Saturday 12 May 2012

Pesky Molluscs

I've been out to the greenhouse this morning to find that seedlings have been munched away. These are, or should I say were, a couple of Salad Bowl lettuces. One looks to have a tiny bit of damage, whereas the other has been totally decimated. There's even the tell tale slime trail on the top of the compost that shows me the culprit is slugs. This isn't the only damage, the slugs have had a right old meal. All my brassicas which were doing so well have just about vanished, only stalks left where yesterday were healthy leaves. I shall have to start again.

Some of the squash which I sowed a couple of weeks ago have now germinated. These have been kept indoors on a windowsill, but I'm also pleased to see that the courgettes which I sowed four weeks ago have also germinated. I've kept these in the greenhouse, and although they've taken longer to do their thing, they should make strong, healthy plants.

The weekend has started off nice and bright, though it's a little breezy. Unfortunately, I won't be able to get to the allotment due to other commitments, but I'm hoping the weather holds out this coming week as there's lots of things just waiting to be planted out. I also need to get my parsnips sown otherwise I'm going to miss the boat, and that really won't do, parsnips are mine and my daughter's favourite.


  1. Jo I can empathise with you - its so disappointing when this happens.
    yesterday I too went down to my green house and found that some of the purple sprouting broccoli plants that i had potted on last week were just stalks - no leaf left at all - half of them gone like your lettuce.
    Luckily I still have lots left to pot on undamaged.
    I spent an hour going through every single plant tray and pot and found 4 slugs!!
    So I'm hoping thats it now.
    Shame we dont live closer as i have two big trays of lettuce seedlings still (touchwood!) unharmed.
    My tomatoes took nearly 6 weeks to germinate, and will probably never come to much now as its so late.

    Gill xx

  2. That's so disappointing but at least your other plants seemed to have escaped too much damage.

    A friend of mine went on holiday last year and moved all her little seedlings from the window sill and outdoor portable greenhouse into the tub. One pesky slug was accidentally brought in and had a tasty buffet all week long - not a seedling survived!

  3. The trouble is the conditions are bad for plants but good for slugs so the poor plants don't have a chance. A tip I read somewhere once was not to remove the things that the slugs were eating such as nibbled strawberries. Apparently the slugs will trace their way back to an earlier unfinished meal. If you remove the affected plant then they move on to the next thing. It worked last year with the strawberries but I don't know whether it will with other things too.

  4. I went to the greenhouse and found a few things eaten off today too Jo...I'm just hoping I have caught all the amazes me how they are supposed to be so slow and yet manage to storm my greenhouse and devour in record time!!

    Hope the weather stay fine for you!!

  5. I am currently on my second lot of squash seeds as the first lot all vanished overnight to slugs....
    I have my fingers crossed that they get there in time..
    good luck with your replacement!

  6. The little b*****s and then they wonder why nobody likes them. I looked under my cloches this morning to check on cabbages I had planted out - one or two were missing and the rest were nibbled - but as long as they don't eat the inner leaves they will regrow. So frustrating for you.

  7. I feel your pain as we are suffering from the same infestation here - war has been declared :-/

  8. AnonymousMay 12, 2012

    Hi Jo,
    I know just how you feel those darn pesky molluscs been a munchin on my lettuces as well. I found the slimy varmit under a pot along with a few friends, soon put an end to their fine game. Played that old English country game slug hurling….so satisfying. Hope you have more luck with the next lot.

  9. It is slug city here too.

  10. Luckily that's one pest we don't have due to our dry chalky soil, and the hedgehogs, thrushes and frogs get the few snails there are. Now if I could just get rid of the pigeons and rabbits! xx

  11. That's disheartening Jo, as I'm new to vege gardening, I hadn't given much thought to pest control........yikes! x

  12. Why can't they stick to 5 a day! They just don't know when to stop!!! I've lost little gems to them too so I'm with Su - it's war!!!

  13. Slug and snail season has started here in earnest too. They become less of a problem here in summer - I think the heat bakes a fair few - although they never go away completely. I've got my beer traps out so hopefully that will save this years peas from last years fate - which was pretrty much exactly the same as your lettuces.

  14. They certainly seem to like brassicas, Gill, I've had the same thing happen to mine before. Tomatoes do seem to be having a hard time to germinate and grow this year, I think lots of people will be resorting to plants from the nursery.

    It must have been heartbreaking for your friend to come home from holiday and find total devastation, Tanya. I'm consolling myself with the fact that most things were untouched.

    That makes sense, Sue. I never remove the few nibbled strawberries which I see, yet there's never many damaged ones, this is probably why.

    It's always such a problem finding them too, Tanya. They never seem to be caught in the act.

    I think we're all suffering with slugs at the moment, Sylvan. I've never had any problems with them munching on squash before though, hope you're next lot survive.

    I couldn't have put it better myself, Elaine. If only I could get some to the planting out stage.

    I don't know why I'm surprised, Su, it's not like they don't attack year after year.

    They do seem to congregate together, Sueb. Hope you found them all, just one stowaway can do a whole load of damage.

    I think it's slug city everywhere at the moment, John, they're loving the wet weather.

    That's the problem, Serendipity. You might be lucky enough to escape one pest, but there's always plenty more just waiting in the wings. That's great organic gardening though, it just proves that encouraging hedgehogs, frogs and thrushes keeps the pests at bay.

    Oh dear, Lily. You will have your eyes opened, I can tell you. There's a pest for every crop, and more than one in most cases.

    They certainly don't know when to stop, Freerangegirl. They get their five a day, and we're left wanting.

    Hope your peas survive this year, Liz. Our summers are usually wet enough for the slugs to enjoy, so we still have problems with them then.

  15. My courgettes have taken a really long time to germinate this year, too. I think it has been the low light levels. Last year they only took a week. It has been perfect slug fest weather this year. I've lost a few plants in my cold frame even though it is placed on gravel. Have you tried putting the legs to your greenhouse staging in little dishes or saucers and then filling them with salt? That would stop the slugs crawling up.

  16. Slugs and snails are one of my worse enemies. So far I've only been caught out with a young delphinium but its early days and they're likely to devour a few veg plants (especially with the rain we're getting at the minute). I hope you can keep them off your plants. Your potatoes in your last post look super healthy!

  17. Oh no Jo ~ how dare they! Apparently they are not as partial to red leaved lettuces although I think that they would nibble anything given the chance.

  18. Whatever else comes along from time to time, slugs and snails remain the Number One enemy of gardeners!
    My Squash and Cucumber plants (kept indoors for weeks now) are pale and leggy. I thought I was doing the right thing, getting ahead of the game, by sowing them early (after such a promising March), but it turned out to be otherwise.

  19. Oh dear, it's been ideal weather for slugs and snails which has meant bad news for us!
    It's been wet here again yesterday and today but it's looking better for latter in the week. Flighty xx

  20. I'm finding most seeds are taking much longer to germinate this year, Wellywoman, it's so frustrating. I'd never thought to stand the legs of the staging in saucers of salt, that's a great idea.

    Slugs do tend to love delphiniums, Kelli. The trouble this year is that it's been very wet, perfect slug weather.

    I didn't know that about red leaved lettuces, Anna, though I'm not as partial to them myself so I can undertand it.

    I don't think I've had as much damage done to plants by any other pest, Mark. Slugs are definitely the number one enemy of gardeners. I'm still waiting for some of my squash to germinate, I think I'm going to have to call it a day and sow some more.

    It's rain for us again today, Flighty. I suppose that means the slugs will be out in force again. I'm just waiting for a break in the downpours so I can dash out with Archie.


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