Slugs and snails are helping themselves

The rain has brought out the predators. Snails beheading the tagetes. Why do they particularly love them so much? And why won’t they share?

The beans and peas, too, decapitated. Eaten alive. Slugs lying in wait in damp, dark places, like at secondary school. The brute bullies of the gardening world.

I try to be patient. I am reconciled to sharing. But the six 6am snails on the bean poles is too many. They are murdering my babies. The young I’ve grown from seed.

Truly, gastropods bring out the worst in me. Some I throw far over the wall into the woods. Some (look away now if you are squeamish) I stab with a trowel.

I can only take so much plant murder in the early morning. Buddhism, biodynamics, goes out the window. This is Old Testament rules.

I clear space around the base of the poles. We have a few spare plants in the greenhouse for emergencies. I liberally dose the surrounding soil with seaweed feed. Like spinach for Popeye, I hope.

But the slimy enemy won’t listen. They don’t intend to co-exist. They lurk in the grass on the nearby paths. In the wooden dividing walls. Waiting. Loitering with intent. The genocidal bean burglars.

I don’t tell Rose. She is sensitive, a proper human being.

But it is them or us, I tell myself. The invertebrate invaders must be repelled. I wait until I fear we are on the losing side then stock up with weaponry. Somehow I feel I’ve let myself down.

But out come the organic slug pellets. The bright-blue beads of shame. There is no hiding it now. Scattered thinly among the surviving tagetes, in the battered brassicas, at the base of the climbing peas and beans.

I honestly wish it was otherwise. But this is war and I need to even the odds.