This month I’m going to turn my attention on my arch garden nemesis, the slug. And with your help, I could be about to declare garlic war on it..
The slug is undoubtedly numero uno in the garden pest hall of fame, and Britain is definitely slug city of the world. It’s our wet and warm-ish weather that does it
If you are counting, there are around 30 different species of slug in the UK, but for this unscientific study of mine I am only going to look at the big four – field slug, garden slug, black slug and keeled slug.
I already know how they chew on plants, using a rasping motion with a devilishly multi-toothed tongue;
I mean everyone has had experience of the horror of a totally decimated plant, within hours of it being planted – I need to find an efficient way to keep them at bay.
It should be something of a surprise to you to learn than only 5% of the slugs in the garden live on the soil surface; so that means that 95% are playing hide and seek underground.
And if you could actually get out and count them, you’d probably find around 200 of the slimey gastropods in each cubic metre of your garden. And did you know that ironically the largest of them (the black slug) causes the least damage?
Other fascinating facts are that slugs are hermaphrodite, so they can fertilise themselves although a mate is allegedly preferred; one individual slug lays between 20 and 100 eggs, several times a year, and that these eggs can remain dormant in the soil for years. And what’s more, that awful silvery tell tale slimey trail is in fact highly scented so that a slug can find it’s way back to that delicious patch of whatever was being munched the previous night.
Are you now getting a sense of the size of the problem?
Now here’s where you come in.
If you have a patent method of controlling slugs without harming the other wildlife that you share your garden with, then do let me know (Valerie@auntieplanty.com); the wackier the better but it must have the potential to work.
I’m also asking you here to test drive a garlic wash to see if this works for you.. Crush two bulbs of garlic and steam or boil in 1.5 litres of water for 3 to 4 minutes until blanched. Strain the mixture and make it back up to 1.5 litres, and leave to cool When ready to use, mix one tablespoon into a gallon (3.8 litres) of water. Spray on to leaves in late afternoon (in dry weather).
However, don’t blame me if your neighbours complain of the resulting stink!
Valerie McBride Munro is a qualified horticulturist. She helps you develop your own garden Action Plan to ensure the best possible results for your plants.
© 2014 Valerie McBride-Munro