As I have just started this blog, my July has been spent reorganising a growing garden. It’s surprising just how quickly everything bursts into life when the sun comes out. That is, except slugs and snails, like worms they spend most of their lives underground. In fact you are only likely to see about 5% above ground.
I have learned some fascinating facts about slugs, they are equipped to do a good job in clearing up, but why stick to soggy brown decaying leaves if they can sink their teeth into something fresh and green. They do have teeth, between about 3,000 to 25,000 of them but it may be an exaggeration describing them as teeth, they are actually more like rasps. Gastropods are fascinating creatures, as the name suggests – stomach foot. It’s difficult to imagine a foot having a life of it’s own, but that’s a slug for you.
I have a Hosta, next to the pond, so nice cold damp soil, and Hostas are sheer heaven for snails. Advice by someone was to make up a garlic wash and add to watering can to spray on the plants. Snails apparently don’t like garlic and it’s enough to keep them away. I was delighted to see the young Hosta leaves strong and healthy, but then it rained, and rained lots, probably washing the garlic off. In the meantime it was like a doorway had opened for the whole of the snail population. They were even basking under the gutter of the greenhouse just behind the plant. My Hosta leaves had turned to lace! Bowden are Hosta specialists and they have the recipe for garlic wash on their site. Garlic wash
I did try Nemotodes for slugs this year, little microscopic worms ingested by the slugs and snails which release a bacteria which in turn stops them from eating. After their demise, the nemotodes will have been busy reproducing inside it’s victim, they are now free to go out and catch some fresh hosts. I think they worked OK, but I didn’t use any follow-up treatment, so they could be the escapees of the Nemotodes.
Whilst there was a lack of slugs in the earlier part of summer, there was an abundance of mature snails. Since Nemotodes work better in the younger snail, they may not have the same effect with the older ones, so my morning visit usually caught one or two stragglers, most of which I tossed over the wall not realising that the snails were homing snails and they find their way back to their patch, or rather your patch. To beat them, you need to take them over 20 mtrs away, at that distance, their SatNav system gets scrambled and they need to set up home elsewhere. Another way to find more of them though is to go out after dark and in the still of the night listen to them eating your plants, they are quite noisy eaters.
My regular slug and snail checks only uncovered a few of each and as each very large snail appeared it was quickly evicted somewhere. Some I tossed over the wall, some in the compost bin, in the pond and in a salt bath. Salt seems a bit less cruel than slug pellets, it only takes a few seconds to dispatch a snail or slug to compost heaven and reduce it to a gelatinous mass of yellow slime and green blood.
I don’t really mind sharing the garden with them if they would stick to the rules – my rules. Only what falls on the ground, dead, are their’s. Anything alive in a pot, trough or garden is mine. Respect the rules guys and we’ll all be happy.
Why not visit my other blog Grannysattic