Geoff Stonebanks, Pest Advice

Slug Killer

 

When you open your garden to the public, it’s important to  me to ensure that all my blooms and foliage look the best they possibly can. With planting so tightly packed to achieve the look I want, it’s very easy for slugs and snails to hide away amongst the foliage unnoticed. Now, I have to admit, I’m not one of those gardeners who is out there with a torch at night, picking the snails off and then driving them  miles away to deposit them.  I need to get rid of them without that hassle. We have a gorgeous little Jack Russell, Albert, so it’s equally as important to find something that is not going to harm him, as he loves to spend time in the garden as well.

 

Slug

 

A few years ago, I discovered a great product that works well for me, Advanced Slug Killer. This slug killer really is  amazing. It’s an innovative blue pellet containing a naturally occurring active ingredient Ferric Phosphate. Once attracted to and consuming the bait pellet, slugs cease to feed, and crawl into a dark secluded place or under the ground to die which eliminates the problems of unsightly slime trails and slug bodies to clear away. All this combines to make Advanced Slug Killer just about the best anti-slug product I’ve found in my  years of gardening. On moist soil or in humid conditions, the pellets absorb some of the moisture and begin to swell. The granules do not decay after a few swellings, also slugs much prefer the moister texture making them an attractive meal instead of my lovely flowers.

Geoff Stonebanks

 

I don’t grow organically or grow vegetables, but the pellets can be used as a bait for the control of slugs on bare ground and around all edible and non-edible crops grown outdoors, in the greenhouse or under other permanent or temporary cover.  More importantly, I find it remains effective after exposure to rain, watering and sunlight too. So, whether you open your garden up or not, if you have a problem with slugs and snails what not give it a go? I always check the garden daily and apply the pellets at first sign of plant damage, putting out  late evening or early morning when slugs are most active.

Read more of my garden at www.driftwoodbysea.co.uk

Geoff Stonebanks lives inGeoff Stonebanks Bishopstone, near Seaford in East Sussex and spends all his time gardening and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support. Using his multi award-winning garden, Driftwood, he has raised over £76,000 for various charities in 7 years, £40,000 of that for Macmillan. The garden, which first opened to the public in 2009 has featured on BBC2 Gardeners’ World, Good Morning Britain and in many national and local media publications. In his spare time, Geoff is also the National Garden Scheme’s Social Media & Publicity Chair as well as an Assistant County Organiser & Publicity Officer in East & Mid Sussex.

Paul Peacock - Mr Digwell

We have received several questions for our gardening expert Mr Digwell lately. Here are his answers:

What kind of plant can plant that bunny rabbits don’t eat?

There are lots of rabbit proof plants. My favourites are Astilbe – with their wonderfully coloured flowers, Galanthus (snowdrops) because they are so wonderfully cute and Hydrangeas. Actually the RHS do a list here.

Why are stems on my primrose weak so it flops?

They are too wet, and probably rotting within. You can dig them up and add a little grit to new compost. Dig a large hole (twice the size of the plant, and then plant in 50% compost 50% grit.

How to care for mini lavender plugs?

Keep them frost free, preferably in a cool greenhouse over winter and then plant them next spring. I say this because the soil is far to wet at the moment and they might rot. Don’t over water over the winter.

How to apply slug bait to hanging plants?

Not easy this one! If they are in a hanging basket put a layer of grease to the fixings and they won’t come – but keep renewing it weekly. If on a tree, try grease bands, they seem to work to keep them climbing up.

Mr Digwell gardening cartoon logo

Paul Peacock studied botany at Leeds University, has been the editor of Home Farmer magazine, and now hosts the City Cottage online magazine. An experienced gardener himself, his expertise lies in the world of the edible garden. If it clucks, quacks or buzzes, Paul is keenly interested.

He is perhaps best known as Mr Digwell, the cartoon gardener featured in The Daily Mirror since the 1950s. As Mr Digwell he has just published his book, A Year in The Garden. You can also see more about him on our Mr Digwell information page.

