As plants and slugs emerge.

cake and slugs 076

Our garden plants are slowly waking up after the long winter and unfortunately, so are the slugs. We do not wish to use any chemicals in our garden and as every gardener knows this can be a challenge when it comes to dealing with slugs. We have created two wildlife ponds and now we have a lot of frogs and newts in the garden and they thankfully eat a lot of slugs.

 cake and slugs 099

Another strategy we have found very satisfying are putting out thin slices of slightly overripe melon around the garden. The slugs cannot resist this and gladly abandon our small seedlings to feast on the melon. We then come along with a scissors and cut them in half. This might seem cruel but at least the slugs die instantly and do not suffer as they would if slug-pellets or salt were used on them. We have a huge number of slugs in the garden, and last spring we cut between 300 to 700 slugs every night and if we had not done that we would have had very few flowers and vegetables left. As our wildlife population has increased a lot over the year we hope it will be a better balance in the garden this year with more slug predators present.

Our Ligularias seem to be a firm favourite and last year they did not grow very well due to massive slug damage in the spring. We have done some research over winter and have now come up with a very satisfying solution to this problem. We use a combination of sheep’s wool and crushed eggshells. The sheep’s wool we use straight from the sheep and it has not been washed. We save all our eggshells in a dish on the kitchen counter. When it is full we roast them in the oven until they start to smell a bit burnt. We then crush them up finely and keep them in a big bucket in the shed.  Last year we used them around plants but the results were disappointing and a lot of slugs seemed to get across them. But this year we are very happy with the results. The combination of fluffed up sheep’s wool weighted down by a layer of eggshells has now been applied for a few weeks and the plants have suffered no damage at all in this period. As a bonus the wool will rot down over the year and fertilise the plant. We are planning to use this on our Hostas as well as any other plant that might come under attack. It is a very cheap and wildlife friendly way to deal with the slugs.

 ligularia

Ligularia desdemona

Ligularia pond

Spring is truly on its way here in the West of Ireland and we would like to share a few pictures here of our signs of spring along with a very welcome guest…

Forsythia

Forsythia

Cherry blossom

Cherry blossom

Hellebore

Hellebore

Daffodils

Daffodils

purple broccoli

Purple sprouting broccoli

Bumblebee

And last but not least, our first bumblebee of the year.

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