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Wednesday, June 18, 2008 

The Strawberry Wars

This year we've started a few strawberry plants, and in doing so, started a war.

My enemies:

Slugs



This is Oregon, slug country, we have MANY slugs in our yard. I have a few weapons to combat slugs.

The Beer Trap:
Take a used plastic butter tub, or soup can, or any smallish container, pour a small amount of cheap beer about an inch to two inches deep (this is the best use for PBR I have ever heard of, MUCH better than drinking it anyway.). Then dig a small hole deep enough to get the lip of the container at ground level, to make it easier for the slugs to enter. The slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer, when they enter the tub of beer, they drown.

Eggshells:
Crushed eggshells placed on (and in) the ground around the base of your plants deter/kill slugs. Slugs as you know are slimy soft bodied fellers, and when they crawl acrossed the sharp eggshells the get many small lacerations which dehydrates them. Another benefit of eggshells in the garden dirt, they provide much needed calcium (be sure to wash the shells before placing them in gardens, you don't want salmanella on your strawberries).

A Tarp:
I'm sure others have done this, but I found when I set my tent out in the yard to air out recently, I found myself with a rather large collection of slugs on the bottom, in a fairly short amount of time. So instead of leaving my tent out every night, I just use a piece of tarp, I then collect the slugs and dispose of them.

Earwigs



They are harmless to humans, but not to your plants. Earwigs are omnivores, so they will eat other bugs (which is good), but they also eat plants. A good way to tell if your plants are being eaten by earwigs is to look for small irregular holes in the leaves (much like what slugs do to the plant, but you won't see the slime trail of a slug).

The weapons:

Vegetable Oil Trap:
Take a tuna can, fill it with vegetable oil, add a drop or so of bacon grease. Much like the beer trap for slugs, earwigs are attracted to the oil, crawl in the can, and drown.

Roll of Newspaper:
Earwigs hide during the day in small dark crevices. Roll up a newspaper and place it in your garden (I have a small container garden, so one or two rolls should suffice), the next day, shake out the earwigs into a bucket of water.

I have other enemies, but they have not joined the war (yet). Here are a few that I keep an eye out for:
STRAWBERRY FLEA BEETLE

STRAWBERRY LEAF BEETLE

STRAWBERRY WEEVIL

IMBRICATED SNOUT BEETLE

ASIATIC GARDEN BEETLE

Stay tuned for more Urban gardening in P-town.

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