Gardening, Grow Your Own, Guest Posts, Victoria

Victoria’s Garden Buzz

You should hear my garden, humming and buzzing with activity. You’d have thought our coldest April would have put paid to anything I’d planted early, but it’s as if nature simply went to sleep and woke up so fresh and revitalized that the herbaceous plants and vegetables are reaching double their usual height and you can almost watch them growing. How does your garden fare in this crazy weather?

What a difference a mow makes! After the cool spring rain the garden looked more like a meadow lush with daisies, buttercups and cowslips – it had been so long since it was cut. It was hard to see where the lawn ended and the borders began. Then, one hour with mower and strimmer, and it was a picture framed. Which garden task do you think makes the most difference, especially if you are short of time? Perhaps it’s weeding or pruning or hedge-cutting . . .

More rain! Never mind! The plants do so much better when nature waters them – somehow the rainwater penetrates plant and soil far more efficiently than a hose can. Plus, weeding is easier when the soil is wet and everything smells so nice. The downside? I can’t excuse myself from housework . . . although, there’s always something to do in the potting shed! How do you prioritise your time around your home or allotment?
Victoria's Veg Patch with Sprouting Broccoli
The purple sprouting broccoli lasted so much longer this year. It’s early June and I’ve just stopped picking it as it is in flower and will be too tough to eat – but just in time for the first broad beans. I have the baby pods whole and when the
first ones have set I pinch out the tops and eat those as greens – yummy stir-fry! I saw that one or two pea pods have set too. What spring vegetables do you look forward to most? How do you like them prepared?

Early last year in a bid to rid bindweed, I had my whole long border up. I divided and potted up perennials, put bulbs aside, pulled up as much of the pernicious root systems as I could and left them to wither and die! Then I dug in lots of my lovely garden compost and replanted. Last summer, the border looked glorious – this year even better – however, of course, the bindweed is back! Such is life. What is your worst weed? Have you managed to beat it?

Composting, I maintain, is a form of alchemy! Taking raw, base materials and turning them into black gold! I wonder who first thought of it – in primitive times, perhaps. My heap is six feet by three and growing as the garden matures.
Synergy, perhaps? I love the fact that the garden feeds itself and it’s a good place to put any slugs and snails I catch to help the process. Life, death, decay and life again: primordial recycling.

Victoria

Gardening, How To, Pest Control, Slugs & Snails

Dealing With Slugs And Snails

Usually one of the few benefits of a cold, snowy winter is that it helps to kill off pesky slugs and snails. Unfortunately, this year we have had such a mild winter that the little pests have thrived, hit by nothing more than the odd day of rain and very occasional light frost.

As most gardeners know, slugs and snails can be utterly detrimental to your plants and flowers and must be dealt with. An easy method is simply to keep your plants out of the slugs’ reach. You can do this by using hanging baskets or keeping indoor plants. However, this is not always practical or desirable.

There are several methods of dealing with slugs. Covering your plants with netting will help to prevent slugs and snails as well as birds from attacking them. It is important to keep checking them however, in case any slugs have managed to slip through and to make sure that the plants do not get caught up in the netting.

Salt is extremely effective at killing them; however, sprinkling a barrier of salt around your plants may prevent slugs from attacking them, but if it seeps into the soil and is taken up by the plants and flowers themselves, salt can damage those too.

 A tested and safe repellent or slug killer may be a better solution and these are readily available. They are often in pellet form and should be scattered around the plants. The slugs will consume them and perish while your plants remain healthy and safe. Such products are very carefully controlled to be safe for use when children are present or nearby, but it is always best to check if they are suitable for use around edible plants, should you wish to use them near any crops.

An alternative method to pellet-based slug bait and killers is the slug trap. These are fitted into the ground near the plants or anywhere where you frequently see slugs and snails, and the base is filled with beer or yeast. The slugs are attracted by this and fall into the trap, keeping your plants protected.