I was leaning over the pond this evening, trying to reach the juicy alpine strawberries, when I spotted a big adult frog eyeballing me from the comfort of the pool.
I was swelled with pride, as this strange beast had accepted lodgings in my pond. Now my eye was in though, I spotted 3 tiny frogs skittering around on the pond weed and even 1 out on the edge of the pond.
Not really sure where these ones have come from, the tadpoles I had been watching, don’t appear to have legs let. I wonder if these are an earlier batch that I missed or perhaps they all develop at different rates.
Anyway, I’m happy. It makes it for the disappointment I felt when I discovered all my replacement cauliflowers had been eaten by the slugs.
Today it was time to face facts. The local frog population have obviously snubbed my pond and the slugs that I have been saving as amphibian delicacies have been having a whale of a time in my compost bin, procreating merrily and sniggering behind my back. Something clearly needs to be done if I ever hope to grow intact lettuces.
So, today marked the first assault on the slug flotilla.
There appear to be a number of options for dispatching slugs. You can squish them, a simple option but slug slime is stickier than melted chewing gum and its not the sort of thing you want lingering on the bottom of your shoe. Slug pellets are another obvious choice but are pretty damaging to the rest of the wildlife and would probably ensure I never see a frog or hedgehog on my plot again, plus I wouldn’t want them near my food. You can also purchase special slug hating nematodes which are apparently approved of by the soil association and other organic gardening watchdogs but although I can accept that nematodes already exist in my soil I am just not going to enjoy eating my cabbage when I know I’ve just watered it with a solution of parasitic worms. That leaves me with a painless option that I read about in my magazine yesterday – death by drowning.
I wiped about 30 beasties from the side of my compost bin into an inch of water in bucket. Almost immediately the slime factories puffed up a little and seemed to turn pale. Happy with a job well done, I turned away and carried on with my mammoth digging task.
10 minutes later I happened to be passing the bucket and saw at least 28 slugs fighting for pole position at the rim of the bucket. I sloshed more water in from a height and knocked them back into the drink. 10 mins later the process had to be repeated, this time I added a dash of my beer dregs that I have been saving for months, thinking this would encourage them to linger for a bit longer.
I must have been a bit tight with the beer because, you guessed it, 10 mins later they are back at the rim. Now I’m scraping them off with my spade and stirring vigorously. Its turning into quite a frenzied killing session and I’m not feeling too good about it. Who said drowning was painless? The darn creatures just won’t play dead. Perhaps I have cultivated a specific variety of deep sea diving slugs.
After 6 hrs on the plot it was time to go but the slugs were still not finished, I sliced a couple of particularly feisty specimens with my secateurs and left the others to their own devices.
I would say the slugs won the first battle. I need to go back armed with a more humane and effective form of execution. If only the frogs would turn up, then I wouldn’t have deal with all this unpleasantness.
Pictures omitted for obvious reasons.