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It seems to me the worst of all the plagues is the slug

‘It seems to me the worst of all the plagues is the slug, the snail without a shell. He is beyond description repulsive, a mass of sooty, shapeless slime, and he devours everything.'
Celia Thaxter

You may have noticed that I hate slugs. May is normally the month when all the slugs come out and eat the seedlings. But everything is running about a month late, so it’s now that we are really beginning to see their presence. They munched all our Peruvian Lilies shoots and I had to replace the rhubarb in May. We’ve been planting out delicious seedlings too, so it is quite a battle. Particularly when there are so many hiding over the garden. I keep finding them under the pots during the day, but they are obviously out and about at night munching away.

Did you know that there are lots of British varieties of slugs? The large red, the dusky, the yellow, the Budapest keeled, the leopard, just to name a few. And they are different colours, shapes and sizes. Even their slime can be different colours. I think our garden mainly has the common garden sort though.

We tried out egg shells to prevent them eating things last year, but this year we are experimenting with a variety of preventative measures. Being a public area and trying to make it creature friendly, we don’t use chemicals or things that can harm birds and other garden users. So this year we are trying a) using egg shells, b) copper tape, c) slug deterring plants grown from seed, d) Slug Gone wool pellets, e) picking them up. The pellets are something that have been recommended to us as a deterrent that is bird and hedgehog friendly. I’d not heard of them before, let’s hope they work as well as they sound. You just put a ring of the pellets round your plants and the slugs don’t like the surface that they create, apparently.

I am asking all our visitors to look for slugs in the garden. I’ve put a spotter sheet in the book tree to help. If you spot a slug or snail, then I want you to identify it, then take it away. Not sure what to do with them next though. Any suggestions?

Talking of garden creatures, we encourage birds to the garden by using bird feeders. Hopefully the birds will eat our slugs and any nasty bugs that have just started appearing on the plants. At least we give the bugs a hotel to live in. And it’s some protection from the birds to give them a fair chance. By the way, the competition to name the bug hotel has ended now and we are waiting to hear the result of the vote.

Most of this week has been spent repotting plants. We have had a lot of containers donated, which has been very helpful with this. In the yard, many of the seedlings are big enough to put in the garden now. So I have been using them to fill in spaces and give a bit of colour. Luckily I had help from visitors to the garden when it came to planting some marigolds.

The Blooming Old Gardener

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