Not a fair match, really.
Slow, puny, squishy little guys, snails. But man…Man! We have big, smashy shoes, poison pellets, SALT, and loads of brains!
So why are the snails and slugs so thoroughly defeating me?
My work colleague (and fellow urban homesteader) tried to warn me of the Slug Epidemic, how it was ravaging her baby plants. And yes, it was hard to ignore the snail horror stories in the news – how the combo of unusual rainfall levels and lack of sunshine had created a tidal wave of slime, destroying crops and baffling the British public. I shuddered in sympathy but was comforted, knowing my rooftop garden was safe. No slug would be so brazen to climb so high, to brave the hot tar surface, and for such little reward.
They waited. Until my plants were just big enough to have hopes and dreams. Then one morning, to my horror, I found a wasteland where my crop used to be. It was senseless and random. They spared the Greek basil, but ate their way up every sunflower. Gnawed my hot peppers (!!!!) to the nub but haughtily ignored the oregano.
‘You monster! They were just babies!’ I wailed into the antennae of a snail. ‘How could you?!!’
I’ll tell you how. These ambitious Horror Beasts climbed a frigging TREE to reach my crop. I found five – FIVE – snails one pot alone. Too squeamish to stomp, I pitched them one by one over the balcony. I told myself the leaves and branches along the way down would give them a fighting chance to survive. It seemed fair.
I brought my pots inside every night and looked for answers. My housemate recommended salt. But remembering to sprinkle after every rainstorm was impracticable, given my attention span. Slug pellets? Nah. I don’t fancy slug poison-flavoured tomatoes, thanks.
‘You have to pre-order this stuff’, she said. ‘Not all places sell it, and it goes very fast.’
I tried it, and sure enough, this morning I found a snail at the bottom of the pot, tipped to the side.
He looked drunk and alarmed.
With a triumphant, ‘Didn’t see that coming, buddy!!’ I pitched him (humanely) over the balcony.
‘Now go and tell your friends!’ I called after him. ‘Tell them what happens when you MESS WITH ME!!’
Ha ha ha ha ha ha!