Gardening with Goldy: The Secret to Organic Slug Control






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Publication: The Stranger
Author: Goldy
Date published: May 16, 2012

The spring planting season is upon us, and for the experienced Pacific Northwest gardener, that can mean only one thing: goddamn motherfucking slugs.

Our plentiful rainfall and mild winters give Seattle the ideal climate for year-round vegetable gardening, but it also makes our backyards the perfect breeding ground for goddamn motherfucking slugs, the common name for various species of air-breathing land gastropods. They can eat up to one billion times* their own weight in lettuce starts a day! (*Look it up-I put it on Wikipedia.)

One day you have a bed of bright-green romaine starts, their first true leaves stretching hopefully to the glorious sun, and the next morning there's nothing leftbut a barren wasteland and a crisscrossing trail of slime.

While conventional gardeners and commercial growers have long controlled goddamn motherfucking slug infestations with poison (the more, the better- local wildlife and household pets be damned), organic gardeners like myself have no such luxury. Some organic gardeners adopt a holistic approach, philosophically choosing to share their bounty with all of God's creatures. Fucking hippies. Other Seattle gardeners are characteristically passive-aggressive in their pest-control techniques, booby-trapping their garden with beer baits-shallow pans or plastic tubs filled with fresh beer, intended to lure unsuspecting motherfucking slugs to a boozy grave.

But beer traps can be hit or miss, providing no guarantee of targeting the worst offenders. And while drowning can be an effective method of execution, it lacks the vindictive pleasure derived from watching your victim writhe in agony as highly toxic metaldehyde dissolves its organs from the inside out.

Also, it wastes beer.

Other popular techniques include dousing your victims with salt, whereupon the motherfuckers fizz up like a Mentos plopped in a bottle of Pepsi (satisfying in a fun-with-chemistry kind of way, but ultimately very bad for the soil), or chemically burning slugs with vinegar and other mild acids (not as much fun as salt and bad for non-acid-loving plants).

As for me, I've drawn upon my years of Pacific Northwest gardening to devise my own all-natural, totally organic, soil-enriching goddamn-motherfucking-slug-control method that requires little more than a flashlight, some toothpicks, a pair of scissors, and a healthy dose of sadism.

Every night, about an hour after dusk, I creep out into my garden, follow the slimy trails glistening in the beam of my flashlight, and simply cut the fuckers in half, piling their oozing and still-wriggling half-corpses onto a nearby stone or raised bed post so as to attract even more goddamn motherfucking slugs to the kill zone. You see, in addition to being motherfuckers, slugs are also goddamn cannibals!* (*True fact. It's on Wikipedia. For real this time.) Indeed, it's not uncommon to find a severed slug eating its own entrails.

Circle of life and all that.

The next night, you'll find the piles of desiccated motherfucking slug carcasses inevitably teeming with fresh victims, shamelessly gorging themselves on the rotting flesh of their fallen comrades and totally oblivious to the toothpick you're about to plunge into their plump entrails/ lettuce-filled bodies. This makes for a slow death, sure, but it's not like they're going anywhere once you strategically plant these shish-ke-slugs throughout the garden like heads on a pike as a dire warning to all who might enter.

It's a warning the motherfuckers never heed.

The next night, a fresh wave of goddamn motherfuckers will converge on the toothpicked remains like hungry wedding guests crowding a tray of cocktail wieners. All it takes is a quick flick of the toothpick to skewer these fuckers, too. Night after night, the horror continues, the bodily juices of the fallen nourishing the neat thriving rows of lettuce, arugula, kale, and other delicious vegetables, a fitting tribute to man's mastery over nature.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Isn't this unnecessarily cruel? Don't slugs feel pain?" I sure hope so. But it can't possibly equal the pain of having a month's worth of gardening wiped out in a single night by a horde of mucus-coated lettucemunching mollusks, or the disappointment of snapping open a beautiful freshly picked head of homegrown romaine, only to find the heart a rotting, gloopy, half-eaten, slug-poop-filled mess.

These goddamn motherfucking slugs and their cousins, the motherfucking goddamn snails (which, FYI, produce a satisfying crunch underfoot, or when crushed between thumb and forefinger), were put on this planet by a cruel and unloving God for the sole purposed of tormenting Northwest gardeners, and thus deserve nothing but torment in return. They have absolutely no redeeming value. And don't give me any guffabout escargot being good eats. The French will eat anything sautéed in garlic and butter, even motherfucking goddamn snails for chrissakes, despite the looming health hazard.

Yes, slugs and snails aren't just disgusting; they're also known to carry the even more disgusting "rat lungworm" parasite* that in humans can cause a rare and fatal form of meningitis. (*Completely not-made-up disease. Wiki it.) Oh sure, you think you've cleaned all the slime offwhat's leftof your freshly picked lettuce, and the next thing you know, you're lying in your own backyard, dead from a swollen brain, the goddamn motherfucking slugs ironically feasting offthe liquefied gray matter seeping out of your ears. So kill the motherfuckers. Before they kill you.

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