Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Some garden tips are correct....except when they're not.

So for the last few days I have been battling the nefarious pill bug, or rolly poly, as we used to call them as kids.  They have killed two of my cucumber plants by gnawing them off at the base of their stems, where the plant meets the dirt.  I know it's them because both times I caught them in the very act.  They have actually damaged all the cucumber plants by doing this, but only two have been gnawed through to a point where it killed them.  Obviously this is unacceptable.

So here's the rub:  We're always told to mulch around our plants, because the organic matter is good for enriching the soil, plus it protects the root systems of the plants themselves by keeping them cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  Those are good things.  Yes.

Yet when you have pill bugs killing your plants, when you go on various websites to determine why they exist in such abundance in your garden beds, the blame is immediately foisted on you for having put mulch down, which creates a nifty environment for said bugs to live in.  Because mulch is moist and rich in organic matter.  

So mulch is a bad thing. Yes?

That's the thing about gardening and sometimes, life in general.  Everything is the correct thing to do...until it isn't.

I will be applying some Spinozad to cull the pill bug population tonight, hopefully before any more cucumber plants fall prey to them.  Sigh.  We also have gopher traps set for whomever is attempting to get into our pumpkin patch and vegetable beds.  

I'm getting adept at killing things, which is usually a bad thing. Except, of course, when it's good.


  1. Oh I feel your frustration. I actually have a fair amount of my garden mulched with newspaper. And only newspaper. Haha I hammer it down with bamboo cuticle pushers (cosmetology gardening 101). Most certainly unconventional but for me it works. I still battle an infestation of weeds that was carried in through mulch a few years ago. Good luck!

    1. Newspaper is a great idea for keeping weeds for the cuticle pushers, that's a pretty clever use!