It was a balmy and calm December night. Hundreds of slugs covered the front porch, their slimy trails glistening in the moonlight. We, the owners of the slug-infested porch, stood gaping in awe. We knew that our garden beds played host to slugs in the summer, evidenced by chewed-up hostas and cabbage, and the shiny tell-tale tracks left on walkways. Sometimes a particularly large slug would make an appearance by our back door or on the base of the porch. (Recon missions?) But we had no idea that we had so many, or that they were capable of seemingly organized mass gatherings such as this.
Were the slugs only there to enjoy the unusually warm evening, coming out of hiding to bask in the above average temperatures one last time before winter settled in? Or were their intentions more sinister? I have read Animal Farm several times, and I couldn’t help but think that there was some kind of anarchy or overthrow being planned.
Now that I am aware of their organizational capabilities, I prefer to live with the slugs rather than make enemies of them. I do not want them coming after me. So, I no longer put down beer traps and have chosen not to use the highly recommended Sluggo to “control” them. I announce when I am going to harvest cabbage so that they have a fair warning to retreat, and I am not too bothered by the holes that they create in some of our plants.
Bill and I even decided to honor them when we competed in the Great Urban Race in Toronto last summer. This is a competition held in various cities in which teams of two race around the city on foot or using public transportation, figuring out clues, taking pictures and performing tasks along the way. Knowing that our intellect far surpassed our speed, we named our team Super Slugs. As expected, we finished the race toward the back of the pack, but I do believe that our garden slugs were impressed; they have not felt the need to intimidate us by holding any uprisings lately.
Still, although I do not actively wipe out the slugs, I do draw the line at ingesting them. Therefore, all cabbage picked from our garden is carefully inspected; the chewed outer leaves are removed, and the cut-up cabbage is placed in salt water to soak out any remaining invaders. Doing so has not seemed to invoke any retaliation on their part. This year, our cabbage seems to be surprisingly slug-free. Although they feasted on the exterior, there were far fewer baby slugs hiding inside than there usually are. I only had to pluck off two babies on the first head that I picked last Tuesday.
Using my handy Salad Shooter, I shredded the soaked and slug-less cabbage to make one of our favorite summer salads: Bleu Cheese Coleslaw. If you are looking for coleslaw “with a twist,” give this recipe a try. The bleu cheese gives it a bit of flair. We like it with (or on) steaks or burgers. If you don’t grow cabbage, or are making it off-season, just use a bag of slaw mix as called for in the recipe. But whatever you do, don’t anger the slugs.
BLEU CHEESE COLESLAW: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/bleu-cheese-coleslaw/detail.aspx