The Daily Spud

...there's both eatin' and drinkin' in it

Spud Sunday: Slugging It Out

So, the other week, Greg enquired as to how my tater babies were doing and the answer, sir, is that my babies are coming of age…

Potato Flowers

The blossomy heralds of potatoes to come

In just a few short weeks, the first of my spuds will be on the menu for eatin’. A cause for celebration indeed, but one which is tinged with not a little sadness, because some of my potatoes have already been eaten, and not by me but by a horde of marauding gastropods – that class of animals that includes slugs and snails and the name of which I find to be a particularly cruel irony.

And we are not talking about the premature demise of just any potatoes, but of my prized rarities, which, in this latest installment of The Tubers mini-series, have become the subject of a major slug offensive. It pains me to report that, of the 3 rare specimens planted, the slugs are 2 for 1 up, having savaged their way through the only viable shoots that existed on 2 of the emerging plants. I will leave you to imagine for yourselves the colour of my reaction when I made the awful discoveries. No need to call in the CSI team to crack this particular case – the telltale silvery slugtrails were all over the scene of the crime. And yet… the question had to be asked. Just how could this have happened? It’s not like we’re dealing with lettuce here.

The truth of the matter is that, in a move which I will eternally regret, I had committed those particularly precious seeds to the ground in that spot in the garden which marks the very frontline of attack for those barbarian beasties. It lies directly in front of a patch that is damp and dense with assorted foliage, which makes it a top spot for slitherers of all shapes and sizes. While I find spuds, in general, to be that bit hardier in the face of slugs than your average lettuce, even a baby potato plant will not stand up to a massed invasion of slime. Alas for those particular babies, the odds were not in their favour.

Still, it’s not like I will be spudless for the summer. Far from it. I expect to spend July and much of August eating my way through the bounty that the rest of the potato patch will have to offer and, though I may continue to curse slugs and their ilk, it is I who will be dining on my spuds by then and not they.

Damselfly

Slugs begone, herewith a far more benign and colourful visitor to the potato patch

20 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about some of the spuds taken control by the slugs. A friend of mine is have the same problem with a tomato plant he has right now. Luckily, he’s finding them while they’re still small. Can’t wait for the spuds to sprout!!

  2. Sorry about your prized spuds! But I have no doubt that you certainly will be enjoying your bounty this summer. And I look forward to hearing all about it!

  3. Curse you, slugs! (My fist is raised, here). Sorry to hear of the demise of the rarities. Circle the wagons, figuratively, around the rest, and happy eating in late summer!

  4. Slimy little b*st*rds! I’m outraged over the marauders and heartbroken for your tater-baby victims. Which one survived (that is, until you get a hold of them)? How about the Shetland Blacks?

    At least the spud blossoms hold the promise of bountiful eats this summer!

  5. I come a family where if there is a bug in the house we trap it a glass and set it free. Spiders are welcome in our home. Occasionally a fly might meet its fate, but usually we just open the window and let the disgusting thing escape. Slugs and snails in the garden? Feel free to step on them, with pleasure.

    Your leaves look healthy and vibrant though…I can only image the wonders that are happening under the soil!

  6. Daily Spud

    Monday, June 8, 2009 at 11:56 am

    jenn: they really are nasty little buggers! Still, I will have spuds before long and am greatly looking forward to that :)

    Reeni: don’t worry, I will be reporting on the spud bounty as soon as I start harvesting!

    Jenni: having licked my wounds, I will indeed regroup and continue to fight the good garden fight, never fear

    Tangled Noodle: well, due to an earlier, umm, mix-up, I’m not entirely sure which one it is that is struggling to survive (it’s either the May Queen or the Champion and, based on name only, I fancy it to be the latter); the Shetland Blacks are coming on nicely, though not quite at the flowering stage just yet – I had 10 SB seed potatoes, so I have numbers on my side in that particular battle :)

    gastroanthropologist: yes, I’m afraid, when it comes to slugs and snails, there is no room for mercy to be shown

  7. I sense a tear coming on. I feel your pain…GREG

  8. My mum’s waging war on the snails that have taken a liking to her tomatoes. We went down in the morning to find all their little carcasses littering the garden. We refer to it as The Great Snail Massacre of 2009. My sister’s doing her best to rescue survivors.

  9. The dragonfly picture makes me happy … the slug-fest does not. Ugh, I am so sorry, Spud! Dang those rotten creatures! I sincerely hope the last of the rarities will survive … because I’m so looking forward to reading about them. Good luck!

  10. I’m sorry about your prized spuds, hope the rest survive! I need to take my daughter to our park to check on her potato.

  11. I hope the rest make it to fruition – I can’t wait to see them! I would love to try my hand at potatoes soon…

  12. I am loosing my mind, I thought I had commented on this post, to extend my sympathies to the bereaved. What a horrible thing to stumble across a crime scene of such magnitude, in your own backyard. Gives me the willies.

    I am so happy and relieved that their kin did not meet the same fate so we are destined to hear their stories in the future.

  13. Slugs I could deal with, once I had a problem with millions of hungry baby grasshoppers…my crops were ruined until I added some good insects into the picture…

    Beautiful pic of flower and dragon fly…

  14. In the immortal words of Bill Pulman in Independence Day… nuke ’em. In my own not-so-immortal words, get yourself some slug pellets. I had to liberally sprinkle to save my Sweet Pea. I am lucky enough to have a pair of gorgeous hedgehogs in my garden and I hoped they might do the sluggy biz. But even they couldn’t cope. Sometimes, you just have to fight the good fight.

  15. And before anyone loses sleep about my hedgehogs choking on slug pellets, fear not. My Sweet Pea are in a raised bed with shiny wooden walls that Mr & Mrs Tiggywinkle can’t scale. Which is, I suppose, why they couldn’t get at the slugs in the first place.

  16. Oh no, so sorry to hear about the slugs, but glad you won’t be spudless. I had a particularly wonderful treat right before I left the US. My Dad’s first batch of red potatoes were ready. We enjoyed them mashed with the skins for dinner. Heaven!

  17. Daily Spud

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    greg: ah, the garden – a place of high drama betimes

    Lex: …and would your sister be Angry Brit? Did I get that right? In any case, a snail massacre would be enough to make anyone angry. Thanks for dropping in and sharing your tail of snail woe!

    Diva: Dang indeed – it’s an ongoing struggle out there!

    Natasha: Ah, I hope your daughter’s potato plant is doing well and not been the victim of any nasty attacks

    Jenn: well, I know that I will at least have some spuds to write about – maybe you will too someday :)

    OysterCulture: yes, there will be happier tales to come as I anticipate the first unearthing of new potatoes – not far off now…

    Chef E: yikes, grasshoppers, glad I don’t have to deal with those

    Berna: I would gladly welcome Mr & Mrs Tiggywinkle if they ever wanted to take a city break – meanwhile, yes, stronger measures are called for

    Lori: there is nothing quite like those first spuds out of the ground – great that you could have some of those before you headed back to Brazil

  18. Who knew that potato blossoms were so pretty!

  19. Well they are probably edible anyway (don’t we eat snails?) and are readily available and free and there’s no messing about with shells.

    The picture of the damsel fly is beautiful.

    Good luck with the spuds!

  20. Daily Spud

    Monday, June 15, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Other Tiger: I guess the pretty blossoms are one of their lesser known, but still very attractive features :)

    Gleep: well, I’m not sure that I’m ready to go the route of eating the slugs, though if things get really desperate, I’ll keep it in mind, lol! (and thanks for dropping in, btw)

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