22 Sept 2011

Know thine Enemy ...

Rootling around among the nasturtiums yesterday evening, lifting the last of the gar-leeks, look what I found:

Know thine enemy ...

Eeeeuwwww!  (But not so much that I didn't stop to photograph it.)

I have a horrible fascination for these creatures of the damp.  Beyond ugly and a right royal pest in the garden, they make a tasty snack for hedgehogs and frogs. That doesn't make them welcome in my veg garden so I have relocated this guy to the railway hedgerow and hope that he doesn't slither back.

I'm also finding quite a few tiny black slugs lurking in the veg, I think these are Keel Slugs that mostly live underground and can do a fair amount of damage to roots and tubers. Best get those carrots out and stored. I pulled up a carrot a couple of nights ago with one clinging on to it - such information is best left unsaid, especially about the dinner table.

I'm a firm believer in organic gardening and you won't find anything stronger than tomato fertiliser in my veg patch so it has to be natural deterrents to save my winter veg. I've heard of using coffee grounds and egg-shells as a mulch around the plants (a bit scratchy for a midnight slither) and beer traps to drown them - an option I can't personally use as I wouldn't know what to do with the inebriated slugs in the morning.  Recently, though, I came across PKS copper tools. When using these to dig the soil, they allegedly disturb the "ley lines" that slugs follow and throw them off the scent into a different direction, thus avoiding yer prize caulis. They're pricey but apparently work.  I'm about to order one (for they are indeed a beautiful thing to behold) and I'll have to report back on their efficiency.


  1. It'll be interesting to hear if they work.

  2. Not convinced by the whole "copper disrupting ley lines" argument, but I saw some beautiful copper tools at the Malvern Show that had me salivating, I think they are worth getting for beauty alone! We are losing most of our remaining radishes to those little white slugs that do so much damage, and I am beginning to wonder about the carrots.

  3. I'm not sure about underground crops but I found that a washing-up liquid spray worked for keeping the slugs off of lettuces a few years ago by mistake, I was spraying them daily to keep greenfly off, which it also seemed to, but they got massacred by slugs as soon as I thought the risk of greenfly had passed and stopped spraying

  4. Jo, like you I'm somewhat sceptical about the science behind copper tools but I'd be so pleased to be proved wrong!

    Janet, I need to try and find something to keep the slugs away as I have winter veg growing - the brussels sprouts are 'sprouting' big holes in their leaves!

    Poppy, that's a good tip and worth trying - I didn't know that washing up liquid worked for pests other than aphids. Thanks!

  5. I've come across more slugs during the past week than I have all summer!
    Be interesting to see how you get on with the copper tool.
    Flighty xx

  6. Flighty, come to think of it, I don't remember seeing this many slugs at this time last year so I guess this is another result of the vagaries of this summer's weather. I'll be posting on the copper tool if it works! xx


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