Monday, 10 June 2013

Slug Fodder

I love hostas, but unfortunately, so do slugs. My hostas usually end up looking something like a lacy doily, though they're doing well this year, at the moment they remain untouched. I grow my hostas in pots in an attempt to thwart the pesky molluscs, and I think they look quite good grown this way, especially when a few containers are grouped together. Apparently, slugs and snails are more partial to some varieties than others, I obviously haven't got any of the less desirable ones as they munch on mine whenever they get the chance.

My parsnips seem to be doing well this year, I don't think I've ever had quite so many germinate when they've been sown direct before. I used to start my parsnips off in toilet roll inners and then transplant them, but they were all shoulder and not much root, so I now start them off direct. So many have germinated this time that I'll have to carry out some thinning, something I've never had to do before when so few have germinated.

I didn't manage to get to the plot this weekend so my sweet corn plants are still in pots. I'm hoping to get them in the ground as soon as possible, and as the weather forecast has now changed from rain, it looks like I may get chance during this week. Some of my squash and courgette plants are ready to be planted out too so that's another job to put on the list.


38 comments:

  1. Our hostas seem to be better than usual too even the spares that we planted in the garden. I do have some of the less desirable hostas (in theory) Ironically they are the worst affected and are in pots too!

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    1. Perhaps it's because we haven't had much rain lately. I'll give the less desirable hostas a miss in that case, such a shame they still get eaten.

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  2. With your hostas, try putting vaseline around the rim of the pots - its keeping slugs away from my dads hostas which are also in pots.

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    1. I use this too and it does work although I smear lower down to avoid messy fingers when moving. The trouble is the slugs that manage to get across from other plants or are already in the pots.

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    2. I've heard about the vaseline trick before but have to admit to not trying it. It's good to hear a remedy which works.

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    3. Slugs do tend to always find a way around barriers eventually. As you say, they're such sneaky critters that they hide away in the soil and you don't even know they're there.

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  3. I'm not a fan of hostas. It sounds like your parsnips are off to a good start.
    I sowed my sweetcorn seeds on Saturday. Flighty xx

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    1. I think the issue with slugs can put a lot of people off hostas. The parsnips look to be doing well so far, but you never know what's going on beneath the soil with root veg until you dig them up. Good luck with your sweet corn, let's hope we both get a good harvest.

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  4. Well, I wish my Hostas were looking as good as yours, Jo. The slugs and snails have turned mine into lace curtains again, and I think I'm just going to give up on them now. They even get to the ones in pots!

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    1. It's so disheartening, I know. Mine are usually the same as yours. I think it must be down to the dry weather why they're untouched this year.

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  5. Dare I say it but my hostas are relatively untouched too.Come to think of it I havent seen that many slugs about yet.....

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    1. I think we need to whisper it, don't want the slugs finding out there's food around. I've seen enough slugs already this year, they've had some of my beans and a sweet corn plant which was only moved in to the greenhouse the day before.

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  6. Last year my hostas and dahlias were just stumps in the ground, the slugs and snails were so bad. This year I've put gravel around them (they are in pots) and also a few organic slug pellets. So far they look much better - just a few bites out of two or three leaves. Yours look great; I do love hostas. Hope you manage some allotment time soon. I need to get to mine as well.

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    1. It was bad here last year too, I lost so many things to slugs. I always top off my pots with gravel, I think they look nicer even if it doesn't keep the slugs off them completely.

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  7. When I grew Hosta, they were in pots topped with sharp gravel and that seemed to keep them safe from those rasping mouths. I don't grow them any more, but I think I'll give them a go again next year as I am pretty sure I am doing well for slug and snail predators here. Prince Charles has an extensive collection of Hosta plants at Highgrove and they always look pretty unscathed. It's usually put down to the balanced ecosystem there and the number of slug and snail predators. Better stock up on a few more chickens just in case....

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    1. There's much to be said for a balanced ecosystem. I try my best to encourage wildlife to visit my garden in the hope that frogs and hedgehogs will help keep the slug numbers down, but I think I need many more visitors than I get to thwart those pesky slugs.

