems hanging empty. Never count your berries before they are picked! It’s made that first punnet taste especially good, though.

3) I’ve lost my set of keys somewhere on the allotment. Even after borrowing a friend’s metal detector I am no closer to discovering them – though I do have a nice collection of rusty nails.

The funny thing is that though I get mad, frustrated and disappointed, ultimately I’m an optimist when it comes to the garden. I’m willing to try again, to wait ’til next year, to be grateful for what we’ve managed to grow (since thankfully we don’t have to subsist on it).

Though who knows how long that essential optimism will last if this gloomy summer weather becomes the new normal year after year.




3 thoughts on “And the bad

  1. Ouch! Condolences. You are right, one always hopes that next year will be better in this or that regard. I’d have broken down and used the pellets–hats off to your principled behavior. Here–well, at the risk of “me too,” we have had our problems with small predators, though small, too, in comparison. They’ve eaten my clematis, parsley, and annuals in planters. After finding the clematis sprout chopped off for the third time, we encaged the plant in an elaborate set-up (wire, stones) and now it is bravely heading upwards again. One has to worship plants! Meanwhile we haven’t seen any rain on Village Lane in over a month, and today’s temperature is heading for 100 degrees F.


  2. Returned home from lovely two days in Portsmouth to find both lush planters of herbs on my deck exhibiting chopped off stems everywhere. Disbelief and fury! Only thing left was thyme,
    sage , and rosemary. While I was ranting to Gary, out of the corner of my eye I spy the culprit.
    A medium sized woodchuck! These wily pests usually never venture closer than the apple tree, but there he is. Gary charges out but he flies off the deck to greener pastures. The next morning our beautiful buttercup squash plants have all been pruned with precision. We had
    already treated them with deer and rabbit repellant but that was just salad dressing I guess.
    I have my eye on several ripening peppers and tomatoes. They look so happy in their little brick enclosure. Will we ever get to actually eat them? Time will tell. Gardening, like aging, is not
    for sissies, as the saying goes!

    • Lovely to hear from you, Mom Nancy, here on the blog! It’s clear things are tough all over – I am definitely grateful that we don’t have to contend with ravenous rabbits or woodchucks as well as slugs. Looking forward to seeing (and tasting?) those tomatoes for myself…

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