One happy story has emerged from the Slug Battles this summer: The Story of the Intrepid Little Sunflower.
The slugs and snails have been voracious this year. When my little sunflowers first sprouted I covered them every night with jars. When they outgrew the jars I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and go on Slug Patrol – looking for any snails or slugs that might be chowing down on my sunflower youngsters (in the morning I would take the slugs and snails out to our wetland – what I’ve dubbed my “Snail and Slug Refuge” – and ask them to please stay down there). Eventually I started wrapping copper tape around the bottom of the sunflowers’ stems and that seemed to work pretty well – UNTIL one morning I found a slug or snail had chomped through the stem of one of the sunflower youngsters and the top three inches was hanging from the bottom three inches by mere threads. I tried to tape it together, but that didn’t work well. Finally, I pulled the top part off and – finding I didn’t have it in me to toss it in the compost – I put it in a little bottle filled with water and put it on top of a book case, and waited for nature to take its course.
But the little sunflower did not die. In fact, it appeared to me that it even grew a few inches.
A couple weeks went by and the leaves started turning yellow. It was obvious to me my little sunflower teenager needed nutrients. On impulse, I put about half an inch of soil in the bottom of the bottle and made sure the bottom of the sunflower stem touched the soil – I hoped the plant would somehow suck up the nutrients it needed – maybe it would grow roots? I wasn’t sure how that worked – but it seemed possible to me.
And today when I looked over at the sunflower teenager he seemed to have grown six inches overnight! I looked at the bottom of the bottle and there were roots in there!
I planted him in a planter out on the deck. Right now he is out there, straight and getting taller, and waving happily in the breeze at me. 🙂
– Karen Molenaar Terrell