Gardening stopped being fun today

So, we’ve had maybe three sunny days in June, and according to NOAA’s Portland station, 8.17 inches of rain in June thus far, over 5 inches above normal.  Today, when I removed the row cover from 2 beds of brassicas, I was greeted with slimy, munched on, rotting heads of broccoli, covered in slug dung.  The napa cabbage looks like napa lace, with only the skeletonized remains of leaves on some plants.  I managed to salvage maybe enough broccoli for one meal.  The graffiti cauliflower so far is looking ok, but everything else is a mess.

I pulled a third of it and tossed it in the compost.  Some, I cut the main head off, hoping for side shoots.  I left the whole mess uncovered, as I don’t know whether it is worth protecting from the cabbage moths.

Between the rodent eating my second crop of brassicas, and this disaster, I’m beginning to think it isn’t worth the effort involved to garden in my clay soil.  Granted, we caught the rodent this year, but there’s more where he came from, and the soil isn’t improving despite piles of compost and leaf mold.  I guess I should count my blessings I’m not a strawberry grower.  Last year, I picked 80 lbs. of strawberries by July 3.  I haven’t even tasted a Maine strawberry yet this year.  Sigh.


9 Responses to “Gardening stopped being fun today”

  1. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife Says:

    Bummer. I’m sorry, Ali. It sucks when all your hard work seems to go for nothing.

    Have you considered planting something with roots that are good for loosening the soil? In wine growing regions they often interplant a certain mustard known for its long, thin, spiraling roots that go down and work to improve the soil. There’s always comfrey too, for long tap roots and abundant compost material. And I’m going to try daikon for loosening our clay too.

    Don’t give up! Gardening will be fun again. There’s always the fall crop, which is usually bigger for me anyway.

  2. jeannie177 Says:

    I don’t know if you have raised beds like Mom, but that might work for those. Along with the tomatoe hoops for holding up the Braccoli might work for you. When I used to garden with Marianne’s Dad we did that with the broccoli, and it worked well.
    P.S. On the wood around the raised beds you can put some kind of sticky stuff for some bugs and or other stuff. Also beer in shallow dishes trap slugs. Then in the morning you put salt on them to get rid of them. A remady from Aunt Suzie.

  3. julie Says:

    Instead of heading to the strawberry fields here in Southern Maine, I’m off to Hanaford’s to purchase beer to aid in my battle against slugs and snails!

  4. John Walters Says:

    I feel for you with the slug problem, we used to have one too.

    I noticed that you have small hoop houses in your garden (pics in pvc hoop house story) so I would seriously suggest you have a look at my website: and see what we use.

    I don’t guarantee it will keep 100% of the slugs out but if you keep it neatly anchored at the bottom it will reduce the problem to a minor nuisance. Oh and your plants will absolutely love it for all sorts of non-slug reasons.

    Feel free to mercilessly interrogate me!



  5. mangochild Says:

    I hear you. My strawberries are barely creeping along with all the rain (like you, nearly every day) and this past weekend I found a bunch of slugs invading my pepper plants. I hate it, and for a few minutes (or hours) it made me want to throw in the towel on gardening. I’m sorry the slugs got at your brassicas. I don’t know where to go either, but it is demoralizing. I don’t have suggestions or answers like the others posted, but I really do feel for you.

  6. Daphne Gould Says:

    I hear you. The slugs are out of control. This year and last year we had way too much rain. At least last year it was also sunny. This year we can’t even get a partial day of sun. My consolation has been that my peas are doing great. I’m pickling them because I may never get any cucumbers out of the garden and I want pickles.

  7. Diane Says:

    That’s too bad. I hope your season improves.

  8. safira Says:

    I feel for you. Glad this wasn’t the year I tried broccoli. The tatsoi seems to be saving everything else from the slugs, so I’m leaving the pathetic, lacy leaves in place.

  9. Ali Says:

    Thanks, all, for the tea and sympathy. It helps to have a support group! I do have some good news to post.

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