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  8. That's a most attractive trio of hostas Jo. I'm most fond of them although it's a constant battle against the molluscs and I don't always get the upper hand :) Hope that you win.

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    1. All three of these hostas were passed on to me from Hubby's uncle when he divided his plants. I love the Mouse Ears series, they're miniature hostas, but they've been rather expensive when I've seen them so haven't got any yet.

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  9. The West Country being wet, I've had to pretty much give up on hostas. Although I had a tip the other day that a solution of garlic (a bulb boiled up in water), sprayed on the leaves does the trick. I will try it out, as I'd love to have hostas again.

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    1. I've heard about a garlic spray working in the battle against slugs but haven't tried it, I'll be interested to hear how you get on.

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  10. It's funny, isn't it? We complain bitterly about the weather, but some plants have already performed much better this year than last. Maybe they like cold dry weather rather than warmer wetter weather. This year we have hardly any slugs, but also hardly any bees. You win some, and you lose some!

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    1. I think whatever the weather, some things will thrive and some won't, as you say, you can't win them all. I've had my fair share of slug damage already this year but it's been nowhere near as bad as last year, and I've seen more bees around just recently with the warmer weather, so perhaps they were still tucked up in spring when it was cold.

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  11. I used to love Hostas but gave up growing them because of the slugs. But now I could grow them on pots on the deck. Slugs don't like salt water so stay away from the boat. Shame I couldn't get all the stuff on deck that they love munching on up at the allotment!!

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    1. That would be great, having an allotment on deck, I bet you'd get fantastic harvests with no slugs around to disrupt plans. Hostas would look lovely grown in pots on the boat.

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  12. I recently heard that a good slug deterrent is seaweed so maybe next time you visit the beach you could pick some up to put in the top of the plant pots.

    None of my parsnips have germinated this year. I will be sowing some more though!!

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    1. I suppose it stands to reason really, coming from salt water, slugs and salt don't mix. I can't believe my parsnips have done so well, I just hope they're doing as well under the ground.

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  13. I have some blue, thick leaved Hosta in the coppice which weren't touched last year. I put this down to the birds, frogs and toads. Getting over-confident I have planted more, but different ones. Guess what, they're being munched :{

    I think Hosta success has a lot to do with variety, not just location.

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    1. I think you're right, especially as some are bred and marketed as slug resistant varieties.

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  14. Your hostas are looking good, I don't like to say it but so far (touching lots of wood) slugs and snails haven't been anywhere near as bad as last year. I lost so much to them last year. May regret saying that as its just starting to rain and slugs may be about to pop out from their hiding places!

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    1. I think the dry weather we've had so far is the answer to why there's so few slugs around compared to last year. Saying that, I've still had my fair share of slug damage this year, but at least they've left my hostas alone, so far.

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  15. Your hosta's are looking stunning, I always grow mine in pots too, but that doesn't fool the dreaded slugs. I do really like that green and yellow one.

    Oh! Wow on the parsnip front, y'know....NONE of mine have germinated!!! Not one, but lots of carrots.

    I do love growing corn but I don't really have the room....maybe I need an allotment, having said that the waiting lists here are years long. Sending lots of lovely weather your way to help with the corn planting!xxxx

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    1. The slugs do eventually find them, even when growing in pots unfortunately. It's the best year I've ever had for parsnips. My daughter would eat them until they come out of her ears so I hope I get a decent harvest for a change. The waiting lists for allotments are extremely long here too. I waited about eighteen months, but I'd have to wait much longer than that if I were to put my name down now.

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  16. The Hostas are looking great Jo, I always put a mulch of baked egg shells around mine as they emerge. My parsnips are also doing really well this year, I am sure there will be something that doesn't do as good, we can't win them all

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    1. So far so good with the hostas, still no slug damage, but we're due some rain so we'll see what happens then. There's always things which do well and others which don't, as you say, we can't win them all.

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  17. Your hostas make a nice group - I have given up on them now

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    1. It's such a shame that so many people have problems with them, they're lovely plants.

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  18. Have you tried the copper tape that you can get on a roll to stick round the pots. That will stop slugs.

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    1. I haven't tried copped tape, but I've heard people having mixed success with it. I have so many pots and containers that it would be quite expensive to do them all.

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