Have a major problem with slugs, thousands and thousands of them where I live in the UK. Tried planting a few lupins but they ate them all, maybe because I sowed them directly as seed (though I sowed phacelia and common comfrey, on reasonable soil which did well). Anyone have some ideas on plants that the slugs won't touch or that even repels them? Was thinking of getting some burdock seed, though maybe its too late in the season. Want to cover a fairly large area of 3 acres of very compacted clay, though not necessarily all at once.
There are some slug resistant hostas, and I just found out you can eat the tender shoots.
I recommend having ducks, they will help out a ton. You will have to protect garden beds or have good ways of restricting them. I had a garden of raised beds in a really sluggy area and had ducks keep the paths between clean, the beds where either fenced off or covered in plastic like a hoop house.
As for the very compacted clay that floods, you could try an upland rice like Duborskian Rice (maybe you could start the seedlings in a hoop-house). Ducks go well with rice when it is flooded. Strawberry clover is one that handles flooding well, maybe sweet clover would help break up the clay
Daikon/forage radish or turnip could help break up the clay. Barley is a good green manure that can withstand wet soils better than other cover crops but like the clovers and brassicas they are susceptible to slug damage.
There is an old bio-dynamic practice for slugs that involves fermenting them and spraying the liquid to repel them. Of course you need to spray at the correct time according to their calendar
Hi Richard, what do you want to plant in your 3 acres? Food/vegetables? Cover crops? Ornamentals?
I'm near Doncaster and while it has been a pretty sluggy year for me, it's not as bad as the past two years.
What's worked: -Pretty much all shrubs, ornamental and fruiting: roses, berberis, bamboo, blackcurrant, redcurrant, raspberries
-Most leafy vegetables have had some slug pressure, but have managed to survive for the most part: cabbage, chard, kale (all transplants, though)
-Peas and beans, once they get about 2-3 inches tall, are fine. Sprouted these seeds in a a bag of damp compost and then sowed outside
-Some annual flowers seem pretty impervious: nicotiana, French marigolds, nasturtiums, poppies, clary, California poppies. Others bit the dust pretty early: strawflowers, cosmo
-Trees are doing great: apples, pear, cherries, almond
-Herbaceous perennials (edible and not) sorrel, rhubarb, daylily, peonies, goldenrod, delphinium--all had a bit of pressure but recovered fine
-Grass! The lawn is looking great My chickens keep it mowed for me
What hasn't worked for me: -Direct seeded green manures: lupin and clover. Don't know if it was slugs or birds, but got maybe one or two plants from probably about 200 seeds
-Direct seeded root veg. The only root veg that are still growing are my onion sets, and baby carrots and beetroot in planters. Slugs mowed down multiple attempts at growing in the ground
-Direct seeded salad leaves though transplants have been ok for the most part
-Courgette, pumpkin, and cucumber. Transplanted them, slugs ate nearly all of them (I have at least one left of each, though)
What I have been doing to mitigate damage: -I dug a small pond in 2014 to encourage frogs and toads. We even saw a tadpole this year--hope the goldfish didn't eat it!
-Rotate our flock of 15 chickens throughout the garden--though not veg beds. They get access to vacant veg beds in winter to help clean up slugs and weeds
-Keep vulnerable veg beds as clear as possible from slug hideouts. No mulch, no excess weeds, no piles of stones or logs. These things go in the perennial/ornamental parts of the garden
-Concentrate what protection I can to the most vulnerable plants, hence the carrots in planters. I deter slugs from the planters by smearing the rims with vaseline
-Encourage birds by having a variety of shrubs, trees, nesting spots, hiding places, and tasty bird food. Yesterday I saw a juvenile thrush disemboweling a large slug on my patio. I was thrilled
Galadriel Freden wrote:Hi Richard, what do you want to plant in your 3 acres? Food/vegetables? Cover crops? Ornamentals?
Anything that will grow well and fast in the climate and be relatively prolific. Doesn't have to be something of marketable value, would like to try and improve the quality of the ground through more organic matter and pioneer plants.
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