Party at Plot 5A – Free Beer!

16 slugs fell for the trap literally overnight!  (I hope I’m not attracting slugs from neighbouring allotments with my beer party pools :-/)

Tip: Keep a ‘device’ handy for flipping the slimy blighters out of the traps.  I tried (and succeeded eventually) to extract them with two plastic plant labels.  Splashes of beer and slime on the face are deeply unpleasant – yuck! My poor neighbours were also subjected to a view of my backside for waaaaaayyyyyy to long – I apologise to all!

Slugs

I would like to say that I am overjoyed with the results so far…my sensible brain is ‘chuffed’!  However I feel GUILTY 😦

I’ve plotted, planned and succeeded in ‘murder’.   I know it’s war but if I only I could hold a peace summit and come to an agreement.  ‘All the weeds you can eat’ or ‘Free access to all contents of the compost bin’…but keep off my land!!

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Filling My Boots

Working on Plot 5A is enriching my soul!

Life can get a little bogged down with work, work and more work and it’s easy to live in that safe little ‘bubble’ – moving in the same circles – speaking to the same people – talking about the same topics – sharing the same stories.

However, Plot 5A has given me the opportunity to meet people from a variety of backgrounds. Each and every one has an interesting life story.  ‘Neighbours’ have now begun to share tales of childhood, funny moments and sad life events. For me, getting to know the characters and personalities on the allotment site is truly an eye-opener and each an every person I’ve met so far has been welcoming, helpful and generous.

This week ‘neighbours’ have given me tea, cake, fifteen summer cabbages, twenty onion sets, a third water barrel plus a ‘butt’ of water! (I should explain…The water is currently turned off.  This isn’t a problem for most on the allotment site having filled their tubs/barrels with water over winter.  I, as a new allotmenteer, have had empty water butts since February! Yesterday I was surprised by a full barrel of water – a neighbour had very kindly ‘donated’.)

I’m VERY grateful.

20 Summer Cabbages
20 Summer Cabbages

Each time I visit Plot 5A, I step off the treadmill for a few hours.  I enjoy listening to the most wonderful stories. I learn and I grow…I fill my boots with food for my soul!

Plot 5A
Plot 5A

Beer, Wool and Rhubarb

Beer and Rhubarb

The battles have begun…and it’s official, I HATE SLUGS!!!!

I am now in full battle mode.  The slugs started it! The sneaky little people haters have been out, undercover of darkness and enjoyed a slap up meal on my rhubarb and comfrey plants. Consequently, I’ve spent two days looking for ways to KILL slugs without resorting to pesticides.  My ‘slug problem’ is most definitely exacerbated by the fact that plot 5A hasn’t been cultivated for several years.  According to research (what a project!! haha) the average garden ‘homes’ around 20,000 slugs and snails and each slug/snail lays approximately 100 eggs several times a year! This could mean 6,000,000 eggs per garden or more! Flipping heck!

So what are my options?

Option 1: Beer Traps

Slugs are party gastropods, living it up all night and rampaging through my beloved plot 5A!  Well, apparently they love a pint of beer too! Slugs find beer irresistible and are attracted by the smell.

I clearly don’t know anything about slug anatomy but was curious to find out how they sniff out tasty snacks (and beer).  One quick ‘google’ later and…‘slugs smell with their whole body!’ They are giant snotty noses!!!! They also have green blood, and 27,000 teeth!! 27,000! No wonder they are such successful munchers!

Anyway, I’ve rummaged through the kitchen cupboards, found a number of glass ‘posh pudding’ jars, stolen a can of beer from the fridge and placed beer ‘slug’ party pools around my plants.

Option 2: Give them a hearty cereal breakfast

Slugs love to scoff cereals only one slight problem…once eaten it swells inside the slug causing, well, I don’t think I need to spell it out! Cereal also mops up their slime making it difficult for them to slip away.  Fat slugs are literally breakfast for the birdies!

Bags of cheap porridge have now been added to the weekly shopping list.

Option 3: Eggshells or Grit

Another ‘google’ later… ‘A slug’s slime enables it to glide without difficulty over glass shards, or even the edge of a razor blade.’

Okay, scribble that one off the list.

Option 4: Wool Pellets

‘Wool pellets are manufactured from the fleece of sheep. Wool fibres have very fine scales with small barbs on the tip called cuticle cells. These cause wool fibres to felt and matt together. Wool fibres are very hygroscopic and this plus the sand and grit already in the compound and the potassium salts from the sweat glands of the sheep absorb some of the slime from the slug’s foot. 

As soon as water is added the fibres swell.  The fibres irritate the slug foot so, in theory this causes Mr Slug to find an easier snack.

I’ve purchased a small bag and have wrapped my rhubarb, borage and comfrey in a snuggly blanket of wool. We shall see!

Option 5: Nematodes

Completely harmless to humans, birds and animals, and perfectly safe around food crops. Apparently nem­at­odes are already present in my soil! However you can purchase a ‘micro’ army to help fight the war.  Definitely adding this to my list of weapons but would like a few opinions…Has anyone tried nematodes?

Option 6: Slug-lamping!

Yet to be tried but I have a few brave ‘Tiddlers’ that love a gruesome battle, if I supply them with head torches, a bucket and a weapon of their choice…

Option 7: Prepare a Battle Plan

Thank you once again ‘Little Ears’ for my Christmas present now I can fully prepare the next stage of my battle plan…

50 ways

Summing Up!

11 weeks of weekends + 1 Easter bank holiday (- 6 rainy weekends) = a result!

I started with….

Plot 5A - January 18th 2015

and now I have…

Plot 5A April 6th 2015

I’m thrilled, to say the least!

This bank holiday I’ve finished all the digging- yeeeehaaaa!

The planting is well and truly under-way – yipadee-doo-dah-day!

Herb Bed : Rosemary x2, lavender, thyme x2, blood sorrel, lemon balm plus tulip and daffodil bulbs.

Fruit Bed: Giant gooseberry, blackcurrent x3, blueberry x2, Miss Cherry, blackberry, boysenberry and strawberries x12 (I’m growing 9 the James Wong way in raised beds with red mulch).

Flower Bed: Dahlia x3, comfrey x3, borage plus a blackcurrant and raspberry (left over from the previous tenant).

Veg Bed: Shallots, garlic and potatoes.

Exoctics Bed: Rhubarb x2 plus 1 snapped branch off the gooseberry (well it just might grow!).

Allotment News

The view down. Our site is positioned at around half way up a mountain – at the foot of an even bigger mountain!

View

The ‘neighbours’ have been out in force this bank holiday…

Neighbours

Except for the tenants of Plot 4A, my immediate neighbours!  I’m told the local college has rented the plot until September (they’ve popped in a few times since LAST September) but I think the picture most definitely speaks a thousand words!

4A

Oh and the broken greenhouse in the background is no more – bashed, smashed and removed!

And finally…I met our bee-keeper, Mr G at the end of today.  Mr G popped over, introduced himself, chatted for a while and offered me the chance to suit up and ‘handle’ the bees! Oh yeeeeeessssss!!! *big cheesy grin*

Summing up – I’m feeling like the bees knees at the moment! Happy Days 🙂