I have a problem…

I have a problem, and the problem is this – I don’t like killing things! As head gardener at mtp I know it is my duty to rid the area of bugs, slugs, snails, grubs and caterpillars but I find it really hard to kill them. I was chatting to one of my neighbours the other day and casually pointed out that the Comfrey plants were attracting some prettyish caterpillars. Their reaction was to nonchalantly stamp on the bush thus squashing the black and yellow creatures into a pulpy mess. I was horrified (but said nothing of course). This picture is of the one singular caterpillar that survived. I felt I had betrayed an innocent animal, shopped him to the feds, revealled his hidding place when all he asked for was sanctuary on mtp.
Of course I might feel differently about this when my new found friends have eaten my lettuce crop overnight.

8 Comments on “I have a problem…

  1. I know what you mean about killing the wee beasties. No matter how enraged I get when my seedlings have been decimated I still can’t bring myself to ‘do the deed’. I’m not sure whether this qualifies me as a buddhist by default, or perhaps just means that I’m a wuss.

  2. … Snails are the worst because they’re so cute – I mean it is cool to carry your house on your back, isn’t it? It’s the crunch I can’t stand. At home I launch them into the field at the bottom of the garden. On the allotment I can’t throw them far enough to ensure they don’t land on someone else’s veg. Plus I’d probably get evicted by the warden!
    Maybe I should try the world’s first snail-friendly vegetable patch??*

  3. Could you have a bug box, which all the snails and catepillars from a day’s work can go into then chuck them in your field at home…? I wouldn’t worry too much about slugs tho, they’re nasty…

    Someone’s going to tell us off for being wussy v soon.

  4. Having just Googled “‘snail friendly’ vegetable patch”, I am appalled to see there are only 5 sites which contain this phrase – two of them being mytinyplot.
    I have carefully prepared a vege patch, gotten several dozen seedlings, but seeing the first batch were munched – probably by slugs & snails, I am wary of planting the remainder until I find a snail-deterrant – NOT something that kills them. Surely something must exist on this planet?
    Any ideas?

  5. Bit late for this I know… I have the answer. Get a black pvc compost bin from the council! Throw in green waste and all sorts, news paper and whatever, then rehome your slugs and snails into it. They love it and won’t willingly leave.

  6. I used to collect the snails from my London flower beds and dump them outside in the gutter. Once, I noted some Japanese photographers taking pics of the exodus – they thought it was some english phenomenon!

  7. Brilliant – I too love to photograph snails. They are tragically under-photographed in my opinion.

  8. I ‘freecycled’ some caterpillars I found on my broccoli last year. Some kids happily raised them to butterflies a good two miles from my patch.