Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tiny Munching Invaders: Roly Polies in the Garden

It's good to be back in spring!
In our front yard, we have a recycled Food is Free planter where we grow food to (theoretically) share with the neighbors. If anyone needs a tomato or a pepper or whatever, they can come by and grab one. But last year, the little patch o' heaven wasn't really productive enough to do much sharing. We are hoping for better this year. 
However, the sharing has started early this year, and we are trying to figure out what to do about it.

 Nope, it's not Swiss cheese arugula - someone's been munching.
We have been invaded by roly-polies! (aka pill bugs, and lots of other names)
Over the last few days, we have learned a lot about these rather cool little creatures. First, they are not bugs. They are land-based crustaceans. (I think we should rename them crusty pills or pill crusties.) And, like everything else, they are great in moderation, but they are not so great when there are lots of them. And we have lots and lots and lots of them in the Food is Free planter - we created a little roly-poly Paradise City and they have populated with abandon. They like moisture, wood to munch on, and rotting vegetation. We added lots of water, lots of compost, and lots of wood mulch. Yep, it's Party in the Planter 2016. They usually just munch on the dead stuff, but they go after the live stuff when their numbers get high. And their numbers are high! It's time for a mass exodus.
Link here
What's a gardener to do? Our first attempt is in place - we made a honeydew list assault by slicing up a melon to work at attracting the roving hordes of crusties. I checked it yesterday morning and found the hordes to be lacking, but I am going for the Patience approach and let the melon get over-ripe. I will keep you posted.
Not too hordish yet.
May you not need guns to protect your roses, and may the crustaceans be your beneficial friends.
Bonus roly poly trivia:
There is a Roly Poly Japanese girl-pop band!