OK, that’s it. I’ve had it with you now. It’s time to get serious.
The story so far –
Grit, berberis prunings, rough sided pots: all tried to no avail.
Nematodes: In this damp and shady environment, ineffective even at double strength. Expensive and can be messy to apply.
Wool pellets: the molluscs didn’t even stop to blink.
Coffee grounds: a good short term solution but in the end the slugs overcame them too, despite repeated applications.
Copper rings: work well for rigid plants, such as irises, where no leaves droop over the ring and on to the ground. Floppy leaves provide a bridge and you can bet your bottom dollar the slimy ones will have been waiting patiently in the wings for just that very moment.
Slug pellets: the only product that has worked consistently so far but you know how I feel about using those. There are so many creatures roaming through the valley, including the hedgehogs we’ve now found courtesy of duck cam, and plenty of birds feeding off the ground.
Of course I can and do pick off the slugs where I see them and chuck them over the edge of the hill. Five points for every plop straight in the river. But time is short and the area to cover too large for a meaningful impact this way.
So. What’s next. A pseudo scientific trial, that’s what.
Three experiments spread across the freshly cultivated space on the slope.
1. Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ and sharp sand
Yes, the Rudbeckia should be in full bloom by now, shining stars of the late summer garden with their beautiful russet tones. And why are they not? You had better ask Mr Slug who munched their top growth right down to the pot over the three nights I’d left them out in the open to harden off. After a period of intensive care back in the greenhouse the growth has returned. Two of them even have flower buds. Boy, do I hope that sand is sharp.
2. Liatris spicata and home made beer traps
Yes, I know the plants have been nibbled already. Hopefully not terminally so. And it was before the experiment began.
Me: “Have we got any beer?”
Him: “What for?” (Always a question to answer a question).
Me: “Slug Traps.”
Him: “Oh no you won’t, not with my decent beer you won’t….”
With an unplanned trip to the supermarket in prospect the darker recesses of the booze cupboard saw light for the first time in years and an ‘old’ bottle emerged, deemed suitable for use. So there you go boys, Ruddles County best. Enjoy.
3. Echinacea pallida and Shocka Mat
And finally, a high tech solution. Shocka mat arrives on a roll, a bit like weed control fabric. It has copper impregnated into the top surface and allegedly gives the slugs a shock when they cross it, in much the same way as the copper rings. But given that it can be applied in a wider circle around each plant any problems with droop should, theoretically, be a thing of the past. Phew.
It’s fiddly. Perhaps I should have put the fabric down first and then cut holes through it but of course I had to do it the hard way and cut the holes in EXACTLY the right place to fit over plants already placed in the ground. Doh.
There’s one thing still perplexes me. I’ve checked three times to make sure it’s the right way up. Yes, the fabric should be dark side uppermost. So why oh why does the manufacturer have to print big white letters right across the top?
It’s like a bloomin’ message to aircraft.
There we have it. We shall wait and see.
What do you reckon, will any of them work?