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Good Dogs & Bad Ladybugs

Running Dogs

Last spring my garden was invaded by slugs and snails. We never set out poison because of our dogs, so I put coffee grounds and crushed eggshells around the plants—and that worked pretty well.

But then I started noticing holes in my green bean plants. I checked them several times a day, but didn’t see any slugs or snails, just ladybugs—and everyone knows ladybugs are good for a garden.

Believe it or not, I started thinking it was the dogs. After all, the garden was the first place they’d head whenever I let them out. All the neighbors know their names from my yelling, “Buster! Rex! Max! Get out of the garden!”

I bought squirt guns and set them around the garden, and set the hose out so whenever the dogs ran to the garden I could spray them good. They began staying out of the garden, but I was still getting holes in my bean plants. I was losing my crop!

I went to the nursery to ask how to keep dogs out of a garden, but instead the clerk said, “Sounds to me like you have beetles.” “No, no,no,” I said. “I’ve got ladybugs, but no beetles.” “Are these ladybugs red or yellow-orange?” the clerk asked. “Kind of orangish,” I admitted. “But they have spots.” “Yep, those are Mexican bean beetles. They’ll wipe out a bean crop in very short order. Pick them off and drop them in a container of soapy water.”

My face went as red as a real ladybug—and I went home and did as he said. And, yep, it worked. Oh, well. The grandkids now have plenty of squirt guns to play with.

And the dogs? They won’t go anywhere near the garden.

What’s your worst gardening mistake? Send it to GREENPRINTS, Broken Trowel Award, P.O. Box 1355, Fairview, NC 28730. If we print it, you’ll get a free one-year subscription and our GREENPRINTS Companion CD!

This article was published originally in 2017, in GreenPrints Issue #110.


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