Slug watch

I’m beginning to think that this should be called snail watch, because the snails I’m picking off at the moment out number the slugs by about ten to one. Do toads eat snails? It’s one of those questions I need to look up. It must be harder to get the shell off if they do. How would they do that. Or maybe they eat the shell too. Someone let me know please. Its on my mind now. This is my last slug check for a couple of days. I’m off to Bristol so no blog till Sunday. See you then.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Slug watch

  1. Jennifer

    Allan,
    I just happened upon your site through a search I did on the CAT. I’m from the US, but was recently in Wales on holiday and visited Cadair Idris. My friends and I saw signs for the CAT while driving through the countryside, and I wanted to stop in but we were pressed for time. I watched your video guide to organic gardening and really enjoyed it! I just bought my own home in the US (northern Kentucky) and want to do my own garden. I have a tiny area of about 15 X 30, and some of that will be taken up by a flagstone patio + walk path. Our climate is not-so-nice…very hot and humid summers that last from late April-mid October, and winters where temperatures can often be quite extreme (below freezing) in January. Rainfall is common in spring, but can be accompanied by long dry spells in the hotter months as well. It is a climate of extremes here! At any rate I could use some sage advice on how to get started. Some key things I want to do are water collection, composting, and other green techniques throughout my house as well. Also, I have two dogs who tend to be very inquisitive!

    Congrats on your new book (I look forward to reading it) and I hope to hear from you soon!

    -Jennifer

  2. Andi Clevely

    Hi Allan. I always understood that toads, slow-worms and some beetles ate slugs, while frogs and thrushes ate snails, but must check that.
    Have you any experience of using bran to control slugs/snails? Years ago Corry’s Slug Death was simply doctored bran, and “Grow Your Own” have just found bran to work better than other treatments. In theory it would be an ideal solution: it’s dirt cheap as a ‘waste’ product by the sackful, it makes an efficient organic mulch round plants, no nasty chemicals, and slugs find it irresistible – they scoff it, expand and explode. Yo! – out with a bang, not a whimper.
    We’re experimenting here with plantings to find what will grow on our slug-riddled bank. So far red clover, lily of the valley, navelwort, columbines, bugle, carrots are top casualties; nasturtiums, anagallis, foxgloves, Welsh poppies, ferns, cranberries totally ignored.
    Nice articles, btw!
    regards, Andi
    PS – advance info about this year’s Llani Green Fair, 4/5 October: see http://www.lles.co.uk/greenfair

  3. allanshepherd

    Hi Jennifer

    Thanks for your post. Its great you’ve got a small plot. I think you can become a better gardener managing a small plot. You really get individual time with your plants and can keep an eye on everything much better. If you’re a starter gardener you might want to read Jeff Gillman’s new book The Truth About Organic Gardening. It’s a US book and soundly sets out the organic and non-organic techniques you could chose between to get gardening. Although he quite often comes down on the side of organic techniques he gives a good balanced argument about each method and a good general introduction about gardening. He also gives useful contacts you can use in the US. You can also get my book The Organic Garden in the US, which has general intros about water collection, composting and so on. I’d also recommend checking out http://www.youtube.com for composting videos. Most of them are made in the US and should be very relevant. The best organisation to start with is Rodale, who publish a lot of great material for organic gardeners, and a really good magazine. Sometimes I’m quite envious of all the organic stuff going on over there. Seems really positive. Sage advice – take your time, think about your garden’s micro-climate and soil type before you plant anything, decide what you want to get from your garden – ie food, play, dog play and so on, and most of all don’t let your garden become a burden! Plant and plan according to the time you have and enjoy it as much as you can.

    Best wishes
    Allan

  4. allanshepherd

    Hi Andi

    Thanks for all the great tips and plant advice. I’ve heard people using bran before. It was one of the suggestions that went in The Little Book of Slugs. I don’t know how well it works in wet weather. I found some old newspaper cuttings about slug pellet testing the other day, and one of the big issues was how to stop it being washed away in heavy rain. It seems like this is the issue with a lot of the barriers people use as well. Would be good to try it all out. The comfrey method has become less successful as the year has gone on. The wetter it becomes you really have to go up to the plot and pick the things off by hand. It worked very well in the early part of the season when the plants were small but the trouble is it was a lot drier then. I think next year I might get a weather set and keep proper records of rainfall, temperature, actual slug numbers and damage too. Then I can have fun going through it all in the winter.

    Best wishes
    Allan

    PS Everyone should read Andi’s articles in Garden News. Full of really good information and advice. Also check out The Allotment Book at http://www.play.com/Books/Books/4-/3567021/The-Allotment-Book/Product.html. Play.com offer free postage for all books.

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