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Battle of the slugs

A cold spring meant a slow start to the year with propagation of new herbs being a bit tricky. However, trays are now brimming with new life and the job of pricking out and potting on has begun. It also meant that slug and snail activity was low. Now slugs are everywhere, due to the damp warm weather. My morning starts with the routine of watering and slug hunting. Limiting your watering to a good soak in the morning means that conditions are a bit drier at night when slugs and snails come out to feast. By the morning slugs and snails are moving off to hide from the heat of the day and are most often found under pots and seed trays. They seam to especially like plastic ones which often have grooves underneath providing ideal spots for slugs and snails. I routinely lift my trays and pots to check underneath, especially if I see any damage. Slugs begin to emerge just as dusk is falling, sharp eyes and a torch make for a good catch.

Slugs and snails are a valuable source of food for birds (including ducks), hedgehogs and frogs. Putting slug pellets down means that the poison moves down the food chain. An attitude of tolerance in your garden means that you are providing a healthy environment for some wildlife. However there are some areas that need controlling. As I am growing herbs to sell and have a lot of young seedlings around, I need to limit the damage in these areas. I have found a multi pronged attack has helped. The seed trays and seedlings are on beds of wool surrounded by lines of coffee grounds/woodash/eggshells. Added to that I have sunk a few pots of beer in the ground which they love. Anything drying and prickly inhibits their movements and controls the numbers. I prefer to use woodash and eggshells as they also add nutrients to the soil. The wool inhibits movement but doesn't entirely prevent slugs and snails, as wool gets damp in rain/watering it gets less effective. I am gradually moving away from using plastic pots and trays for propagation, which I think will help.

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