The fact that the plants sat for four days without slug damage makes me curious.  Was the slug population actually down in the area?  Was I then calling the slugs to this new bed with the tantalizing smell of tender new broccoli starts?  Were they drawn in, as I am, when I smell chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven?  Or were they always there and just didn't want to climb the walls of the plastic tray my starts were sitting in?  Whatever the case is, it's time for me to take action.  One slug could wipe out all my starts in the mater of a couple of nights.  And I know it isn't just one slug...

Last night I went out by headlamp.  It mortifies me, but "handpicking" is one of the best controls for slugs when you have tender new starts.  Sure enough I found a 2.5" slug feasting on one of my plants.  OMG.
Now, I've done A LOT of work to be more comfortable with slugs.  After all, I am a gardener in the Pacific Northwest.  I know that if I'm going to have any sort of longevity growing food, I'll have to develop at least a civil relationship with the little creatures.  And again, my highest self says my mortification comes from a deep connection to the little guys.  (kind of similar to how the most outspoken homophobes are usually big 'ole queers).
Anyway, so I've built up some techniques to keep my cool when having to deal directly with slugs: (these tips are totally helpful when dealing with other kinds of pests life sends you!)
  • Breath deep - There's no use being a complete mess.  I can't be efficient when I'm messy like that. An efficiency is the name of the game.  There's a finite amount of time that I can stay calm when slugs are involved.
  • Use tools - Handpicking is misleading.  Anytime my hand actually touches a slug I lose the ability to be calm and am definitely done in the garden for awhile.
  • Talk to them - It's a little easier to stay calm if we have a little conversation.
  • Try and love the creature - They are here to teach me something!
All this is a good reminder as we're going into slug season.  I know my methods will evolve as I garden larger and larger areas.  Right now I use the hand picking method, I put out slug bait and I'm also considering using diatomaceous earth.  To use DE you put a little ring around each start.  It's kind of hardcore in that it kills the little creatures almost on contact.  It washes away when it rains so it's a high maintenance, yet effective control.

I'll keep this blog posted on my slug adventures.  What an interesting totem to have.  Oh yeah, over the years I have done intermittent searches about the medicine slug brings.   It's no wonder I have the relationship that I do.  I love when life comes together and makes some sense.  Here's a link to some very interesting writing about slug totems.   Favorite quote from this page: Slug has a great deal to teach us about gender and sexuality. Slug may be considered to be a combination of both male and female, or an independant gender

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