The Cottage Smallholder

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Slug challenge 2010 and seedlings


Photo: Slugs are not allowed in this garden

Photo: Slugs are not allowed in this garden

Our basic electric propagator has been brought into service again as I’m really keen to get my tomatoes and peppers started early this year. Also I wanted to sow the Florian strawberry seeds to get a May/June crop. The propagator hasn’t got a thermostat but it is a real little cracker. Germinating seeds very quickly. This year they seem to have germinated even more rapidly – perhaps using rainwater to water them is helping? I’m also using biodynamic techniques and sowing, planting and tending by the moon this year – which is supposed to produce bigger, stronger plants and increase yields.

Each morning we lift the propagator lid and marvel.
“We have seven strawberry seedlings and look the thyme has germinated in just three days.”
The biodynamic tomato seeds that I bought from LunarOrganics are amazing. They germinated fast and are really strong little seedlings. I love this time of year – nurturing my baby plants and planning future harvests.

Yesterday morning I lingered in the kitchen garden and had a peep under the giant cloches. The germination of the carrots – sowed in October has been minimal. The broad beans are doing well but the peas that had been my pride and joy were looking very thin on the ground. I assumed that they’d been guzzled by slugs. There are still a few plants left so I shot back to the barn to find out of date beer and set two traps in the cloche. Thank you Joe!

This morning I woke early and hurried eagerly down to see how many slugs had enjoyed the final party of a lifetime. I discovered that either we have teetotal slugs or they were chomping elsewhere last night. I’m going to place traps all over the kitchen garden today to lure those pesky molluscs. I’ve had great results with sour milk in the past so I might try that as well. The problem with the milk is that it attracts the Min Pins so it has to be put down when they are safely tucked up in bed and removed before they step into the garden in the morning.

It’s great to have a new challenge for 2010. Those slugs won’t know what has hit them.

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  1. I used the nematode approach last year and it seemed to work extremely well. I didn’t see a single slug all season and had no underground slug damage on the spuds. I think the product is called nemasis. You apply it every 6 weeks if you’re really keen but I used it just the once. Quite expensive I seem to recall and it didn’t reduce the snail population – I had to go on frequent snail patrol. (Isn’t that the name of a band?) I also netted most things until they were quite large. Wished I’d kept them on longer to avoid the Cabbage White invasion! Will do that this year…

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