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Posts Tagged ‘slugs’


Eight slugs a-slugging

Seven swans a-swimming

Six deer a-laying

Five GO-OLD rings

Four cunning birds

Three duck’s legs

Two pheasant cocks

And a partridge-less wonky pear tree!

Yes, the slugs… Obviously we have no slugs in the garden during winter – or at least that’s what it looks like. 2-4″ below the surface they are just waiting for warmer weather to emerge, for the eggs to hatch and for my poor plants to be attacked. And “Eight Slugs A-Slugging” is a gross underestimate!!! My record remains 179 slugs killed within one hour in the first year we had the garden…

Some gastropods are better than the slugs, though, and I’ve tried getting some of those into the garden. The Roman snail will eat some plants and shoots, but they prefer dead or decaying plants – and more importantly they like feeding on the eggs and younglings of other gastropods…

Also, I find them attractive in their own right with their large brown and grey shells… And I will tolerate if they eat some of my plants as long as they eat a few slug eggs as well!

 Mind you, more than anything else I have to count on myself to kill slugs. Since I released the Roman snails in the garden I’ve stopped using slug pellets, but instead I use my trusty slug spear. I suspect it was originally designed as a hoe to be used between paving stones, but when you keep the edge sharpened it’s the perfect tool for killing slugs. Less fussy that collecting them and killing them with boiling water, and definitely a quick and humane way to kill them off. After all, even slugs deserve a quick death, right? (Well, slugs more than anything deserve a quick death!!! ALL OF THEM!!!)

And as the picture shows, early mornings when you are still in your bathrobe is probably the best time of day to kill slugs. They like it while there is still some humidity in the air but it’s not cold… (All right, so perhaps it would be a good idea to put on some trousers, because straddling The Puddles in a bathrobe is not really very dignified and the neighbours might see more than they really need to of the gardener…)

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-I kill slugs, therefore I am

I’m sure this is what Descartes meant to write, right?

The fearsome hunter and his weapon

The fearsome hunter and his weapon

The death-toll last night ended at 83 slugs that will no longer prey on my dahlias. During spring we didn’t really see many slugs, probably due to the dry weather, but the wet and – to be polite – temperate summer has brought them out in droves.Like last year. And the year before.

Some of the other animals that eat our plants and flowers are accepted and even loved; The Flâneur Husband has repeatedly said about the deer that “they were here before us”, indicating that we just have to accept and adapt. This attitude doesn’t really transfer to slugs, though… Perhaps because they’re not as cute? Maybe it would all be different if Disney made a cute movie about a mother-less slug that grew up having to fend for itself, avoiding pellets and angry flâneur gardeners with sharp hoes? I somehow doubt it, though.

No, the slugs must die. If not all of them, then as many as possible. I could go all nationalistic and say that the Iberian slug is an invasive species and we need to protect our local flora and fauna by doing our best to eradicate it or at least keep it at bay, but the truth is they eat my dahlias and they’re just gross. DIE, I said.

And they’re devious little monsters… This was my view last night as I was sitting on the covered terrace with a cup of coffee. (Okay, it was a glass of Chardonnay…)

You don’t see it? Well, how about this?

You see, they don’t just stay on the ground, oh no. That would make it too easy to hunt them down. No, they think nothing of climbing shrubs and trees when it takes their fancy!

Pesky little bastards… DIE, I said!

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So yesterday I showed you my smallish (male?) toad relaxing in the pond. Well, last night I spotted some movement on the covered terrace, and there was a somewhat larger toad, which might be a female.

Another Toad

So we have two toads! How exciting is this!!! And toads eat the eggs and small specimens of slugs, so they are useful as well as exciting and – let’s face it – somewhat less-than-pretty.

The other day I also made another discovery in the old, disorganised compost pile in the less-frequented corner of the garden. Meet my new friend Hunter, a roman snail (helix pomatia):

Helix pomatia

I instantly moved him to the narrow border to the North-East of the covered terrace, since this is a favoured place for the slugs to burrow, and Roman snails are said to prey on the eggs of other gastropods. I’ll take any help I can get!

The Roman snail gives me a problem, though: I have to stop using slug pellets, as these kill ALL gastropods, including snails. So one is clearly not enough… So I went scavenging in the woods nearby and found a dozen more which I placed around the garden where I thought the conditions would be damp and cool enough for them to thrive. Some went into The Hedgerow, some at the back of The Ambitious Border and some in The Evening Border. (Putting a snail in The Sunny Border would just be unfair to the snail, I think…)

Now, Roman snails are protected in Denmark but you are allowed to collect them for private consumption, so I figure it’s probably also okay to collect them for your garden. After all, I’m sure the snails would rather be released in my garden than baked with garlic butter! (Though I do like snails…)

Besides my army of slug-fighting recruits I have also armed myself:

Spear or hoe?

This came with the house when we bought it, and I guess it’s technically a hoe, since it’s meant to be used to weed the cracks between pawing stones, but I’ve begun to use it as a spear when I walk around the garden in the early morning or late evening when the slugs are out and about. It might be slightly brutal, cutting them in half with a spear-like instrument, but I’m convinced it’s probably more humane than poisoning them. The other day I took out 102 slugs just by strolling around the garden with this tool…

Yes… The War On Slugs is definitely on in the Flâneur Garden! By all means possible.

 

In other news, I’ve also collected some more wildlife for my garden; 12-15 tiny baby frogs out of hundreds that were crossing the road a mile or so from here. Considering that several hundreds of them had already been run over by cars I think that it was okay to collect a few for The Puddles. Though of course their natural instinct when they have metamorphosed from tadpoles to frogs is to wander away from the pond they hatched in – hence the massacre on the road – so they quickly abandoned The Puddles, but maybe they will be back. Fingers crossed! After all, they might not eat slugs, but I wouldn’t mind if they made a dent in our mosquito population!

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