The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Sunday, 17 June 2012

This weather is good for some, the slugs....

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself when I went to the allotment after lunch today. I'm full of a cold, I managed to get through the whole winter and spring without catching a single cold and then in the middle of June I'm croaky and snuffling away! I got to my plot after a few days of not being able to get there, we have had some heavy rain and strong winds the last few days, though I think we have got off lightly compared to the south and parts of Wales. But I arrived to a scene of slug destruction! Every single one of the courgette and cucumber plants that I planted last week have been eaten. I have two squash plants which have survived.

This is what is left of my celeriac, which was not touched by slugs at all last year.
More devastation of the Brassica bed. Last year I struggled with these and planted them a couple of times, the culprits last year were the pigeons, but they are well netted this year but unfortunately you can't keep slugs away with net.
I always grow on more plants than I need though and I had some more at home to replace some of these plants with. These are Calabrese 'Belstar' and Romanesco. My kale plant have also partially eaten.
Swede, which I have grown for the first time this year, looked a sorry state too.
OK I'll stop now, I'm sure you get the point. 
I was really fed up with my first walk round the plot. Its so demoralising, I may have to go and get some plants from the garden centre to replace if these ones don't get going. I need to sow some more cucumbers and courgettes. Other things are so behind too.
Apparently I'm not alone and there has been a bit of a slug and snail explosion, not surprising with the milder winter and cool wet spring. Click here to read an interesting article about it in the Telegraph. Here is another link to a novel DIY slug killer. It is a way to make your own nematode brew. I may have to give this a go, someone on my allotment site sent me this link, he is trying it out so I await news on whether it was successful. I did put some organic slug pellets down but with all the rain that we have had the first lot will have just dissolved. I think I might try the beer traps again. Its a perennial problem for the gardener I guess but one that we haven't got any good answer to, especially for the organic gardener. In the past I've found copper tape useful but that is more for single plants really. I've just been up there at dusk and my calabrese plants were covered in slugs again, not the newly planted ones but the others, so they were humanely removed and I've put a few more slug pellets down, but I don't really like doing that. On the positive side it was lovely being up there at dusk, there is a red sky tonight so hopefully that means a reasonable couple of days.
Some things are growing well, my potatoes are looking good.

My first sowing of sweetcorn is coming on, but it will need some sun.
The onion sets that I planted in autumn are ready for picking now, I'm very happy with them, the spring planted 'Red Baron' sets and the shallots 'Golden Gourmet' are all doing well.

The peas and broad beans are doing ok. My strawberries are just starting to ripen and they look like a good crop. Lots of herbs and flowers in the garden and they are all doing well. Overall the plot looks nice but I need to have some hope that this second planting of these crops is successful. 
I've harvested some of the globe artichokes today and had my first taste of these vegetables. Fiddly but delicious!
Anyway overall I'm still happy with my plot. I'm coming to learn that I've just got to accept that growing vegetables is so weather-dependent, some things will do well and others not.


  1. Oh Annie - what a shame - the slugs are awful this year and I have used slug pellets to protect everything - good job I did - there are slug trails everywhere. At least you ended on a positive and you still have plenty of stuff growing well. Better luck next time.

  2. Hope your cold is gone by now, they are always annoying anytime of year. Slugs are a nuisance too, although I've had more snails around this year than slugs. In fact it's been an odd year for insect pests, very few to be seen, except for Flea beetles attacking my Turnips & Brassicas. I expect the rest will be back next year with a vengeance. It's sad when the hard work is spoiled and plants lost for whatever reasons.

  3. Oh Annie I can feel how frustrating it must have been to see the damage caused by the slugs. I use the organic pellets but there has been just so much rain that I don't think even they have been up to the job. I used to do the beer traps but found removing the disgusting gloop left in the containers a bit much and copper and nemaslug are too expensive for a large scale. Interested in the idea of growing your own. At least your other crops are fairing better and lets just hope things improve soon.