First, there was the Brassica Massacre. Now there’s Slugaggeddon.
My Twitter friend Julianne coined the term Slugaggeddon, to describe the ridiculous amounts of slugs currently munching through plants the length and breadth of the country.
My garden has been no exception. I have lost so many plants, from the normal casualties like caulis and lettuce to those that normally survive untouched by slime, such as courgettes.
However, Slugaggeddon has taught me a lot also. Here are 4 things I’ve learnt that make me feel better.
Sow More Than You Need. Like, Loads More.
I’ve always tried to be economical with the amount of seeds I sow. I think it’s the money saver in me, but each year I endeavour to grow just as many as I need. No more of that in the future though, not after this year.
If you sow more than you need, there’s a chance that the snails and slugs will not chomp through all of your plants. They might actually be good enough (or too stuffed…) to leave you a sufficient amount of plants to provide a healthy harvest.
Of course, in Sluggageddon years, this might mean quite literally hundreds of plants, but seeds are dirt cheap really and if it results in me feeling like I’ve got one over on the slimies, this will be money well spent…
I Love My Greenhouse
Despite the struggle against wet weather, weeds, and slugs, there is one part of my veg garden that is giving me much enjoyment: my 6 x 4 greenhouse.
My cucumbers, toms, peppers, and melons are all looking really healthy, which is heartening when everything outside is struggling. The higher temperature helps obviously, but my greenhouse is also the only growing area that I can actually (to an extent) keeps the slugs away from by shutting the door at night.
Subsequently, I’ve decided to cram as much in here as possible. I’ve planted extra tomatoes and will stick my French beans and other Summery crops in there too. It’ll be a squeeze, but at least they won’t get munched.
There Are Still Things to Try
One of the great things about social media is sharing different growing tips and ideas. Apparently, you can get organic slug pellets, whilst John Laughlin (@easylec) reckons sowing in half plastic milk bottles has deterred the slugs from his plants. John says the plastic provides a barrier, and you can also a ring of copper wire around the bottle.
My own new idea is a barrier of old sandpaper around the base of the plant. This still needs some refinement before I can call it a tip, but it has been semi-successful. I think I need to cut large sheets in a big square with a hole through the middle for the plant, but the concept has definitely got legs.
I’m Not Alone
You might think that everything is going wrong and your growing season is an unmitigated disaster. However, I’d bet your bottom dollar that other people are feeling like this too.
On Tuesday, I posted a photo of decapitated runner bean seedlings that had been eaten to my Twitter account. I described this growing season as ‘One of the most depressing I can remember’. Within seconds my phone was beeping at me with Twitter replies and didn’t stop all day. Lots of people were experiencing similar slug disasters and finding this year incredibly tough too.
It doesn’t bring my plants back, but it is very comforting to share tales of woe with other gardeners!