Spring / Summer 2002

Thursday 15th August
It's getting hotter and sunny again, so the slugs and snails have all gone to ground.

Friday 2nd August
Lots of thundery rain yesterday and last night, so slugs and snails were out in force. My son's play school sunflower was decapitated. I don't think it will survive now...
Took lots of fuchsia cuttings at the week end and am planning to use the hardy types in the garden more. Although they don't really start flowering until June, there are lots with beautiful leaves that can be grown almost as foliage plants for the rest of the season and the bonus is, in my garden, they are never eaten by slugs or snails.

Tuesday 6th August
Heard on the news today that experts are predicting a huge increase in the amount of slugs next year because farmers aren't using as many pesticides on their crops. Hopefully, this should also mean that in the long run, their natural predators should increase as well...

Thursday 1st August
Lots of rain on Wednesday. When I got home from work, there were big fat slugs all over my front path. However the interesting thing is, I couldn't see any big ones in the back garden which I treated with nematodes back in May. Even though the nematodes are no longer effective, they must have had an influence on the slugs life cycle so that their season has been delayed resulting in smaller slugs for the time of year.

Wednesday 31st July
My lilies have just started flowering and the evening air is heavy with their scent. I grow them in pots to avoid slug damage and I still have to be careful, as slugs can eat a whole growing shoot in the Spring over one night. I put a smear of vaseline around the rim of the pot and this usually does the trick, although you have to check there are no slugs already in the pot otherwise you trap them in for the summer!

Thursday 18th July
The sunflower doesn't look completely dead. It still has 2 leaves left, but i'm not sure if it will be able to grow enough now to flower before autumn. I'll just have to wait and see. Fortunately, my 4 year old son hasn't noticed the damage yet!
I've decided to create a new page to my web site with photos of my garden, as I have recently been given a digital camera I'm still working out the technical side, but watch this space...

Saturday 13th July
In spite of all my precautions, my son's Sunflower (see 21st June) has been eaten! It got too tall for the plastic bottle to fit over and anyway, I thought it would be too hardened off for slugs to bother, but they have eaten right through the growing tip! It makes you feel like giving up...

Wednesday 10th July
It's been a very wet July so far, but I haven't seen much recent damage from slugs or snails. This may be because there is nothing really young or tender growing in the garden at the moment. I've given up looking for the annuals I sowed, not one of the marigolds or nigellas has survived. Anything that did survive the seedling stage e.g. nasturtiums and mallow are growing so strongly now that I don't think they can be damaged. In fact I'm having more problems from caterpillars and aphids...

Friday 21st June
I've been suffering from a flu bug this last week, so have been unable to do much gardening recently, however my four year old son came home from pre-school the other day with a sunflower seedling in a yellow pot. He is very proud of having grown it himself. I planted it in the front garden for him. Over the past few years, my sunflower seedlings have always been eaten, so I was determined to protect this one. I cut the bottom off a litre bottle of water smeared a line of vaseline round it and placed it over the seedling which is supported by a small cane. This stays on over night. So far so good...

Thursday 6th June
The trial is nearly over now as the instructions on the nematode packet say they are effective for 6 weeks. My conclusions are:
The nematodes have definately made a difference. There is less slug damage on seedlings and new plants and far fewer slugs visible on the ground. Hopefully even though the trial is over, the population will take a long time to recover...

Thursday 29th May
Slug or snail trails in the garden this morning, not much damage but at this time of year everything is growing so strongly that it would be difficult for them to make a real impact.
The annuals I sowed a few weeks ago have germinated very erratically, and those that have come up have hardly grown at all. I think I must have been too eager to blame slugs before for their failure but in reality the conditions I have given them to grow in are far from ideal. They are in much too shady a spot to do well.

