Slug Watch reaches new plateau of contrition

The slugs and I have finally reached a plateau of contrition. We haven’t had a rain free day for a long time now and those early salad days wishing for rain to wet test my experiment have long since gone. Luckily the actual salad still remains, and I pick a big fresh bowl of organic leaves and pea snaps every day. Apparently you can lose a third of your plants to pest damage without the overall growth of the plant being effected. Of course this does depend on which third it is. If you lose the bottom third or the top third you’re plant is probably dead, but if you lose a third of it randomly around the whole of the plant you could be ok so long as you don’t lose the growing spurs. The snails are really loving my pea leaves but the pea pods are not affected and the overall growth of the plants seem to be fine. Even the mizuna, which received a battering whilst I was away are actually starting to recover, sending up new shoots from the base. But then again it is a cut and come again plant. Every night just after dark, or later if I’ve been out carousing, I check the plot and remove about twenty to thirty assorted snails and slugs from my plants. This seems to be enough. Of course some slugs may come up later in the night and there’s not much I can do about that. But on the whole the regular picking has allowed me to crop successfully. Of course slugs do inhabit the world beneath my plants too and we shall see what damage they have done to my potatoes when I lift them. If you have a big problem with soil dwelling slugs then you should probably use the biological control nemaslug and rotivate your soil every winter. Being a soil dweller these little nematodes are however not very good at killing snails, which remain above the soil. For these hand picking – or the organic slug pellet Advanced Slug Killer – is probably the best solution – although I haven’t tested the latter. For the moment though I’m quite happy re-locating my slugs and snails to another part of the garden, or sending them in to the woodland behind. The experiment continues…

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