Tag Archives: slugs

Gardening Projects 2014 July Update

I figure that it’s about time to admit my mistakes, and also what I’ve learned from the projects I’ve attempted this season. While they were small undertakings, I still didn’t do very well! But this is how we learn, right?

Fuchsias in Hanging Baskets

Winston Churchill fuchsia
Winston Churchill fuchsia

The Winston Churchill fuchsia variety is hanging in the back yard, and getting the perfect sunlight. The Dollar Princess variety I had put out front and just wouldn’t admit that it was getting too much sun. After a few scorching days where even the ones out back were injured, I finally admitted defeat and moved the Dollar Princesses to the back yard, and what’s left of them are doing much better than they ever did out front – the color is much deeper and prettier than I thought!

Fuchsias are very touchy. When it rains, it might not have rained enough, which is usually the case in the Pacific Northwest. When it’s hot, you might need to water an extra time or two. You definitely cannot leave them for a day without watering, particularly when it’s warm out. I feed them fairly regularly and I believe the spray mixture I’m using is correctly measured.

Dollar Princess fuchsia
Dollar Princess fuchsia

Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden

Basil and parsley - hanging in there!
Basil and parsley – hanging in there!

This hanging herb garden project was a big whoopsie from the get-go, with the poor instructions I was following being the first part of the problem. The second issue was my placement. They weren’t getting proper sunlight where I mounted them.

Another issue was drainage. A good tip to add to the original plans might be to put rocks in the jars first, below the soil, to help with drainage, and also so you can see if you’ve overwatered!!! Whoops. I have since taken them off of their wood mounts and placed the jars straight in another window sill where they get full morning sunlight. 😉

Brussels Sprouts vs. Cabbage Moths

What's left of my Brussels sprouts...
What’s left of my Brussels sprouts…

Oh, the Brussels sprouts…I have lost that war so badly it’s not even funny. I QUIT! And to make matters worse, the cabbage moths also got my dwarf kale and broccoli, too, and those were in cages to protect them from critters (obviously not tiny butterflies!). I am going to have to research and see if I can plant something that is a natural deterrent for cabbage moths if I want to grow any produce they enjoy next year. 🙁

I have let the grass and weeds go in the kale and broccoli box since they are ruined by larvae!
I have let the grass and weeds go in the kale and broccoli box since they are ruined by cabbage moth larvae!

Pink Dahlia Murder Recovery!

Hoping this dahlia will make a comeback with tree gone!
Hoping this dahlia will make a comeback with the walnut tree gone!

I’m still caring for my dahlias, which DID spring back from the slug massacre, I am happy to say! I had a black walnut tree trying to grow and drown out one of the dahlia bushes (thanks, squirrel!!) so I pulled that out the other day and am hoping that dahlia survives. I am not 100% on knowing my dahlia leaves yet, so I had let the tree grow far too large, unfortunately, before asking for help identifying the thing.

Dahlias making a comeback; Crocosmias are the orange bushel tied up
Dahlias making a comeback; Crocosmias are the orange bushel tied up

I also had one dahlia plant not grow at all this year. I discovered from a friend that the tubers actually need to be dug up yearly, so who knows how long it has been since these have been dug since I did not do it last year. I dug them up anyway, pulled out the icky looking tubers and am hoping that maybe next year the ones I replanted will spring back. *Fingers crossed!*

Another dahlia bush was being drowned out by my over abundance of crocosmias. I tied the crocosmias out of the way since they are blooming and the bees are loving them, and will dig them out completely post-bloom. It seems like the affected dahlias are starting to stand up straight again and I am hopeful for a few flowers before summer is over!

My largest dahlia bush
My largest dahlia bush


That is probably the end of my gardening “projects” for 2014. I will be armed with Sluggo and better produce planting information next year since we hope to have built at least one raised bed and do this gardening thing for real!! This year was just a test with the produce I did attempt to grow, and I’m glad it wasn’t full-fledged or I would have been sorely disappointed. It would have been my own fault for not researching more, however!


I will be digging up as many bulbs as I can as things die out at summer’s end (these crocosmias are never-ending, I tell ya!), and I definitely plan to get at ALL of the dahlia tubers to try and ensure their livelihood next year! I am smart enough to know that my yard will never be done, but am happy with the progress I have made this year. It’s fun to look back and see what it used to look like when we first moved in and how much I’ve already accomplished!


