Adventures in Gardening: Spring Gardening

by David Soper

Now is a good time to plant the fast-growing, warm-weather plants, including vegetables, melons and herbs. A lot of daisy-like annuals mature quickly even from seed. Plant Zinnias and Marigolds. They can bloom in as little as six weeks.

If you live in a hot area, be sure to get your mulch down now. Your plants will need the natural moisture-retentive qualities mulch can provide.

Everyone should start focusing on pests. Get the slug patrol ready for duty. Remember, this pests reproduces throughout the year, so any you can kill now won't be laying eggs and plaguing you later.

One effective way (and there are many) is to lay a flat piece of wood on the ground. Block up one side with a rock or wood block. If you do it today, come back tomorrow in the early morning, turn the plank over and harvest a nice crop of sleeping slugs. How you dispose of them is your business, but make it permanent. You may want to do this after you eat, so as not to ruin your appetite.

One woman I know collects as many slugs as she can, puts them in a blender or food processor with a little water and whirls away. She takes the resultant pulverization and pours it around the most slug-challenged plants like hostas. She swears the resultant stuff acts as a strong deterrent. Apparently, the slugs can sense the smell of death and run away! I haven't tried it, my wife guards the blender too vigorously.

A somewhat less extreme method is to share a beer with the little critters. After you've had your beer in the garden, pour them one or two in pie tins. You may want to dig the tins into the ground a bit so the little boozers can have ready access. Sadly, in the morning, you'll find a number of the party guys actually crawled into the beer tins and drowned. Pity! By the way, they prefer cheap beer.

David Soper, The Garden Guy, writes and lectures on gardening topics. Check out his books at

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