Slugs, begone!

Oh, for the burning sunshine of a few weeks ago! We’re afraid here at the Two Moors Festival that summer’s been and gone for 2012 and, not only are we very upset that all this wet weather means we have to walk our beautiful German shepherd Flora in water-logged wellies and put up with wet-dog smell for weeks on end, we’re also rather devastated about the state of our vegetable and flower gardens.

All the rain we’ve been having means our grounds are under attack from an over-abundance of slimy slugs, who all seem to be having a fantastic time munching away on our beans and lettuces. Do you know, we found 27 – yes, 27! – pesky little molluscs slithering about on a single plant yesterday? With our garden party just around the corner (June 23rd and 24th), the timing couldn’t really be worse and this slime wave, as it’s been dubbed, looks set to continue, with leading slug expert Dr Richard Meredith of Bayer Crop Science suggesting that mollusc populations have doubled or even tripled in 2012.

So what on earth can you do to tackle slug slime and protect your beautiful garden? Well, getting in there early is always advisable, so keep an eye out for signs like silvery trails on leaves and stems and irregular holes in plant tissue.

If your garden is truly suffering, then apply a bit of Nemaslug (a biological control that only affects slugs and infects them with fatal bacteria) in the evenings to moist but well-drained soil. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, you can also set out a few traps, like jam jars half-filled with beer and scooped-out melon, grapefruit or orange skins placed cut-side down. If you’re feeling particularly vigilant, you can of course head out at night with a torch and a bucket and pick up the little blighters yourself – but that really depends on the size of your garden!

Horticulturalist Liz Pile – who does a lot of work with the Two Moors Festival and helped us take gold in the courtyard garden category at the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show – also suggests: “Slug pellets work to kill slugs but are dangerous to dogs. There are various slug repellents that aren’t toxic, but they’re not terribly effective. You could perhaps avoid growing plants that they really like, such as lupins, delphiniums and marigolds.”

Sadly, slugs are so abundant that you’ll never get ’em all – but don’t give up without a fight! Come and see how we’ve got on in our slug war at the garden party next weekend.

What do you find to be the most effective way of de-slugging your garden?


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