Claire Gardner: Good life foiled by invasion of the slimy lettuce snatchers
IN APRIL this year we headed back to our veggie patch that had lain forlorn and neglected over the winter months.
Like thousands of other vegetable plot enthusiasts across the country, we ripped up the weeds and grass, nourished God’s good earth with fertilizer and horse poo and planted rows upon rows of seedlings in long, straight lines.
Then we sat back and waited for Mother Nature to work her magic.
For a few months all was good. Green stuff grew up and orange things pushed their way into the ground and our attempt at recreating a Good Life-type existence was looking, well… good.
That was until the Big Slug Invasion.
They slithered in slyly at first, starting at the back of the patch where the potato plants were growing.
And they claimed just a few leaves here and there – nothing much to see.
So we did nothing and continued to plan the salads and soups we would make when harvest time came.
Soon a few became a dozen and a dozen morphed into scores. Then word got out and they came in their hundreds – big ones, fat ones, long small skinny ones, stripy ones and ones that looked like something out of Jurassic Park.
Despite vain attempts to quash the rebels with pellets (and the occasional mass squishing) still they came and ran amok among our green grub.
Potato plants – gone. Carrots and beetroot, demolished. Rocket and lettuce razed to the ground and the lovingly planted runner beans and raspberry bushes all slimed out of existence.
All the slithery suckers have left untouched is the blasted courgettes – and everyone I know hates them. Even slugs it would seem.
So now, like many disgruntled veggie patchers, I will be forced, unhappily, to line the pockets of supermarkets this autumn, and buy my veg from them.
But it’s not just the loss of home-grown nosh that these massive molluscs have deprived us of. It’s the joy of hauling potatoes from the ground and chopping up misshapen carrots, and making sure all my friends know that dinner is fresh from the patch, that we will be missing out on too.
I do, however, take some strength from the fact it’s not personal.
A recent report in Farmers Weekly explained the slug population is “off the scale” because of all the rain we’ve been having. While we’ve been shored up inside, staring gloomily at the dark sky, these slippery customers have been having it off.
That means there are a lot of veggie patches and, more seriously, farmers’ crops getting munched this year.
Ultimately, however, as I survey the barren land that should be abundant with glorious green food, I am plotting my revenge.
Slug soup anyone?
• Stephen Jardine is away
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Weather for Edinburgh
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: South
Temperature: 10 C to 19 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West