Good morning, gardeners. How is the weather treating you?

My yard is a slug buffet. It's a freak show, seriously. We had a little rain this week in the Pacific Northwest. That made me happy, because I planted some new blueberries this year -- and the natural water just works so much better than the hose variety. I was also busy and distracted this week, so I spent less time in the garden. I was even lazier about it because I didn't have to water. Oh boy.

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I admit that I might have been a little remiss with the Sluggo in a couple of places, but damn. The slugs came out of nowhere!

Okay, I should have been alerted to the fact that I needed to spend some time slug picking when I went to the mailbox after dark, barefoot, and accidentally murdered one of the little darlings on the front walkway. Squwoosh. Right between the toes. Mmmmm. Feels like poop. Oh wait -- it isn't poop. It's slug innards. Nothing like picking fresh slug guts from under your toenails before bedtime. That always makes me feel frisky.

I felt terrible, though, ending its life in such and up close and personal way. I didn't feel too terrible for too long, though, especially when I found a zillion of these boys going on with their bad selves in my garden. I mean, seriously. Look at this sexy hunk-o-stuff. Isn't he pretty?

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I intercepted this little guy below when he was on his way to the feast. He wasn't nearly filled up with goodies like the others I found. No doubt he'd be a little more turgid if I'd found him a couple of hours later...

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I have to admit that I'm wimpy when it comes to slugs. I can't intentionally kill them. I just collect them and move them to a nearby greenbelt far away from my garden. (I'm a hypocrite, though. I use Sluggo. That's probably not a nice thing to do -- but I don't have to witness their demise that way, either.)

Well, so much about slugs.

I want to tell you about the crazy bout of black aphids we had a couple of weeks ago, and how well our nasturtiums acted as a catch crop for them. I took a local master gardener's advice and left them alone when they attacked the nasturtiums -- and it worked beautifully. They sucked the flowers dry and didn't attack anything else.

We had a great case study for this at our community garden plot. Here, we're about to convert the front section of the plot to winter crops where we're building a raised bed. If you look to the right, you'll see a huge swath of nasturtiums -- maybe eight or ten square feet. They suffered an obscene aphid infestation, but none of the crops we harvested right next to them were damaged. Those crops sat next to the infestation for a couple of weeks, too.

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Here is another case, where the wine barrel was full of nasturtiums -- which are now gone because the aphids killed them. The Serrano pepper plant was untouched by them, as was the tarragon. The roses (outside the picture) were unmolested, as well. I'll have to decide what flowers I'll use to fill the space the nasturtiums once occupied, though...

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I'm not sure if I'm going to adopt this as a general aphid strategy. It's only two data points, after all. And it was a perversely bad year for aphids.

What's going on in your garden?

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