Developing the cold-bloodedness necessary to garden

This week’s #FloridaWeekly presents a primer on gardening (out this Wednesday.) Now is the time to start growing in Southwest and South Florida.

Roger Williams relays his conversations with the folks at Worden Farm and Millisa Bell, The Unruly Gardener with his usual expressive charm and erudite finesse.

Below however, is a far less civilized account of local gardening adventures: a brief description of my fight to keep my green bean saplings and tomato and pea seedlings safe from the hungry mouths of snails. This violent account will not be appearing in our pages, thankfully, for the sake of our young readers.

I could swear that the first snail I plopped into the pickle jar gurgled. Its tiny mucocutaneous mouth twisted — a sphincter emitting a fart-squirt like you might hear out of a mustard bottle. There was froth. I looked away. The humanity…  The molluskity.

I dumped another five or so in the rubbing alcohol reservoir during the following two minutes — looking for signs of pain or struggle. Fortunately, the rest fell shell-side up; so if they did writhe and gurgle and call out to me with their muffled mustard-fart screams, I did not hear.

Gardening, it turns out, is war. I’m also on the lookout for hornworms and cutworms and stink bugs and leaf-footed bugs. I’ll soon recruit the help of a coffee grounds/eggshell mixture, a phalanx of ladybugs and a pair of long, sharp scissors. But tonight, the pickled isopropyl death-trap commands the battlefield.

The Maglight scanned for another minute or so, snail shells clanking like cubes in an empty rocks glass as I moved. Shaken not stirred, I am licensed to kill. Beware creatures who might dare to eat my food.

The label may say, “Kosher,” but this is as trayf as it gets.

What are you growing this season? How goes your war?

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