Living in the city has some major benefits, in my neighborhood the walking score is 75 which means I can walk just about every place I want to go, amazing shops, restaurants, markets etc. It’s pretty awesome. However, there are some downsides to living in a city the main one lately: vermin. When I was still pregnant with my little one, I was dumping water out of my daughters turtle pool and when I lifted it and giant white rat ran out from under it. I screamed and my daughter yelled “ooo catch it!”. Given this was not a “city” rat, more so a discarded pet, but still vermin. A few months later as we were readying the garden for spring, I saw something brown (this time), out of the corner of my eye, scurry under the fence. This time I waited till my husband got home to further inspect. Sure enough this brown rat had made itself the most amazing little nest under a wine crate and had apparently had a very cozy winter. I almost felt bad throwing his home away. Almost.
Fast forward a few months and I have my little victory garden going strong in pots, wine crates, burlap sacks and IKEA bags. I couldn’t be happier. I have so many things growing, thirty-five different varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs to be precise. Things I wasn’t sure would grown in these vessels, but do. It gives me so much pleasure to go outside and tinker around and pull weeds and tend to my tiny garden. But I find that most of the time I am on a mission, to protect these plants from the “vermin of the week”.
The first vermin that was the bane of my existence – cabbage worms – lovely green color, voracious appetite, incredibly reproductive capacity, smooth and squishy. What’s not to love about these guys? Oh yeah they ate almost my entire Brassica family of plants in less than a week. I found that picking and smashing these little ones was my best bet. I also used ground up egg shells around the base of the plants, and eventually they went away. Fortunately my plants all survived, even if they do have polka dot leaves according to my daughter.
Next up – snails and slugs – yep, I live in a rainy city, of course there are snails and slugs, obvious garden intruder. These guys and gals enjoy slowly ruining your plants only to sneak away into the shadows during the day. However, I don’t want to be using Sluggo to kill them because it hurts the poor little bees. So it is again and seek and destroy, or if my 4-year-old is around, a seek and relocate mission. Look it this big boy! Seriously, this is what I am dealing with, he was enjoying my amazing potatoes, I don’t think so fatty.
Now, for the unlikely crustacean (yes, apparently not a bug at all), that I was once fond of, that now I cannot kill fast enough – the rollie pollie. What, they are so cute?, they roll up, they are so fun. Cute exoskeleton, fun for small children to hold and delight in, enjoys living with hundreds of their closest friends, enjoys eating all of my green bean plants. Out of all the vermin destruction so far this is the most disappointing to me, I grew all of these bean plants from seeds and they were just getting these most amazing beans on them. Now, I have a decimated box of nothing. Damn you rollie pollie!
And drumroll please, the final vermin that has been dining in my garden – raccoon – now I haven’t seen this greedy bastard in action like all of the afore mentioned pests. Last night I planted some celery in my garden, that I grew from the cuttings of kitchen scraps and this morning I went out to water and what did my eyes see? A missing celery plant! BAH! So today I will be walking to the hardware store to get some screening to cover my celery, if anyone reading this happens to know what other plants raccoons likes to eat just let me know.
All in all, the garden is still looking pretty darn good if you ask me. I just need to up my game as far as what vermin to expect next. The raccoon definitely took me by surprise. Some of my friends who live in neighboring cities, have bears and deer eating their berries and gardens, I guess my midnight munching raccoon isn’t so bad.
If any of you reading this have expert advice on controlling/eradicating some of these pests let me know, especially the rollie pollie, I have no idea what to do about these guys and I need some help.