The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Danny’s potatoes have slug damage

Photo: Slug infested potatoes

Photo: Slug infested potatoes

So Magic Cochin was right after all. Danny’s potatoes are infested with little black slugs.

Yesterday I decided to get the spuds for supper early so that I could replace any ropey ones without having to trail down to the shed after dark. When I opened the potato sack I spotted several little black slugs chomping heavily. In fact it was quite hard to pull them off.

When I cut the potatoes open I found a few smaller ones in residence and little grey black eggs.

We’ve never seen them before. Or the eggs. Just the tiny white worms – about a millimetre thick and a centimetre long. I assumed these were eelworms. But have since discovered that eelworms are so small that it’s hard to see them. So what are the white worms?

Clearly the slugs have found great winter quarters where they can happily breed, eat and party. They also have the fun of the race – who can eat Danny’s spuds first? At the moment the slugs are winning.

Do you think that I could soak the spuds in salted water to remove the slugs and then dry and store them? The ones without the slug condos are delicious and it seems such a shame to just throw them away.


  Leave a reply

9 Comments

  1. Tamar – that is such a sickening experience. I cooked the veggies last night and there were worms in the cabbages when I washed them. Yeuch! But salt water did the job. I did not mention the beasties to a soul !

    Michelle – you are so right. But pests accompany gardening. It goes with the territory, I guess, but all part of life’s great learning curve (whisper that to Zebbycat)

    Magic Cochin – yes, we do chop them up now before cooking, even the ones that look good. We are eating our way though the potatoes with apparent front doors first, hoping that hessian sack #2 will have the sound specimens at Christmas.

    Kate UK – as always, you are a fount of knowledge and common sense. Thanks for the steer.

    Hi Helen – that seems like a darned good idea. Will run it past Fiona. Do let us know how it works out over the coming months.

  2. I feel your pain! I recently found a lovely stand of honey mushrooms, took them home, cleaned them, sliced them, and put them in the pan to saute. It was only when they started to give up their liquid that the tiny white worms that infested the WHOLE BLOODY LOT came floating out.

    I’d go with Magic Cochin’s suggestion to cut out the bad bits and freeze the rest.

  3. Michelle in NZ

    What an absolute pain the posterior! (And Mickle knows all about that one). Pesky pests stuffing up Fiona and Danny’s potato dreams. And the Min Pins, like Zebbycat, will be quite useless at garden pest control.

    Spud loving care and huggles to you all,

    Michelle and Ol’snorey Cat, xxx and Snoorrrrrrre

  4. magic cochin

    Seems such a shame to waste Danny’s spuds.

    Could you cut out the slugged bits, dice the good bits and parboil then freeze for using later in the winter for mash or adding to soups?

  5. kate (uk)

    Soaking potatoes- they go all slimy and start to rot FAST if left in water for too long, so if you do soak them, keep it minimal and dry them very carefully. The problem will be the bits the slugs have chomped- they will rot even faster than normal. I’d try it out first before mass soaking.

  6. The wireworms cause the initial damage and the slugs follow them in. I put slug pellets in all my sacks of potatoes in storage. No other animals at risk and it limits the damage the beasts do … I hope!

  7. Useful indeed. The site is duly bookmarked

  8. That’s an excellent link, Celia. Thank you for that.

    I wonder how different the small black slugs are from the common grey slug. Anybody with ideas?

  9. magic cochin

    Oh dear – it did look familiar though. and the dry spell we’ve had is just what drives the little devils into the nice moist taters.

    Your description of the little white worms rang a very distant bell in the dark dusty corners of my memory – Wire Worms. Must be a residue of remembrance from my early childhood sitting on tater sacks in my Gran’s barn and reading Farmers Weekly.

    Take a look at this:
    http://tinyurl.com/mcunyd

    Love C
    x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.

2,177,832 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments


Copyright © 2006-2012 Cottage Smallholder      Our Privacy Policy      Advertise on Cottage Smallholder


HG