Is slug exorcism a thing? Asking for a friend.

I’m going to tell you a tale of horror about this massive slug. Here he is in all his gastropod wonder.


I found him in my kitchen. The species, I’ve learned, is called Limax maximus, which literally means “biggest slug.” It’s commonly called the leopard slug, or sometimes the great gray slug. Or maybe it should be called the great grave slug. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Somehow, this creature slimed his way under my kitchen door just after a heavy rain. When I found him there on the floor next to my fridge, I knew he had to go. I’m not proud of this, but… I dispatched him with some salt. (How? Science, bitches!) It was a mean thing to do, and I do feel remorse. But I’m a gardener, and I’m as passionate about keeping my hostas pristine as slugs are passionate about putting holes in them. I have a bias. I wasn’t thinking clearly.


These lovely plants don’t deserve to be treated as a slug salad bar.

This needs to be said, ugly though it may be . . . I used a shitload of salt to put this guy down.

I plucked salty Mr. Slug from the floor with a paper towel and placed him in the garbage can, wrapping him tightly and shoving him down into the depths so I wouldn’t have to think about what I’d done.

The next morning, he had risen to the top of the garbage and was sprawled on a newly disposed-of piece of paper towel. He wasn’t moving. In fact, he looked quite deceased. I cringed, balled him up in the towel again, and sent him deep down into the trash. I washed my hands, figuring I’d seen the last of him. Oh, how wrong I was.

Now, I recycle (I hope you’ll forgive me the recurring paper towel theme), so my garbage doesn’t go out often. A day later, I went to throw something away and there, on another paper towel, was the slug. He had emerged once more from the depths, answering the siren call of a freshly thrown-out piece of paper towel. I named him Lazarus. And, again, I sent him back to his tomb.

Last night, he reappeared. The same still, rather desiccated form. The same position atop a napkin atop a pile of garbage. I think this time I actually yelped, “What the FUCK?” as I hastily rewrapped the paper towel and shoved him down, down, down into the trashy depths, chanting the only slug exorcism I know: “Ew ew ew ew ew!”

They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Well, I’ll counter that creepy is putting a (presumably) dead slug down under a bunch of garbage only to have it re-emerge.

So, this morning . . . Well, you see where this story is going. There was that menacing mollusk again. This time, I took the slug-infested paper towel outside, gave it a shake over the grassy area in my backyard, and sent what still looked like a very demised Great Gray back to the earth.

Then, I took out the trash.

If Lazarus returns, I may have to consider having the house saged and performing some sort of ritual cleansing for ghost slugs. For the sake of my waning sanity, let’s all hope that doesn’t happen.


How To Build an Indoor Seed Starting Setup

Several years ago, provoked by Spring fever and taunted by the sight of seed starting flats and racks of seeds in the local home goods store, I decided that I would grow seeds indoors. I cleared a corner of a little plastic shelving unit by a sunny window in my mud room, watered down the little Jiffy seed starting pellets I’d purchased, added seeds and hoped for the best. A week later I was amazed to see seedlings sprouting. A month later, I was saddened to see that my seedlings had grown tall and droopy and looked weak, despite my best efforts to sustain them. A few tomatoes survived to be planted outside, but they were never very healthy and I don’t think they ever produced blooms, much less fruit.

What had I done wrong?

It’s All About Light

A little research was all it took to help me realize where my seed starting experiment had failed. My sunny window wasn’t enough to get my seedlings to thrive–they needed much more light. The reason that they’d grown tall and spindly was because they were reaching for the distant light shining through the window, desperately trying to generate enough energy to grow. I decided that if I wanted to try starting seeds indoors again (and I did, because what better way is there for a gardener to chase away the late-winter blues than to sprout green things indoors?) I would have to devise a system to generate light and lots of it. I did more research, and came up with a system that has worked well for me now for a couple of seasons and cost far less than the seed starting setups you’ll find in catalogs.

Here’s what I did… Continue reading