It happens every year. You plant your garden and know deep down inside of you that there will be some sort of problem that happens before you even harvest your first vegetable. You get yourself ready for the disappointment. You think about what will be the type of bug that wipes something out. If it is not a bug, maybe some sort of critter. You look at all of your plantings and try to figure out which one will be affected. You vow to do your best to combat whatever it is that is hurting your garden. Then it happens. This year, I’m calling the problem “The Case Of The Murdered Cabbages”. I swear to you that three hours after planting my cabbage plants, I returned to the garden to find the little plants munched down to almost nothing by some sort of villain. The problem is that I just couldn’t figure out who the culprit was.
What would do this so quickly and thoroughly? While I was digging some cabbages up and replacing them with new plants and trimming the little arms of others, it dawned on me. It was a woodchuck. Why you ask? Well, the Notorious B. I. G. (Brooklyn Italian Grandmother) had mentioned that she saw a furry animal running around the back yard a couple of times during the week. Since raccoons only come out at night, I just knew it was a woodchuck she had seen and the same critter ate my baby cabbages. Remember, the fence around the back yard keeps the deer out, so my only logical solution had to be that a woodchuck had squeezed under the fence and ate my cabbages. Always having a flair for the dramatic, I quickly put a two-step plan of action in motion. First, I would put a small fence around my new raised beds. Yes, it is a fence within a fence. I quickly worked to build a small green plastic fence around my two new raised beds and then the new secured garden would have the deer fence around it as well for added protection. Second, I would call a local hunter that I knew from the area and have him lay a couple of humane traps. The traps would catch the critter and then we could transport it to a far away wooded area where it could eat dead leaves and weeds. That’s what a woodchuck eats for dinner…not baby cabbage plants. The fence was installed….the traps were laid……all was good in cabbage land.
Then it happened again! Nearly a week later. When I saw the little nibbled purple cabbage plants, I got weak in my knees. How could this happen again? After spending $200 on my make-shift fence and trapping a raccoon, a squirrel and some other type of critter that my friend told me I didn’t want to know about, the cabbage murderer was still stalking the premises. I felt violated. I felt angry. I wanted revenge.
It was off to the nursery for some more cabbage plants. I had run out of the ones that I grew from seeds under my grow light. At the nursery, I told my murder mystery story to anyone who would listen. One of the nursery employees told me that it sounded like a slug infestation. Slugs? Those little snail-like creatures without a shell? Could they do this much damage? Can they eat this much? I left with some new cabbage plants and some Sluggo, an organic pellet that kills slugs dead. I also put out two bowls filled with beer. Slugs like their booze. When they reach for the beer, they fall into the suds and then that’s it for them. They drown, but drown drunk, which is probably the best way to go in my opinion. So far the Sluggo and beer seem to be working. My cabbages seem to be growing.
I’ll keep you posted. Also, if you see the displaced raccoon, squirrel and the unnamed creature that I had transported to another wooded area, let them know I am sorry and I will pick them up and bring them back to Glen Road on Saturday afternoon. As well, let me know if you have any ideas (other than a slug) on what is eating my cabbage. Help me solve “The Case Of The Murdered Cabbages”.