Sluggus minimus

Sluggus minimusAlong with all the talk about bolting, I often hear other gardeners talking about slugs.

“They ate my <insert favorite vegetable here>!” they say on their blogs. They debate the merits of pouring salt on the slugs, laying out slug pellets, and even letting them drown in beer.

That, my friends, has always seemed to me like a good way to waste beer.

For a long time, I thought I had no slugs in my garden. After all, I’ve seen them before in other contexts, trailing slick slime behind them, so I would know one when I saw it. Back when I was a lifeguard, we learned never to leave our shoes out by the pool as night fell on those evenings when the sun went down before 9 p.m. Invariably, the slugs would crawl in them and start to bed down for the night.

Imagine the shock of the patron who, upon finishing her laps, slid her foot into her shoe, unaware of the natural behavior of the poolside slugs. I thought we were going to have to put our poorly-learned CPR to use right then and there. Seriously.

The other morning, however, as I watered the yellow pear tomato plants, I saw this strange, stubby gastropod down on the ground. At least, I think it’s a slug. It didn’t have antennae, and it looked a little short to be the average sluggus maximus. But it was definitely sliding along the dirt, until I took the hose to it.

Behold, slug. Behold the power of a carefully focused stream of water.

It has not been back.


8 Responses to “Sluggus minimus”

  1. 1 steven June 19, 2007 at 10:20 am

    If I were writing a Gardeners Bible, I’d make sure to rewrite Exodus 22:18; “Thou shalt not suffer a slug to live”. Where’s there’s one, there’s prolly dozens.

  2. 2 Michelle June 19, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Yes. Slugs are icky. If you don’t want to waste the beer I just had a student give a speech about using cocacola as a slug attractor.

    I was pretty indifferent to slugs until I found them wrapped around my black russian sunflower seedlings. >:-

  3. 3 joey randall June 19, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Love the photo! Learned years ago from Pauleen Banya (Gold Standard propagator) to clean hosta beds early in the spring to rid bed of eggs, etc. Since then, after years of beer and slug bait, hostas beds are somewhat carefree … a few holes here and there but for the most part relatively slug free.

  4. 4 primpunkin June 19, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    That is a slug alright!I have them too here in colorado ugh .

  5. 5 the mint killer June 19, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    better on the ground than in your hair, or so i believe after an incident in sixth grade where a boy threw one at me. is there any literature about slugs and pre-pubescent courtship rituals?

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener June 19, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Steven, luckily I haven’t seen any more of them. Yet. That one was gross.

    Michelle, I could stand to waste Coca Cola. But not beer.

    Joey, thanks! But, um, YEARS of beer? You spent YEARS of beer on those critters? Yikes.

    Primpunkin, thanks for the confirmation — glad to hear that I wasn’t just seeing some new weird organism.

    Mint Killer, I’m not going to argue that point with you. Yikes. There’s no literature that I know of. And I’m not sure that literature would sell…

  7. 7 Kati June 20, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    there’s a solution you can poor on slug-prone plants early in the season, but I can’t recall what it is now, an environmentally friendly one. i’ve read that sharp sand around a precious plant also helps. I haven’t had a bad slug problem for a few years now (touch wood!!!!!), but …you don’t want to hear about tomato horn worms, do you? Ugh, ugh and ugh!

  8. 8 inadvertentgardener June 20, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    I have heard the trick of putting sharp stuff around the plant. Maybe I’ll try knives? Just kidding.

    As for tomato hornworms, I figure it’s just a matter of time before I see my first one of the year. I think they’re kind of cool, but I really am not a big fan of how quickly they chomp their way through the leaves…

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