18 Comments
Mar 15Liked by Jack Wallington

Great piece. I agree with everything you say, especially filling your garden with so many plants you can't see damage and reducing slug habitat around the most vulnerable veg plants. Plus, of course, no pesticides. How I long to see their sale banned to the general public. I used to work in a garden centre - so depressing though occasionally I did manage to dissuade people from purchasing them.

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Mar 15Liked by Jack Wallington

Apologies Catherine for getting your surname wrong in my other comment!

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No problem!

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Those pesticide aisles are incredibly depressing aren't they. It's really frustrating as well when we know it's perfectly easy to garden without them, and show people how, and yet they still use them.

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Mar 15Liked by Jack Wallington

I enjoyed your article very much. The photos of summer flowers lifted my heart (I’m currently above the tree-line in the mountains). Re planting densely to camouflage the damage - I’m all for that, but in my ‘garden’ (a high balcony), dead pansies and forget-me-nots in February are a bit depressing. I don’t have birdlife to help tip the balance. Thrushes visited me once, but only to steal nesting material. Wrens used to come when I still had an overgrown trachelospermum, but I suspect that slugs and snails didn’t interest them. Other plants survive the attacks, which for me are mostly from slugs. Polyanthus and over-wintering nicotiana seedlings sometimes look sad, but continue to do their thing. On a slightly different tack, I used to be made miserable each spring by really early (Feb) greenfly infestations. Early shoots of centranthus were completely consumed. But they too recover. I ignore greenfly (as if there’s any option - I wouldn’t treat against them) and within a few weeks they are all gone. I put that down to applying your principles within my restricted limitations - planting densely and diversely.

Re Catherine Blackwood’s comments - yes, it shocks me when I see what people buy in garden centres. And with the bunching up of spring bank holidays just round the corner, watch out for all the tv ads for the most dreadfully noxious things which we are encouraged to apply in abundance.

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It is a challenge if you’re on a balcony. I think it’s that principle of trying different plants and leaning into the ones that do best. I’m with you on aphids, the quantities at the start of spring can seem alarming but then as if by magic they can all but disappear by early summer because of the many other things that feed on. Plus as you say, the faster plant growth outpacing them.

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Mar 15Liked by Jack Wallington

Even on veg I try not to worry about the odd nibble and think of it as sharing food! If I spot an especially audacious snail it gets gently transferred to the compost corner. I didn't know that they each had different favourite foods until today, so will bear those predilictions in mind in future. Thank you!

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ha yes, a nibble for them, a nibble for us :D

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Mar 16Liked by Jack Wallington

Have you ever seen a banana slug? These are California slugs that grow to be about 6” long and an inch wide. Truly magnificent.

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I hadn’t but I just looked it up, it really does look like a banana! 😄 thanks Robin

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Mar 16Liked by Jack Wallington

I have recently found a really good slug and snail deterrent called PlantGrow Slug and Snail. Apparently it's made of the waste left after crushing olives. You just build a ring of it around the plants you want to protect and I've found it absolutely works, and isn't affected by rain. I'm delighted with it but it's quite expensive - wish I could just go over to some olive-growing country and bring home a truckload!

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Thanks for the tip Sally! That sounds useful for those early spring shoots or particularly young plants that are more vulnerable.

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Mar 15Liked by Jack Wallington

Thank you! I have an influx every year of armies of snails who eat absolutely everything, even the non-snail-friendly plants, I'll try implementing these tips in spring, wish me luck!

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Good luck Rachel! If it's in the ornamental plantings, I find density is the way to go. Think like a woodland floor, dense and packed with more leaves than they can get through :) If they are eating the less appealing stuff, it suggests there isn't enough to keep them full.

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Mar 15Liked by Jack Wallington

Thanks so much. Unfortunately I have a mainly concrete garden with big planters at the borders, and I really want to pull up the concrete but it's such a big expensive job, it's probably because there's just not enough plants in the outside edges, although I have had success with lavender & herbs, but all my flowers and several other plants sadly got eaten last year. Hoping for a better one!

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It was very wet last year. Interesting the herbs did so well, perhaps focus on more plants like those? Such as salvias. Also, climbers and shrubs to go up and build up more woody upward stems.

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Mar 15Liked by Jack Wallington

Yes thank you, that's so true. I saw a post on instagram about this - to introduce Salvia, so that's a solid plan confirmed! My jasmine also has done very well, almost too well it's very enthusiastic about growing over almost every wall. Shrubs - noted on that, so helpful, thank you :)

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I've just been out with a torch and gathered mainly slugs from daffodils in tubs and that I planted in grass. I relocated them, don't know how quickly they can get back. None of the daffs in the grass have flowered, I thought it was deer, but it was the munching molluscs. I'm going to try coffee grounds to deter them.

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