With Her Majesty the Queen dashing around celebrating 60 years on the throne, I bring mixed news from my very own Cluckingham Palace. The good news is that the new hens are all laying; we’re regularly getting four eggs a day, and these are steadily increasing in size. On the down side, the older girls seem to have taken this as a sign to start early retirement, so egg production from Maud and Winnie has ceased. They’re now spending their twilight years lounging around letting the young ‘uns do all the work.
Making the most of the glorious weather last weekend, I was on a mission to have a good old sort out in the greenhouse, and get the remaining tender plants outside: surely there cannot be a frost this late in the year. So, out came the sunshine – along with my shorts, British blue legs and knobbly knees – and I set to work.
The last of the runner beans and all the borlotti beans were planted out, together with the rest of the squash and courgette plants. I also had trays of Antirrhinum (Snapdragons), Cosmos and Sunflowers and am hoping for a swathe of colour in the flower borders this year.
Whilst planting, I noticed that a couple of gaps have suddenly appeared, and it looked like my old friend, the slug was back on the scene. Taking no chances, I’m attacking from all angles, as quite frankly, I’m tired of my hard work being eaten away. At the base of all the new plants went a sprinkling of eggshells and a light scattering of slug pellets for good measure.
I also decided to try something else. I’d heard through one of my gardening contacts that if you put a plank of wood in the garden, slightly raised by stones, the slugs will all be hiding under there come the morning. For the next couple of days I shot outside to inspect my haul, and eagerly turned over the plank. Underneath was a disappointing tale: nothing – nada – zilch – not even a baby one. Although elsewhere in the garden we do have a rather large area of decking – which for all I know is festooned with slugs, but I’m not about to start dismantling it to check.
Deciding to put a few more beer traps in strategic spots, I trotted off back up towards the house. Peering into the fridge, I actually found myself wondering if the slugs would prefer ‘The best beer in the world’ or the one that ‘refreshed the parts other beers couldn’t reach’. Plumping for the latter, I collected together some old jars and set about burying them neck deep near my new patches of plants. Into each went an inch or so of beer, and before long the job was done.
After an entire morning of working in the garden, there was an added benefit. There were a couple of swigs leftover for me to enjoy, whilst planning my next tasks.
This one appeared in The Hinckley Times on 13 June 2013