Mar 022010


There is nothing more satisfying to a gardener than to see rich colonies of worms in the garden soil. I have amused myself by convincing all my grandchildren that I know the names of each worm living in our vegetable garden. This has backfired significantly as they now require me to name each and every worm we see as we work the garden soil. “Who’s that, grandpa?” they ask. “Oh that’s Emily. And that’s Johnny. That’s old Billy,” and so on. It begins to tax my ability to recall names, an ability that’s fading fast anyway, and makes me wish I’d never claimed to know the worms on an individual basis.

But those worms are important to building the soil and I value them highly. It’s axiomatic that lots of worms means good soil.

On the other hand, slugs drive me to despair. The big ones are no problem. They are easy to see, pick up and throw out of the garden. It’s the small ones that do the damage, sneaking around, infiltrating the cabbage, sliming up tender stalks. On quiet summer nights I sometimes think I hear them munching.

Last garden season I resorted to Sluggo, sprinkling a line of it around the edge of the garden. It was effective. Way fewer slugs. But, imagine my horror to learn that Sluggo harms the worms.

I learned this from my daily reading of Steve Solomon’s Soil and Health Yahoo Group . I find that my daily time investment reading the compilation email is worth it because I get access to Steve, Michael Astera , one of the most knowledgeable soil analysts around, and other well-known names in organic gardening circles like Steve Diver.

It’s interesting and educational to read what vegetable gardeners around the world are discussing. Steve Solomon wrote perhaps the best gardening books for NW gardeners: Gardening When it Counts and Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades. He also maintains an on line library of out of print books . You can join this library for a small, one time fee. He has books on gardening, health and other subjects.

And, if you are so inclined you can slug your way through the study on why Sluggo hurts worms.


  2 Responses to “Slugs and Worms”

  1. My mother just sent me an email about the surprising uses for cucumber. Maybe this will handle the slug problem.
    Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber reacts with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

  2. From an experienced organic/biodynamic gardening friend on cukes in aluminum: Regardng the Cucumber/Aluminum…….

    “Chemicals in a cucumber react with the aluminum of the pie tin to give off a scent that drives garden pests crazy and they’ll leave the area. The scent is, obviously, offensive to bugs, and other creepy crawlers, but it is undetectable to humans”.

    The more I think about this the more it sorta “creeps” me out. Especially the part “all season long.” We are aware of not cooking hi acid foods in aluminum pans because of the leaching of
    aluminum, so we know it happens. Same thing wrapping pork in aluminum foil. What I think I’m reading into this is there is enough “gas” given off by the aluminum to gas the entire garden?
    Dunno bro, so much stuff out there undetectable to humans and still harmful. I’m thinking, when in doubt, don’t.

    Caught this on the Brix talk forum last night. You may have seen this before. Thought you might find it useful. Feel free to post any of my thoughts or links.

    Always the best.


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