MySecretGarden

U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Friday, February 20, 2009

Every Gardener's Nightmare

How to help a gardener stop craving for spring and summer? Remind him (her) about something disgusting that winter doesn't have. Several Blotanists mentioned snails and slugs in their recent posts. But it was Hermes' post http://goldenagegardens.blogspot.com/2009/02/snails.html that actually made me think about slugs. The creature on his picture was so cute in comparison with my slugs that I got jealous and offered him to trade my slugs for his snails, two for one. Just look at these pictures and you'll understand me. I cought the slugs in the action! It is one thing when you see them innocently sleeping under a rock or a leaf. But when they are eating your tomato in a daylight!!!
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There are as many as 40 different kinds of slugs in the U. S. and over 750 varieties of snails. These three types of the slugs we will most likely to see:

Common garden slug
: about an inch long, dark with a yellow stripe on its sides.

Black slug: really big - to about six inches longs.

Gray field slug: about 1 and ½ inches long, gray or tan in color.

Slugs are invertebrates belonging to the scientific classification "Phylum Mollusca". This is the fact that I like the most: they are closer to the octopus than the insect family! Yes, they are relatives to those huge creatures found deep in the ocean!
Octopuses and slugs as well as all the creatures classified in the mollusk family have several things in common:

-their bodies are soft and not divided into segments;

-they have an internal or external shell (the slug's relative, the snail, carries his shell outside);

-they have a muscular foot or tentacles.

Here are a few other slug facts:

* birds, ducks, moles and some types of beetles eat slugs;

* slugs are very sensitive to the wind and can dehydrate and die if caught in a wind;

* slugs live underground and absorb moisture through the dirt;

* older slugs are usually females;

* slugs are very sensitive to changes in temperature even such little as two degrees F.

We all know that slugs lay eggs and they are vegetarians and eat plants. Different types of slugs like different types of plants and slugs in different parts of the country eat different things.

Bon Appetite, but not in my garden!

Some of the information I got here:

14 comments:

  1. Oh, those pictures do make me shudder. I've never seen one in a tomato! Yikes!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I put cans of beer out in my garden
    and they drown themselves!
    hehe

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tina, I hope I didn't spoil your appetite!

    Catherine, me too! It was first time I saw them on tomatoes. You can imagine how I felt seeing them on my favorite vegetables!!! It was too much!

    Cathy, light or dark beer? Hehe. I have a story about slugs and beer. Will tell it one day.

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  4. Well at least you saw it BEFORE you took a bite. :-)

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  5. Ewwwww is right. Somewhere on my blog I have a picture of a really big slug. I looks like we share a love of German Shepherd dogs. Yours are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't think of one good aspect of slugs and those look particularly nasty. They seem to like the same plants as me and I've never found a really foolproof way to stop them.

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  7. You have tomatoes!? Slugs gross me out, and to see them in a tomato, blecht!

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  8. But just think how the slug would have felt if he'd suddenly seen your teeth advancing ...

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  9. Snails are one of the things I dislike in my garden. Here in Sweden we have a huge problem with a snail from Spain. We call it Murdersnail because it really eats everything in the garden and leaves nothing! I'm still lucky and haven't seen any Murdersnail in my garden (yeat). But the littleones, as the one in your pictue aren't wellcome either / gittan

    http://gittans.tradgardsblogg.se

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh yea, the slugs....thanks for reminding me ;) They do some damage and what is left behind looks awful.

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  11. I like the approach of looking at the hard facts about them, rather than just descending into teeth-grinding, however tempting it is! I was talking to one US gardener via blog somments and she said she didn't have slugs - arrrrrgh! But no doubt she has other pests and problems.

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  12. The photo made me cringe:-( BUT, your post was so well thought out, and informative! Really interesting info! Thank you:)

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  13. I love to see slugs in the woods along the trails, so many cool looking varieties and they are doing their job out there. In my yard though, sigh. Slugs are actually quite interesting to read about but it really isn't so fun when they eat my tomatoes.
    I'm looking to get some yard birds (chickens, guineas and or ducks), hopefully they will eat my extra slugs.

    ReplyDelete

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