Are slugs and snails stressing you out?

The unusually wet conditions experienced in the last three months have led to an estimated doubling or even trebling of Britain’s population of slugs and snails.  Disturbingly for growers, the most prolific of the slugs are two invasive Spanish species, Arion vulgaris and Arion flagellu. These slugs are larger and lay around 10 times more eggs than Britain’s native slugs, producing hundreds of offspring at a time.  Hopefully the six inch long slug found in Devon recently won’t make it as far east as Norwich, at least not this year.

What to do?

The following can help to reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of damage to crops:

  • Clear weeds and vegetation from near your plot, to reduce hiding places for these creatures that move around mainly at night
  • Wait for dryer weather conditions to return before sowing more seeds or replacing damaged plants.
  • The larger and more healthy seedlings are before being transplanted the more likely it is that they will survive
  • Use barriers such as slug tape (made from copper)
  • Pray for sun

Please see an example of a large red slug (arion rufus) below.  Apparently these are not especially damaging to seedlings, preferring to graze on decaying plant matter.

Plant and seeds to go

Bearing in mind the comments above, Juyna and Jane C will be around in and around the big shed on Sunday to help you decide what to grow, now that some early vegetables, such as broad beans, are finishing.

Composting issues

We are gradually moving away from using individual bins to having a larger-scale community composting facility, and several areas where plant waste can be stored and covered.  We think that this will provide a more efficient composting process, and will reinforce the communal aspect of our project. If you bring your plant material to the community composting facility near the entrance, please help Laurie our composter by following the instructions.  That is, separate green, brown and couch grass materials into the different bays provided, and chop up the plants into small pieces.  We are looking for someone to help Laurie with composting on a regular basis, so please let me or Bridget know if you are interested.