After an initial panic over the slugs and woodlice eating all my ripe strawberries, I’ve harvested a decent 2.4kg of juicy red fruit. I’ve gone from strawberry despair to strawberry joy in little over a week and all is well in my veg growing world again.
Having researched some more, and taken a closer look at my strawberry bed, I’m now convinced that the slugs and snails did the majority of the damage, and the opportunistic woodlice simply finish off what the slugs and snails can’t stomach.
And why not. Good luck to them! 🙂
Therefore, if I removed the slugs and snails, the problem would pass, especially if the story of woodlice teeth not being strong enough to pierce fruit skin was true.
RemovingSleepers and Nightly Slug Patrol
I planned two courses of action: nightly slug patrol, and taking out the ill-conceived but well-intentioned decorative sleepers from my strawberry beds. On doing this, it was clear straight away that the sleepers were providing a very cosy home for a large number of slimies.
A new rule in my garden: ignore the pretty pictures of veg plants growing around old sleepers. They look fab on the Internet but aren’t so great when their harbouring loads of slugs.
I’m very pleased to report that moving the sleepers out of the strawberries has helped no end in containing the slugs. There are still a few to be found, helping themselves to the odd strawberry, but I expect that. As long as I’m getting 10 to their one, and not the other way round, I’ll consider myself winning.
The ones that do still lurk are getting picked up at night time and tossed into my Council green waste bin. Again, I’m not getting them all, but it’s a huge improvement on last week.
Grow More Than You Need!
A good volume of plants has also helped. I plant my strawberries very close together, to maximise the amount of plants I can get into a space and this has again resulted in lots of fruit.
Growing extra is a tactic that can be applied to all fruit and veg, and is one that serves me really well. I figure there is only so much of your readies the slugs and snails can eat, whether that’s produce or seedlings.
I reckon a good rule is one for you, two for the slugs. Its law of averages of course, but growing extra gives me more confidence that I won’t be disappointed by slug decimations. Surely something has got to survive!
Keep the Plot Tidy!
The sleepers have also served to remind me about tidiness on the plot. We do our best to keep everything spick and span, but it’s not always possible. It’s definitely worth concentrating on important parts of the allotment, such as the greenhouse and beds where valuable crops such as strawberries and tomatoes are growing.
For every bit of paraphernalia hanging around, there’s a home for a slug. And those handsome old sleepers.