Bringing it All Together: Enhancing and Developing Your Habitat

This is the fourth and final installment in considering your backyard wildlife habitat, plus I’ve published posts featuring the art, prose and poetry which my backyard habitat has inspired—scroll to the bottom for the links.

Ick. Slugs. Everywhere. And they weren’t drowning in my beer traps, they were having a pool party and getting the munchies later.

photo of vegetable garden

My Garden in May (just about prime slug time) © B.E. Kazmarski

When I first established my vegetable and flower beds in this yard, I used a number of ingenious methods of “clearing” soil to save time, much of which involved newspapers or other waste papers (those wide computer printouts from the old dot-matrix printers, for instance) covered with straw or wood chips, which I could get for free by the truckload from a friend with a tree service business. This layering killed off the grass and softened up the soil for easier tilling or hand-turning, kept the soil moist in the heat of the summer, and also became a convenient way to set up paths between the beds and walking paths.

The second year, I used some of the same methods to mulch the beds around my plants.

The third year, slugs ate all my seedlings as soon as they came up. I had created the perfect breeding ground for slugs in the damp soil under all that paper.

Carrying an armload of my trusty copies of Rodale’s Organic Gardening and all the books I’d purchased over the years to learn the various techniques of raised beds and drip-irrigation and composting along with organic pest control out to the garden, I tried every trap in the book—in all the books.

None was effective, even in combination. I was spending way too much time trying to kill slugs. Perhaps I should just whack them with the big heavy gardening books. Time to look at an alternative.
The story continues, keep reading…