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Slugs, Snails & Sunshine

It really is quite unbelievable. One day we’re getting frosts and the next it’s blistering. They’re saying 28 degrees for Saturday! Yet the maximum predicted next Tuesday is just 11 degrees. Well, at least gardening isn’t boring in the UK!

Slugs & Snails

I don’t know if it is just us or if everyone is having the same problem. We’ve a plague of snails. Lift a piece of wood or an old pot and there they are. Hundreds of the devils. There was even one sliming (I nearly said crawling, but sliming feels more accurate) over a bedroom window!

Now I know all about slug beer traps, upturned halves of grapefruits, copper bands and wires, crushed eggshells etc to stop them but the most effective defence is the slug pellet.

Now with 5 cats, including a daft kitten who eats anything, I don’t want to take any risks. I know they put a repellent in the standard pellets but any cat owner will tell you the forbidden food is far tastier than the best cat food.

So we use Growing Success Advanced pellets that are based on a safe chemical. I’m not saying you could eat them on a sandwich but they are safe for pets and wildlife. You can find out more about them and the other slug defences here: Slug Protection.

On the Allotment

I’ve managed a couple of trips down to the plot, mainly just a bit of weeding and watering. I had a bit of a surprise with the watering though. My long hosepipe has gone walkabout and so has the fitting off the end of the shorter pipe. Perhaps someone borrowed them and forgot to return them. A trip to the DIY shed for a cheap hosepipe is called for. I don’t think I’ll invest in a top quality one in the circumstances.

Progress in the Home Greenhouse

Back at home, the tomatoes are shooting up. They have put on 6″ in 5 days! So that’s the lid off the Vitopod now. The peppers aren’t doing well, I don’t know why they’re not putting much growth on.

Squashes and pumpkins are demanding to be planted or put in larger pots and the sweetcorn is doing OK except for one which a snail has attacked. That’s in spite of scattered pellets.

Hopefully I’ll have this lot out over the next week. I just want to run the Merry Tiller over plot five first.

RHS Chelsea

Now if you think you and I have problems with this hot and cold weather, spare a thought for those showing at RHS Chelsea. I had a quick chat with Medwyn Williams who is famed for his 10 gold medals he’s won there. Not for unusual gardens made of stainless steel or other daftness, he’s got them for his displays of vegetables.

He’s been preparing for this for months and now, to quote, “the temperature is soaring and everything’s wilting” The poor chap sounded exhausted and really down. I’d bet good money (if I gambled) that he will have it perfect on the day and walk away with another gold.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
3 comments on “Slugs, Snails & Sunshine
  1. Steve in Salford says:

    Having taken over my first plot in November last, we have gone from a plot fit to grow rice to what can only be termed as somewhat dry, it lacks organic matter, something I will put right over the coming months, years.

    Having cleared enough of the plot to have two 4′ x 33′ growing strips, I have turned to a well known weed killer to tackle the rest, other areas are under a plastic sheet and that has killed off most of the grass. Next thing is digging the whole lot which should be fun, in the hot weather, needing to lose some I suppose everything has an upside.

    Which brings me to the point of slugs, who says they are all bad they are having a field day with my docks or at least I assume it is them, they are looking very sorry for themselves and the weed killer should finish them off, but noticed there are more patches of marestail, that should be a joy to remove.

    Oh well Rome was not built in a day and least we should get some veggies out of it this year, the strawberries are about to fruit and the potatoes got a bit of frost bite a week back but have banked them up with earth and they seem to have recovered, planted out some more black currants, mint and gave everything a good watering, trimmed some none seeding weeds from around the sheds and added those to the compost heap as well,looking forward to some rhubarb next year and getting the rest of my seedlings in for this year.

  2. Claire in Bromley says:

    Slugs/snails and marestail are by far my biggest problems on my allotment. Last year I relied on slug pellets to keep the slugs off my tastiest plants. This year I am tempted to stray into the organic nematode world.

    Nematodes seem to have the benefits of lasting for 6 weeks after first applied, compared to pellets that need re-laying all the time. They also do not effect cats/other wildlife, so may be just the thing for gardens where pets are around. The only downside I can see is the potential cost – they are no-where near as cheap as mass produced pellets, and can’t be bought in bulk as they don’t store well.

  3. Sarah says:

    Slugs were a real pain for me, (and it didn’t help that my neighbour threw his over my fence) until I found crushed shells, cotton wool and roofing felt.

    Now when I raise my seeds in the greenhouse, I tape or tack a piece of roofing felt around the outside of the bench, i also make cabbage collars out of the felt to put around my brassicas, sweetcorn etc. My lettuces get a good sprinkling of crushed sea shells – get the kids to collect them when you go to the beach, and anything else that seems vunerable gets covered with some areated polythene and treated to some cheap cotton wool roll between the plants.

    You see, the roofing felt if very coarse and lasts a long time but I guess you could use sandpaper. The slugs and snails don’t like coarse because it dries them out and they can’t move – if you then sprinkle it with salt you get added dehydration. The shells are sharp and they don’t like sharp for the same reason, plus, think how you’d feel if you had to walk across a gravel drive in barefeet; and the cotton wool goes under the polythene to keep it as dry as possible because thet way it stays absorbant so absorbs the slime, result, a slug that con’t get to your plants. Also, the cotton wool can be torn up and put in the compost bin at the end of the season.

    All of these methods I have used for a number of years and for the past four years I haven’t had so much as a hole in my brassicas or little gem lettuces so I now spend my time admiring the lacey vegetables on the other plots, I’ve even heard other plotholders cursing and muttering as they walk past my plot. Ha, serves them right for not using their noggin when they can see it in use.

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