Beat slugs the organic way

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I’ve got a love-hate relationship with slugs. I really hate them when they chow down on my soft-leaved hostas, lettuce and sweet peas, lovingly nurtured before being decimated by these nonchalant beasts. On the other hand, I admire them for their cool brashness – ploughing on and munching without a care in the world.

Humans have been to the moon, discovered electricity and climbed Everest and yet slugs still seem to baffle and frustrate gardeners! They’re also pretty useful in the garden, providing food for nearly everything – particularly thrushes, which lap them up. Only some of them eat our plants, too, and all act as vital decomposers, like worms. So in many ways, our tolerance of them makes for a biodiverse, healthy garden, a chain link in the circle of life.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t control them though! Spring is when they really come into their own, so be vigilant now. I’m picking off any I see, making a concerted effort to seek them out and bung them in a nearby field. I’ve protected new spring shoots with grit barriers and cloche covers, too, but it’s also an excuse to plant more – with such full-to-bursting borders you won’t notice a few chomped leaves! Metaldehyde will thankfully soon be banned so we’ll all be looking for natural alternatives that don’t harm soil or wildlife. I’m opting for a clever product, Envii’s Feed and Protect, a 2-in-1 deterrent and feed that naturally alters the taste of plants to slugs (but not us), while encouraging good plant growth.

Four easy ways we can make a big difference

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