I’ve had a dream of growing grass in my mud pit of a backyard ever since I got my big, glorious dog Jasmine. Her two favorite things to do are relaxing and luxuriating and relaxing and luxuriating on grass. So this September I dug out all the useless clay soil around my patio and replaced it with nutrient rich, drainable soil. I sprinkled a drought tolerant grass seed over it that the instructions said would grow a wild, long bladed style of grass, and then I fenced the whole area, watered it and waited.
In just a few days a dim, green shadow formed over my dirt patch. My grass was growing! I would run out to my tiny lawn each morning to see how many more blades had popped up over night. Soon, I had fresh baby grass surrounding my patio.
Then the slugs arrived. Based on internet gardening forums that I visited, this is a thing that happens in England a lot apparently. But I’m guessing that to slugs a shady yard in San Francisco is as good as a yard in England. It turns out they are attracted to the wet dirt and feast on the baby blades of grass. They literally destroy your lawn one blade at a time. Another gross thing about slugs is their disgusting booger trails make the grass that they haven’t eaten get moldy so they’re a real win/win. The forums told me the only way to get rid of them is to go out with a flashlight at 1am and pick them out by hand. Like a crazy person, I absolutely did this. Every night.
It worked! My grass flourished enough for me to feel comfortable taking down the waist high fencing and replacing it with a cute little temporary metal fence that would keep the dogs from playing on it as it matured. A few days later I walked out to do my morning grass check and froze in shock. My little fence was pulled out of the dirt and left in a mangled pile. My beautiful baby grass looked like a tiny farmer from 1860 had come and hand plowed it, leaving it uprooted in perfectly straight rows. It was as if whatever creature responsible for this destruction was a compulsive neat freak.
And then it dawned on me, The Tidy Raccoon, of course! I took out my phone and asked Siri if Raccoons eat slugs. Strangely, instead of answering yes or no, she showed me literally the cutest video ever of a raccoon digging up and eating slugs in a park in Canada. Mmmkay, so that’s a yes.
Britt came out to see who I was talking to. I told him about the raccoon. He was gleeful. “Oh how cute! He tore up the grass in efficient little rows!”
“But my grass is ruined!” I told him. “But how cute and talented is our raccoon he did it so neatly with his little hands?” he replied.
Our raccoon. He said our raccoon. I sighed and rolled my eyes at him. I shook my head and went back inside. At least the slugs were gone.