Tuesday 28th May
Have found slugs and slug damage, so I think the nematodes effect must be wearing off. According to the box they came in, they should offer protection until the 8th of June. That is still 2 weeks away, so I'm not too pleased... It's not as if it has been really hot and dry either. The nematodes have had ideal weather for their survival conditions. I shall be keeping a close watch on things, for the next few evenings...

Tuesday 21st May
The polyanthus flowers have now been eaten, I presume by snails. I suppose they have an easier time now they don't have to share food with the slugs! I found lots of them hidden behind ivy leaves on my house brick wall the other day. At least snails are easier to find and they don't hide underground.

Tuesday 14th May
Lots of rain last night, which usually brings the slugs out, but couldn't find any damage again. The damp weather ensures that the nematodes are active longer as they can move through the soil more easily. Next Saturday The Upton Gardening club is holding its annual plant sale, so I am looking forward to getting some bedding plants for the summer that I don't usually consider.

Monday 13th May
Have noticed that a polyanthus, that I have had for years has suddenly produced beautiful blue flowers with a yellow eye. The plant has quite uneven leaves which were always left untouched by slugs, but the flowers must have been eaten as they were produced.
My seedlings are still growing well, I have found one or 2 slugs now, far fewer than the normal numbers.

Saturday 4th May
Bank Holiday weekend, a busy time in the garden
Have had a thorough search of the garden, and cannot find any new slug damage. My marigold seedlings are coming through unhindered in open soil, whereas usually they would be decimated and so are my nigella and nasturtiums. Also my arum lily is pushing up flower buds without any damaged bits to them.
I think it has to be called a success.

Tuesday 30th April
Inspected the garden yesterday evening, can't seem to find any recent slug damage, saw a couple of slugs but they were not moving. It may be my imagination, but I think the nematodes must have started to hit home. What a result and it is only day 3!

Sunday 28th April
It rained all night, perfect for watering in the nematodes. Also when I checked my beer trap, it was full of slugs. Must remember to use beer again.

Saturday 27th April
Dull and damp day. Perfect weather for nematodes...
Followed the instructions to the letter. Basically you add the "paté" to 2 (U.K) gallons of water in a bucket, then take 2 pints of the mixture, add to a 2 gallon watering can and fill with water. Then you apply using a coarse rose to 12.5 sq. yards (10 sq. meters) of soil.
The pack fills, as you have no doubt already worked out, 4 watering cans to cover a total of 50.sq yards (40 sq. meters).
As my garden is only 21' by 17' 6'', I had some spare so watered my hosta and anenome pots on the patio.
After all that you then water it in with the same amount of clean water. My arms ache, but I'm sure it will be worth it...

Friday 26th April
My nematodes have arrived! They look like liver paté in a sealed transparent dish. Read the instructions which said that they can be stored for a few days in the fridge. Managed to sneak them in there without my wife noticing. I'm not sure she would like the idea of microscopic worms next to her salad...

Thursday 25th April
Nothing caught in the trap, read my baiting page again and saw that it actually says "brewers yeast" not bakers yeast. Didn't realise slugs were so picky! Good excuse to have a beer, filled the trap with some and drank the rest.

Wednesday 24th April
Got out my slug trap as have noticed that some of my recently sown seedlings have been eaten. I had some out-of-date baking yeast in the fridge so I mixed some with water and placed it in the trap.

Tuesday 23rd April
Feeling depressed over all the slug and snail damage so decide to call in some help: I rang Nemaslug (see links page for details). They told me how to get rid of my problem with parasitic nematodes. "Well what have I got to lose?" -"11.95 inc p+p", they said! So after flexing my plastic they told me that my worms would be with me within the week. Can't wait...

Monday 22nd April
Inspected garden for slug damage. To my surprise, my recently planted anenome has been eaten almost to destruction. I listed this one on my resistant plants page as well ! May have to rethink...I dug it up and put it back in a pot, and placed it on the patio next to my hosta.

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If you have any comments, suggestions or tips please email Matthew haywardm@supanet.com