Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Sometimes you can’t eat kale either

Max Dupain's photo of Sydney on a wet day

Max Dupain must have photographed Sydney on a day like today. Even my studio is awash.

SONY DSC

There are benefits of course. The ground will drink in this soaking rain and when it stops I’ll plant kale and cabbage in pots and raised beds. Eliza Waters sent me this link to an article on growing vegetables that can tolerate shade, and it begs the question why it never occurred to me to check. I just assumed all veg needed at least six hours of sunlight a day.

Cabbage, beetroot and broccoli – three of my all-time favourites – should grow in this shady plot – and the only reason the beetroot failed last year must have been down to the slugs.

It explains why the kale I planted as an experiment actually grew, although slugs ate it before we could. Within a matter of days the healthy looking leaves had been reduced to a single stalk.

Curly kale will grow in a shady spot

Curly kale will grow in a shady spot

 

Unless you have slugs

Unless you have slugs

All this rain will encourage  those voracious slugs, some no bigger than my little fingernail, so the torch is by the back door, waiting for dead of night when I can sneak out and catch them in the act.

What to do with them is more of an issue. I hate killing things. The slugs are often relocated onto the roof of my studio, in the hope that birds will eat them come morning, by which time they’ve no doubt slid down the corrugated iron, floated through the gutters and are safely back in their daytime hiding places, ready for another nightly assault. And since I don’t go out every night to catch them, it’s fair to assume the slugs are winning.

No matter. The miniature lime tree I planted at the front of the house has buds on it.

Always look on the bright side of life.

Even when it’s raining.

 

 

10 comments on “Sometimes you can’t eat kale either

  1. candidkay
    July 17, 2015

    Ugh to slugs! I see kale smoothies in your future:).

    Like

  2. monsoonwendy
    July 17, 2015

    Is it slugs or snails that like beer? At least they’d die happy. I know I will be looking at shade loving veggies too Deb so this is great. Can y send links to veggies that thrive on intermittent neglect? Hugs from chilly but sunny Canberra. And doesn’t that still feel weird to write!

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      July 17, 2015

      Very weird to think of you in chilly Canberra, you’ll need fleece blankets for your veg! You’re right, beer does work and I will have to try it again. Hugs to you Wendy and see you soon!

      Like

  3. bkpyett
    July 17, 2015

    So disappointing! Have you tried egg shells as a deterrent? Not that it stops them! 🙂

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      July 17, 2015

      Hi Barbara yes I tried eggshells but they didn’t seem to do much, I might have to swallow my qualms and try something more lethal – salt works but it seems such a cruel death

      Like

  4. Mala Burt
    July 17, 2015

    We used to live in the middle of nowhere and I would hunt for slugs in the night. My husband said I should get a miner’s head lamp so I would have to carry the torch. If you spray slugs with an ammonia and water solution they DIE fast. Curl up and fall off what they’re on. Don’t use full strength or your plants won’t like it. Now I live in a neighborhood with close neighbors so no more slug hunts clad only in underwear.

    Like

    • debhuntwasinbrokenhill
      July 17, 2015

      Hah, I read this quickly and thought, What? She hunts slugs clad only in underwear?! Then I saw the ‘no more’. Phew. I have a head torch, what a great idea, even more opportunity to sneak up and strike fast.

      Like

  5. nantubre
    July 17, 2015

    yes Monsoonwendy, it is slugs that like beer, although I think snails might imbibe as well.
    Deb, fill a small tin (like one that tunafish comes in) about half way with beer. The slugs will climb in for a drink and -gulp- drown. THEN you can offer them to the birds for a hearty marinated meal. Problem solved.

    Like

  6. debhuntwasinbrokenhill
    July 17, 2015

    Hmm… marinated slugs with a hint of tuna, why have I not thought of that before? Thanks Nancy!

    Like

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This entry was posted on July 16, 2015 by and tagged , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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