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Slugs and Snails...all you need to know!

29 May 2014

SLUG Facts & Figures!

** There are an average of about 200 slugs in a cubic metre of garden soil 

**Many species of slug are commonly found in our gardens, including the keeled slugs, garden slug, field slug, large black slug.

**Slugs eat approximately twice their body weight in vegetation each day.....that's about 28oz of your garden plants in a growing season!

**Snails generally hibernate but if conditions are above 5C in winter, slugs continue to feed

*Some species of slug and young slugs  spend most of their time underground (where the feast on organic matter....and potatoes and other root crops and germinating seeds (that might be why your seeds appeared not to germinate!!)

**Slugs and snails feed by rasping away at our plants with  a 'radula' (which bears about 25,000 teeth-like projections)

**Slugs and snails lay eggs - mostly in spring and autumn when you may find clumps of tiny clear or yellowish eggs (above left)

How to win....

*Try Barriers eg a circle of crushed shell (eg oyster shell),pine needles.Make sure the barrier goes right up to the stem of the plant you're protecting.

*Copper works brilliantly,slugs and snails HATE crossing it.I use self-adhesive copper tape to great effect around the top of pots,planters and raised beds.  Copper rings (above) work well around individual plants or you can use copper-coated/impregnated mats/matting - perfect for strawberries. BUT remember a barrier only works when you are using clean compost or have cleared the area of slugs first eg using Nemaslug...or else you may end up fencing the enemy in!!

*Apply Nemaslug to moist soil or compost to kill slug (NOT snail)s.Wildlife,pet and human safe and extremely effective.Not sure I'd have much garden if it wasn;t for this stuff!

*Beer traps.Ensure passing beneficial insects such as ground beetles are safe by leaving the rim of the container 1-2cm proud of the soil surface. I did a trial of beer types for GQT once - Guiness was favourite and they didn't go for alcohol-free larger (who can blame them?!) 

Evening hunts, especially after a period of rain or watering, can be very productive....

Don't forget that copper tape, matting and copper rings and of course Nemaslug (in two pack sizes) are available at www.pippagreenwood.com/products in the Protect your Crops section. Just £3.95 p&p however many items you order! We dispatch promptly so it won't be long before you receive you slug-sorting products!

Slug-Munched Potatoes?
By now your potatoes should be growing away nicely....but as soon as the tubers are nearly ready to harvest the slugs often move in, what can you do?

*The slugs which attack potato tubers live largely underground so are best controlled underground too. Nemaslug is effective for six weeks-ish, so count back six weeks from when you intend to harvest and that's the time you should apply it. Use a watering can with a coarse rose  (see above left !) and keep the soil moist - it works a treat. We have Nemaslug available in 40msq or 100msq packs at www.pippagreenwood.com/products

*Harvest potatoes as soon as they are ready, don't leave them in the soil a minute longer than necessary...all the time they are there, they are in danger!!

*Next year grow more Earlies and fewer MainCrop varieties - as earlies are lifted more promptly they generally get far less damage. Choose relatively slug resistant varieties if the problem is severe eg Wilja,Charlotte,Estima

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