Looking Great! Keep up the great work! I really love to see more and more land
regenerated by caring, thoughtful people
such as yourselves!
It makes me feel extra warm and fuzzy that you're doing it here in Maine!
range Muscovy ducks, and paddock shifted and tractored chickens took care of our slug problem here in central Maine (Maine's Awesome!!).
Also the addition of a garden frog pond
within the garden that is filled with rain water
and wash water from our veggie sink in our attached greenhouse
was a great help as well as creating toad houses every chance I get amongst the perennial
border surrounding our kitchen garden. Toads can eat a lot of slugs. The ducks and chickens patrol the perimeter around our fenced in kitchen garden while the snakes, frogs and toads help take care of the slugs within the garden. We let the ducks in to the kitchen garden late fall and early spring to forage for slimy treats. In the rare occasion when we do find a slug or snail in the garden we just chuck it into the adjacent chicken
pile and let the Rhode Island ladies take care of 'em. I also choose to frame our (20) 3'x15' raised beds with 1"x8" hemlock which not only helped control slugs it drastically reduced the amount of "weed" pressure on our annual veggies. The hemlock frames allowed me to keep our 1' paths between beds and still cultivate right to the edge of the path with less plants leaning over the paths because the beds now have straight sides. Mounded raised beds with 4'+ wide walkways between are great, mounded raised beds with 1' walkways between are not so great and its hard to keep the sides of the mound productive, "weed" free, and from slipping into the walkway. Before we framed them we only had 2'x 14' (28 sq. ft) of "effective" growing area per bed, when we framed them we increased the "effective" growing area to 2'10"x14'10" (42 sq. ft). The frames also created structure to mount quick hoops made from 1/2" emt with pipe straps screwed to the frame. The hoops are pushed into the ground 12" or so below the frame and can easily be removed by just sliding them up out of the pipe straps.
Even though I am not fond of floating row cover we have used it as a very effective alternative to slug attracting mulches, we only mulch onions and garlic with straw
the rest of the garden gets mulched with top dressings of chicken yard compost
(kitchen scraps w/ homemade bokashi grains, wood
shavings from brooder bedding, shredded leaves, newspaper
and cardboard, "used" potting soil, weeds with immature seeds, char, small diameter woody shrub cuttings, and pruned green leaves including cannabis, comfrey, yarrow, dandelion, horestail, rhubarb, clovers, nettle
, and elecampagne.) and covered with floating row cover over the hoops, the covers are opened periodically for pollination and/or to attract beneficials.
You may find some effective control using slugs in a biodynamic broadcaster unit - read about it in Secrets of the Soil
by Christopher Bird and Peter Thomkins.
Our biggest "pests" now are mice
which have vacationed over winter within our low tunnels. Our cat is a very efficient hunter but only gets one or two a day, might need to get a couple more kitties. I will continue to trap the rodents and feed them to the chickens. If this doesn't have a large enough
effect I will biodynamically ash
some rodents around the production parts of our landscape.
Here's to a fruitful future!