Slugs and Weeds -What I'm watching with my cuppa
In our Facebook allotment group people have been asking about slugs having had these pesky pests gobble their greens. I know how brutal that feels when you have nurtured something from a seed to bring it on only for it to be there - gone! - right into the tummy of a slug. Do they have tummies? Anyhoo, munched by a muncher.
I do have slugs - and snails (no puppy dog tails but the lottie cat or "Supervisor" as we call her comes for a regular inspection - I digress). Slugs - yes I have them but, and firmly touching wood - or a handy plank (this will make sense when you watch Huw's videos), I don't get too much damage. When starting out I watched quite a few videos about slug management, and the key I got from them was managing slug habitat. Here are three videos which have been (and are being) helpful. Ben invites us to 'Think Like a Slug' so things that attract that we want to avoid, things that we can have as attractors with a view to capturing, predator encouragers like bug hotels and a small pond and splashing the cash options like nematodes and some weird volcanic looking powder.
I have used nematodes in the past in my garden - both me and the slugs loved my hostas, and it worked. But now I have abandoned the hostas at home but am using habitat (or lack of habitat) solutions at the lottie and seems to be working.
I love a good strategy - and here Huw introduces us to Prevention, Attack and Maintenance. Habitat is again the key both in Prevention and Maintenance, Attack is then using those principles to capture. What I like about both videos is the recommendation to re-home slugs to the compost - where they can do a good job rather than ending them. Ben in the video above says for beer traps slugs prefer stout beers - so Guinness is a winner. Huw anecdotally says that some studies have said that opening a 'Slug Pub' will encourage slugs from up to 200 meters away - so whilst I like my lottie neighbours I won't be inviting their slugs out for a beer anytime soon.
Maintenance is where I feel I am now at having followed the habitat advice of both gardeners.
This is a new video from Huw and something (as I am about to do a fair amount of direct sowing now the ground has warmed up) that I am going to try, as it is free and easy!
So, as I was browsing Huw's channel I also bumped into this video which I really enjoyed. A real revelation seeing weeds as a resource - law of return - following nature's rhythm of returning what has grown to the soil it came out of, and recognising the benefits of some weeds like nettles and comfrey and dandelions - not just for their wildlife (bees and other insects) but also with their deep roots bringing nutrients to the surface that regular plants can't reach. Kind of a Heineken effect. Also what I didn't know was that dandelions typically grow in places which have low calcium as when their leaves die back they have brought all that goodness to the surface. Unlike Huw I do allow some dandelions to grow in my beds (well on the edges really) as they are a really important first food for the bees. Now I'll be using them as a 'Chop and Drop' to feed my soil. So win win win for the bees, the soil and me.
Links to the channels:
Happy lottie plotting and planting people.
Next: Probably my June tour or might be another 'what I've been watching with my tea' looking at top tips for growing strawberries and how to get the most out of your ground.