Slugs, rain and nematodes

by Pippa Greenwood

Where have all the flowers gone? Why did it have to happen now? Just as I had been lulled in to a false sense of security the heavens opened again.

adding nematodes to waterWhere have all the flowers gone? Why did it have to happen now? Just as I had been lulled in to a false sense of security the heavens opened again. There's been enough rain to fill all of my water butts several times over and the ground is now a soggy mess.

One advantage of the rainfall has been the success of the biological control I applied to some areas of my kitchen garden. Nematodes are added to water and applied to the soil in spring. They thrive in warm, moist soil and when they come across a slug, they enter its body, infecting it with bacteria and kill it. This dramatically reduces the slug population and many areas of my plot are now slug free, which makes me very happy.

However, I didn't apply the nematodes to every part of my vegetable plot and my newly planted squash plants were eaten over night. Now all I'm left with is a selection of decidedly miserable-looking stumps with a few scraps of leaf clinging on for dear life. Of course, the slugs are happy as can be. They're full to bursting with my plants, taking advantage of the safe hiding place under the polythene the plants were growing through.

On top of this, the gorgeous mass of yellowy-orange azalea flowers is now no more, having been blown and bashed by the storms.

I shall be replacing the squash plants, applying more nematodes to the ground and then presumably raking up the once gorgeous azalea blooms. Please, someone, when do we get the summery weather?

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Gardeners' World Web User 07/06/2007 at 01:18

A multi pronged attack is my obsessive compulsive solution. Beer traps, midnight forays with a head torch, juiced orange halves and plastic overnight homes work. I also find a visit to my local coffee bar to top up on coffee grounds to sprinkle on and around the new plants is a worthwile trip. They don't seem to like the taste or granularity.

It's like dusting you just have to do it regularly. Good luck and enjoy your garden.

Gardeners' World Web User 06/06/2008 at 17:49

Do slugs killed by nematodes present any danger to garden birds? What about those killed by metaldehyde?

Gardeners' World Web User 07/06/2008 at 21:09

Slugs and snails are a nightmare, I'm out every night on slug n snail hunts tonight I've just got my husband to lift the massive pots of hostas onto the patio table because they started munching on them 3 nights ago. This week I gave the coffee grind's in the watering can ago no good if it rains on a night. Last week I put coffee grinds around the plants mixed with all the other things I've tried this year, I'm sure they're laughing at us, anyway I've set a trap lots of tastey hosta leaves on the ground were my hosta pots normaly are must go 9.35pm thats the time they start coming out here.

Gardeners' World Web User 08/06/2008 at 16:49

I am bemoaning the swarm of glimmering greeny/black beetles (about the size of a ladybird) which have taken a liking to my large Rosemary bush - my neighbour is bemoaning the same thing. What are they - help please to identify them, and any advice on evicting them would be good. Thanks

Gardeners' World Web User 09/06/2008 at 10:06

I cannot believe the number of slugs and snails in my garden this year! It is the first year I have had the time to grow plants from seed and have been really pleased with my success - until I put then in the garden. Then I think every slug and snail from miles around makes a beeline for my little plot! Slug killer only seems to attract even more. On wet days they even climb up my doors and I have a real phobia about slugs - I cannot stand them - and certainly can't touch them as it makes me feel physically sick! I feed the birds to attract them to my garden but do they repay me by eating these pests? No they do not. I'm off on holiday next week but intend to try nemotodes on my return - if there's any plants left.

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