For the most part, slugs are my nemeses. They attack my attempts at growing my own food, they decimate my flowers and they leave a slimy mess everywhere. Once they hit a certain size they seem to have very few enemies (apart from gardeners and their friends the hedgehogs). However, not all slugs are bad, one of the less destructive slugs is the rather pretty tiger slug.
The tiger slug, is also known as a leopard slug (Limax Maximus) for obvious reasons. Â These large slugs (they can grow up to 16cm in length) are relatively common throughout Britain and Ireland and are usually found in gardens and woodlands. Â They tend to feed on decaying matter and fungi (and, allegedly other slugs) so, next time you see one of these not so little chaps, maybe think twice before ‘dealing’ with them!
After all of the recent rain which has created a field day for the little sluggy terrors there is worse news on the horizon. Â According to a recent report on the BBC website a new type of slug has been discovered in Wales. Unlike other slugs this one is carnivorous and lives underground and eats worms sucking them through its teeth. So, not only do we have to contend with slugs and snails decimating all of the vegetation now they are eating our wormey helpers – it’s a conspiracy!
Last night I discovered that we have a hedgehog back in the garden. We did have a couple last year, but were worried we had evicted them when we moved the railway sleepers that one of them appeared to be nesting under.
We have since made a waterproof home for them at the bottom of the garden using some spare patio slabs, but until last night had very little evidence that they had forgiven us.
This return should be good news, because, as many of you probably already realise, hedgehogs are a gardener’s best friend and will eat all sorts of grubs, including those pesky slugs and snails. At least he will be earning his keep unlike those lazy frogs!
Well, it just goes to show how much I know, my advice to grow courgettes and rhubarb if you want something that doesn’t require much attention and will repay you many times over seems to be a little ironic at the moment. Â
We had neglected our rhubarb for a couple of years whilst we were re-landscaping the back garden and so had it imprisoned in a pot for the entire time. Â It is planted in the ground now, but is looking a bit weak and feeble still (although it is growing).
Â A couple of weeks ago, when the weather was warm I optimistically planted out a courgette hoping it would get a head start whilst there seemed to be a ridiculously low number of slugs around. Â Well, what a fool I was, as the picture shows the sluggy grapevine seems to have put the word around quite quickly that I had dared plant my crops out and as soon as the damp weather (damp being a bit of an understatement, it feels a little like monsoon season at the moment) appeared so did the slugs. Â
Â I know that I could prevent this with little blue pellets, but we are trying to be as organic as possible and are trying to encourage the ecosystem (although at this rate I may start charging the frogs board and lodgings as they are not earning their keep). Â I have another courgette in reserve, but I will plant this in a pot this weekend.On the plus side, I have planted my beans in various parts of the garden, and some of them are still in one piece. Â