I have suffered a devastating slug attack at the allotment, in which my beautiful red cabbages, purple sprouting broccoli and calabrese all suffered a serious munching- the same plants I posted pictures of earlier in the week boasting of their beauty and vigour (what’s that about counting your chickens before they hatch?) I’ve never really experienced an attack on this scale, photos of which would be far too distressing and horrific for your delicate eyes dear readers, and it has really made me question my organic methods. My immediate reaction was to blast the buggers with any chemical spray or pellet I could get my hands on, indeed I don’t think I’m quite out of the woods on that one...I need to fortify my organic-ness.
So why do we garden organically? Why not pump in a few chemicals, kill all the bugs and leave contented with enormous, non munched, healthy looking veg? Why sweat and toil, laboriously catching slugs by hand, cutting up old plastic bottles, encouraging friendly beasties, companion planting, picking nettles for fertiliser and making the trip up and down the garden to the compost bin three times a day when a few quid and a few chemicals would do the work for you?
For me, it just feels better- I. I can’t see the point in all the time and expense that goes with growing your own vegetables if ultimately you will end up with exactly the same thing as you could buy in the supermarket for significantly less money. I don’t want to eat chemicals, so why would I feed them to my food?
As an animal lover (I have to look the other way when the chickens eat a woodlouse) the last thing I want is to introduce more damaging elements into their food chain, we do that enough already. I want to encourage animals both in my garden and at the allotment- I love to see hedgehogs and frogs, even a vegetarian fox or two wandering through, perhaps it’s a hangover from my Animals of Farthing Wood phase. As a hedgehog can eat it’s body weight in slugs in one evening, I don’t want them to be eating poisoned ones if I can help it.
Aside from the animals, the taste, the chemicals... organic gardening is cheap. Once you’ve got a compost heap (our are made of breeze blocks we scavenged from a building site) you’re half way there! You just need to get creative and stick with it. Think about it, the stuff you would usually chuck out, the old veg peelings, the plastic bottles, even old beer, can become a useful and productive tool and ultimately feed your tummy!
And that is what it is all about...I want a tummy full of yummy veg with the satisfaction of knowing that I grew it without harming the soil, or the animals. So even though the slugs have broken my heart...I sense that they may have escaped a chemical massacre, although that definitely doesn’t mean that they live to munch my cabbages another day...
I’m waging (organic) war...