Slugs – The Pink Dahlia Murder

Last year, all of these GORGEOUS dahlias bloomed in my yard all summer long and even into the fall. I guess I was spoiled. I think when I was identifying all my plants someone did make mention of potential ear wigs, but I was so busy chopping things back in the jungle yard I had inherited that I didn’t have time to deal with tiny holes in leaves. Everything was still growing and blooming, wasn’t it?
So many varieties of dahlias!
This year, I felt on top of my game in the yard since everything had been mostly pruned back and it’s not as much of a jungle out there! I got a really good start on things. I had the beds all weeded and pruned, ready for new dahlias. The daffodils that were so strategically planted between the dahlias were finishing their blooming, and I was lazy and didn’t cut back their stems right away. If I had, I may have noticed that the dahlias were indeed sprouting.
ALREADY?!?! Isn’t it too early? It’s only the beginning of May! And by the time I realized this, they already looked like this:
I mean, I thought this was gonna be it!
And now they look like this because I wasn’t sure what was decimating my crop, and figured the above pictures was the worst that would happen.
Poor dahlias!!!

I figured out what the issue was. Slugs. Probably earwigs, too, since I’m seeing evidence of those on my rhubarb, as well. So the first thing I did was start cleaning out my eggshells and saving all of our coffee grounds. I crushed the eggshells up (so that’s probably what you’re seeing in some of these photos on the ground) and sprinkled coffee grounds in a ring around all of the dahlia clumps. But then I realized there were signs of tunneling, and with the amount of crop decimation, I think I even have these extra-awesome black-keeled slugs, which destroy tuber crops pretty much entirely.

So I laid out one dish of beer to see what would happen:

Mmm…dead, drunk slugs!
[I also found this big old snail hiding on top of one rhubarb leaf, but under another. Scared me when I pulled that top leaf back!!]
Since that seemed to work, the second night I laid out several dishes of beer in various locations of destruction. It seemed by the third night the slugs were getting larger. (What I thought was “normal” sized; the first ones seemed ridiculously small and I wondered how they did all that damage so fast before I realized it.) I went out later than normal to put beer in the dishes and was frightened when my flashlight shone on some of those “normal” sized ones already trying to taste yesterday’s beer residue. However, they were gone the next morning!
I don’t think I used deep enough dishes. This site with tips did recommend using jars, but other people and sites just said “ a dish”. I don’t have space where this is happening to put jars out, plus I honestly don’t want to dump out dead giant slugs in the morning! (Keepin’ it real – I’m already having slug nightmares!) There are several interesting tips on that link, most of which do involve killing the slugs, so if you are opposed to that, there is one tip involving fruit and moving the slugs to a different location. Personally, I want to protect my crops and have no qualms killing creepy crawlies that are killing crops. Especially because next year I will be growing crops I want to be able to eat – not growing them for slug food!! 😛
Therefore, I am taking the fast and easy way out and purchased some Sluggo, which has iron phosphate as the active ingredient. It was recommended to buy Sluggo Plus, which is the same thing, only with Spinosad added, which kills the pill bugs and earwigs. The Lowe’s by my home didn’t have Sluggo Plus, and I really just want to deal with this ASAP in hopes that my dahlias make a comeback this year! I will make sure to order some Sluggo Plus online or something early next year and have my arsenal prepared! The earwigs don’t do quite as much damage (just tiny unattractive holes in leaves) so I’m not as concerned with them as I am with the slugs.
The instructions on the Sluggo say to lay it down in the evening and it should last through wind and rain for 4 weeks. You can reapply as often as you see the pellets disappear or at least every 2 weeks, depending on the severity of the infestation. The ground needs to be moist but no standing water.
Sluggo pellets surrounding my lily sprout
Sluggo will not affect any other critters, and is also safe for your pets and kids to be around, as well as vegetation you are planning on eating from your garden – right up to harvest day. The slugs and snails will immediately stop eating, no matter how tiny an amount of Sluggo they ingest. They will lose their appetite and eventually die from starvation. You probably will not see them since they go off to secluded places to die, so you’ll only know it’s working by your plant damage decreasing. I am still going to keep collecting and putting out the eggshells and coffee grounds. (**Coffee grounds also deter ants!!**) I will let you all know how it goes and if the dahlias survive and bloom for me again this year!
The slugs already had their way with
this lily before it bloomed.   🙁