Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Dreaming about slugs

by Diane - March 21st, 2013.
Filed under: allotment.

The slug catching needs to start early this year! Last year was a bad year for gardeners but an excellent one for slugs. The mild wet summer enabled them to grow and reproduce like crazy. This has got me and a few other plot holders concerned.

Whilst the idea of spending £20 on nematodes is certainly an option I’d like to try some other techniques for catching them.

This year I’m going to try

• Direct action – slug killing by collection at dusk and immersion in a bucket of beer waste. (The slugs not me! Although to steady my nerves, some beer after might be called for!)
• Beer traps
• Fake-beer traps. Am going to try using bread yeast to make fake beer to put in traps.
• Trapping – laying out of sheets for slugs to hide under
• Cleaning up areas prone to slug infestation
• Application of slug pellets when planting out seedlings. Although if I go the nematode route I won’t need to do this.
• Use of scratchy mulches. This might protect some plants from being attacked.
• Keeping the plot tidy. Slugs will hide in bags and underneath tubs so these need sorting out so there are fewer places to hide.
• Thinking about installing a small pond to welcome frogs and toads. Not sure where to put one so at the moment it’s only at the pre-planning stage.

Whilst this might not solve the problem entirely it’s got to help! I do think the removal of slugs by dusk patrols has to be a useful thing to do. Removing large slugs will mean there’s fewer to do damage and reproduce. The advantages of this method are it only costs time and the liquid I drown them in. Liquids which can be used could just be salty water, but I do have some beer yeast water that I am using.
Even though it’s only March I have found some slugs on cardboard mulch sheets in the compost area, so they’ve been disposed of.

Hopefully by regularly removing the slugs I’ll make a dent in the population. It’ll also be a good excuse to be out on the plot in the evenings. That can be a really lovely time to be out, when the plot is quiet, and when the sky sinks down and the sunsets are worth looking at.

Slug cover up
One thing to watch out for is where there are tarps and covers on the ground; these can quickly become a home for slugs. It’s worth checking under any you have on your plot and removing any slugs and snails you find lurking underneath. As you will know the slugs don’t stay under cover at night and will come out and devastate crops. It’s important to encourage other plot holders to also take action against slugs and snails.
Perhaps discuss this at your meetings or mention it to the committee to bring up. Slugs don’t just stay on the plot they start on! They’ll feast far afield!
Boards, tarps, cardboard, concrete slabs on grass can all be home to slugs. Grass around the edge of raised beds is a good place for slugs to hide from the heat of the day. When hunting them down think cool shady places and you’ll find them. The advantage of hunting them at dusk is the sun is going down so they sneak out to start eating away at the plants!

Error of the week!
I’m going to admit to a terrible error now – back in the autumn I bught some crocus bulbs. I planted them and then I bought some more. And I put them somewhere and forgot about them. They were uncovered this week and have been planted up. They were quite dry and had started to sprout so they may survive! They’re in a rectangular tub at the moment in the garden! Whoops!