I realise it’s been a bit quiet on the old gardening front, but I have had a good excuse. I’ve recently moved house, and have a brand new garden to tackle. This one is in stark contrast to the old: a good deal smaller, with no raised veg beds or established borders. Instead I have lawn, path and well… a bit more lawn really.
Although grass does set a garden off nicely, having an entire garden of it makes me slightly uneasy. So the first job was to whip out the rotavator and turn over the bottom end, ready for my greenhouse (currently still in bits) and vegetable plot. Feeling happier seeing bare soil, I shot off to the garden centre to buy some runner beans. The extent of my ‘growing from seeds’ effort this year has been a couple of pots of Brussels and courgettes on the windowsill, which would, quite frankly, struggle to keep us in our 5 a day.
Happy with my purchase, I constructed a bamboo cane wigwam and popped the bean plants around the base. Next in went the courgettes and a couple of rows of Brussels. Standing back to admire my handiwork, I felt quite excited about the prospect of a new patch. The plants looked healthy and strong, and I’d be harvesting stuff before I knew it.
The next morning I whizzed off down the garden to check on the plants, and could not believe the carnage I saw before me. Although my garden is pretty bare at the moment, the one thing it seems to have in absolute abundance is slugs. The beans looked decidedly sorry for themselves, and seemed to be hanging in there with their last breath, and the courgettes were nowhere to be seen.
With not a moment to lose, I embarked on ‘Operation Slug Patrol’. Blue pellets were instantly scattered around the plants. For good measure, I also sunk some old bean cans full of beer into the ground, to hopefully entice them in. Feeling sure I’d nipped their antics in the bud, I relaxed and got on with some other jobs.
How wrong could I be? The following day revealed slimy trails everywhere, with even more holes in the runner bean leaves. This obviously called for drastic action. That night as darkness fell, I crept around the garden with my torch, and caught them with my bare hands. Feeling slightly smug as I dropped them into my bucket of water to drown, I felt positive that this would be the last of them. Day three told a different story. Peering into my bucket, expecting to see a sluggy sea burial, I was mortified to find that the little blighters had legged it during the night. Obviously water is no match for them. I’ve decided to venture out into the dark regularly to catch them, but will add salt to the mix.
I read somewhere once that coffee grounds can deter them, so in desperation, I contacted a friend who runs a café and has oodles of them. She duly bought me a bag round, and I determinedly scattered those around the plants too.
So with pellets, beer traps, coffee grounds and a bit of late-night hunting, If I don’t tackle my slug population, there’s something very wrong around here.