Slugs, slugs, slugs, an inevitable part of the wet summer and currently an occupying army at High Bank. They are from the rape-and-pillage school of invading forces with an unflinching destruction of whatever takes their fancy. The severest casualties so far have been the courgettes and kale but it is only a matter of time before their troops reach other crops.
(Though I only mention slugs, snails of course are part of the problem, though not all snails are foe, one or two can be friends.)
To begin with we took a direct approach, nightly patrols collecting the critters one at a time, either skewered kebab-style on a tent peg or enrolled onto the High Bank space program (apologies to far off neighbours where landings may have taken place) but without a 24 hour security firm out there every night spiking and flinging, we needed other approaches.
One of High Bank’s aims is to remain chemical free and pest control is where this line is hardest to take, chemical warfare is the fastest answer. But for us the principle is to use what is around us or that which is part of the natural waste of the premises and so first and foremost we have begun to protect the vulnerable, with barriers around the plants of crushed eggshells, coffee grinds and course grit. Many waste products work as barriers, ask your hairdresser for hair, local café for coffee grounds or your local meringue factory (?) for egg shells, they are all effective barriers if used in large enough quantities. Also old cd’s and dvd’s form impenetrable walls Berlin-style.
Then we found another great benefit of having a friendly publican on the perimeter and have begun to collect the pub ‘slops’ and ‘dregs’ to fill beer traps around the veg beds. The beer traps filled up very quickly with a stomach-churning layer of slug carcasses arriving over night. The only problem now is we need a cultural change in the slugs habits as they are currently dining out before going for a beer. If we could just encourage them to partake in a pre-dinner beverage…
Sky blue. Temp 20c.
Time for a G&T.