Small space gardening

Here it is. The enemy. The executor. The “Zombie” of the plant world, and every tender plant’s worst nightmare. The snail.

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If you’ve planted your favorite garden seeds, and have experienced the excitement of your garden coming to life only to wake up one morning and find your precious babies chewed to oblivion, I know exactly how you feel. If you don’t take care of the problem right away, you may end up losing your garden and having to replant. Here’s what those monsters did to some of my spinach, and what used to be a green bean. So very sad.

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If you are experiencing this problem, act quickly and you can save the rest of your plants. Fortunately, I spotted the problem early enough to save mine. I say don’t mess with my children or my plants if you want to live another day. Apparently the pests in my garden weren’t aware that’s how things work at my house, and they have met an untimely death.

First let me say, I am not a fan of using chemicals. I try to keep them to a minimum, but when it comes to losing my garden or using them, sometimes I have to do what a gardener’s gotta do. I also try to pick any critters off my plants by hand whenever possible as a chemical substitute, but slugs and snails only attack at night or maybe on a cloudy day, which makes capturing them pretty much impossible.

I know I’ve had this box of chemicals for probably five years now, and this is what I’ve always used in my battle against slugs and snails. Once this box is gone, I vow to search the internet for a better, healthier way to deal with these pests. The reason for this post, is I did manage to find a way to use minimal amounts of this product by using an applicator from, of all places, my kitchen. And I wanted to share it with those of you who choose to use these types of products.

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I like to save old spice containers because I always seem to find a use for them. Weird, I know. And this one was a lifesaver…literally—at least for my plants anyway.

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The bait that I bought is a sawdust-type consistency, and in the past, I’ve just sprinkled it on the ground directly out of the box and into the affected area. It would always come out too fast, unevenly and I’d use more of the product than I wanted to. I found that when I put it in this container, and tilt the top of it towards the ground and then squeeze it as opposed to sprinkling it, it comes out in a fine puff rather than in globs. The bait is heavy enough that it doesn’t float in the air like flour would, but yet will still “puff” out the small holes and onto the ground. It’s fine enough that you can barely see it once it’s on the ground, but it was clearly effective as is shown in the next photo of my corpses.

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I gathered all those dead snails from an area less than 3 inches wide and about 2 to 3 feet long. Victory!!

I tried to grow my favorite “Heavenly Blue” morning glories in this space last year. I had to replant them three times, and each time the snails ate the seedlings. Needless to say, last year was my first year ever without my beloved Morning Glories. Not on my watch this year, slime bags!

Once a seedling makes it past the delicate beginning stage, snails and slugs don’t seem to bother them. They only go for the defenseless babies. I have two Morning Glory seedlings so far, and I’m watching them like only a mother would. Another solution I’ve found is to start Morning Glories from seed inside. See how here.

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If you’re noticing a few of your tender veggies looking like mine did in the earlier photos, my advice would be to treat now for these critters because once they discover your plants, they’ll call all their friends and family over for a feast in your garden. And within a few days, all your hard work may be ruined. Then again, maybe all these guys are at my house! Correction–were at my house. Party’s over.

This blog was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and a Journeyman Painter servicing the Bloomington/Normal, IL area. You can view her portfolios at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com for more before and after photos.

If you have an interest in decorating, organizing and DIY projects on a budget, feel free to check my other blog at HomeStagingBloomingtonIl. You can find additional before and after pictures on my website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com.

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