Friday, June 7, 2013

Safe Gardening with the Munchkins

We do not use pesticide or herbicide in our back yard. Pesticide is bad for the Munchkins, but herbicide is really bad because they walk through it, lick their paws, etc. We look for safe alternatives when confronted with back yard woes.

In any event, we are not slaves to our lawn, and we certainly don't lose sleep over lawn care. I mow the lawn, but I don't polish the grass the way our retired next door neighbor does. (I suspect we are a secret sorrow for him.) As long as there’s grass for the munchkins to frolic, roll, or sprawl in, we aren't concerned with how it looks.

The occasional weed or dandelion is either pulled, ignored, or killed with vinegar. Vinegar kills grass too, so I usually pull up the dandelion, which breaks off at the root and then I pour a bit of vinegar directly onto the root. It dies. A simple and satisfying solution.

To keep small dogs from digging in damp dirt or uprooting plants that have offended them in some way, I pour copious amounts of black pepper over the tempting areas.

To prevent mystery creatures from eating our tomatoes, I paint the bottoms of ripe tomatoes with hot sauce. I don't concern myself with green tomatoes, these beasties don’t bother to climb over the back fence and snack on my tomatoes until they're nearly ready to pick. I paint only the bottoms of the tomatoes and don’t get any hot sauce on the tomato plant itself because it will burn the leaves and turn them brown.

Snail bait is toxic to dogs, so we've found a very effective solution: Beer. We dig small holes near the basil and put little cups in them so the tops are flush with the ground. Then we fill the cups with cheap beer. (Truly, get the cheapest stuff you can find. Save the craft beer for more sophisticated palates.) Snails crawl into the beer and die happy.

This year our back yard has more unwanted guests—snails. We went out to admire our newly planted basil, and to our horror discovered huge holes in the leaves. Further investigation revealed snails to be the culprits.

Two Small Dogs are only exposed to a potential snack of basil flavored snails marinated in beer. Fortunately, Ivan and Dasa do not slurp up this mixture. Every couple of days, we empty the cups behind the back fence and fill them with more beer. And so it goes. The basil seems to be recovering, and we’re making the world safe for the Munchkins, one drunken snail at a time.

1 comment:

  1. LOL @ basil flavored snails marinated in beer! Perhaps you could interest a local restaurant in your gourmet escargot! :)