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by Cathy Bruemmer

Seattle Tilth’s Maritime Northwest Garden Guide refers to April as the month of the slug. If you’re at Hedgebrook it’s the month of the snail. They are everywhere. I hunt in the mornings, watching for their slime tracks and looking under leaves. The rhubarb is an especially popular hangout. Sorry to those of you who are squeamish, but I’m merciless with my boot stomping. I feel a bit like the momma bear out there protecting my young. Given the cold weather and slow growth, the seedlings need all the help they can get. Fortunately, there’s Sluggo, an organic slug and snail bait that I buy in the giant 10-pound jug. Between the boots and the bait I think the garden has a chance.

There’s not much to harvest yet. This past fall I decided to put the garden to rest and cover crop every bed that wasn’t planted in garlic. I dug the cover crop into about half the beds in late February. Those have been planted in peas, salad and cooking greens, herbs, beets, spinach, carrots, fennel… Today I hope to finish the second round of bed prep. I grow starts at home on my sunporch, and it’s about time to move some flats out.

Two years ago I discovered a new pest in the garden: root weevils. They are tiny, the color of dry dirt and they devour new seedlings. I’ve always preferred direct seeding. It’s a labor-saving choice, and I find transplanting tedious. Twice I’ve added parasitic nematodes to the garden beds hoping they’ll eventually win out over the weevils.

Between the cold and the pests it’s been a slow start this year. My usual springtime optimism seemed to finally return, along with the swallows, last week. A little sunshine and a few degree increase on the thermometer makes for a happy gardener.


Cathy Bruemmer
About Cathy Bruemmer


  • Mary Tang
    8:42 AM - 12 May, 2011

    Well done Cathy! How I loved watching those seedlings grow and plundering your vegetable beds 🙂

  • Jen Marlowe
    6:24 PM - 26 May, 2011

    i should have read this before hiding that snail back in the strawberry plants!
    did that one end up meeting your boot as soon as i walked away?

  • Leah
    11:50 PM - 27 May, 2011

    You warned me not to look as you stomped one of those giant slugs. No mercy! Rereading the list that I scribbled as you walked the garden with me reciting all of those delicious names of plants and trees puts me back there that drizzly summer day, everything in full glory.

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