Deer Gardener

  • Aug. 22, 2011 1:00 p.m.

by Elaine Nyeholt–‘Plip Plop Plunk’ The satisfying sounds of slugs hitting the bottom of the container, as I ‘stoopedly’ scour our lawn in hunting mode. The baby slugs have hatched! Usually babies are good news, but not this time. During recent rainy days, I noticed many blades of grass have tiny sluglets clinging perilously to the tippy-top. Fear of drowning, a rational fear in my opinion. A wet-vac would be such a huge asset on these days. They gather easily and make the teensiest sound of ‘plip’ in my tin.Next come the ‘plop’ size slugs. They are usually oozing t’ward the edges of the lawn and thus are pretty easy to spot. These adolescent slugs are beyond drowning and voraciously seeking food, not unlike human adolescents huh? Their colouring can be beige, orange or black.The most satisfying sound is the ‘plunk’ of course. When these whoppers land I have prevented an entire generation of slugs! Yay me! The sleek black slugs showed up on these islands in the last 10 years or so. I do not recall them prior to then. Likely they arrived in soil brought here from the mainland. However the appearance happened, they have found a Shangri-la. The plip, plop, plunk rhythm accompanies me and I have time during this brain-less occupation to notice if the anticipated plip does not occur… O NO! Where did it land… Please, not on my person! Yuck. The creature, once scooped, curls into a fetal position, making it easy to retrieve. A ratio of 20 plips to five plops to one plunk seems a good guess. FYI Whilst we were at camp, the deer did a remarkable job of selectively eliminating my need to make a fence for the peas or beans. Good thing Bayview Market is a reliable source of excellent produce. The deer also trimmed the tops of the carrots, but the carrots are still growing nicely.Ya gotta love growing beets. Deer don’t bother them if there is any other choice. My beets didn’t sprout as fully as other years, so we haven’t been eating endless beet greens, but they are coming along nicely now. Lettuce, onions and garlic have done well for me this year too.It’s a wonderful year for potatoes. I’ve been sneaking the delectable baby spuds for awhile already. As soon as the plants bloom, they can be lightly harvested. Any volunteers growing in a less desirable location can be pulled up and utilized now. Continue loosely mounding grass clippings or other mulch around the potatoes to prevent any green showing up on the product. Since the green is caused by bright sun, I guess it’s a moot point! The mulch will ultimately enhance the soil for next year.In the flower garden, my yellow and orange blooms are excelling which makes me feel happy. I have brilliant multi-coloured calendula, California poppy, St. John’s wort, yellow daisies, dahlia and a really satisfying rose (well-fenced) that I forget the name of. Deer do not bother with the former, and they will bloom until frost, if I just remove the spent blooms, so that is a huge blessing.It’s tough to weed in the rain, but do keep up the good fight. The nastiest weeds are setting seed now, and will cause such grief down the road if they succeed. Tom Cat is bringing in copious loads of weed seeds in his lovely tail, sigh. A sign of the times.Contact me atdeergardener@hgqci.org

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