Monday, 9 June 2008

The next problem with gardening

is that I go to the garden centre to pick up one of these
and come home with one of these
which is very pretty and smells heavenly, but wasn't really the plan. I fell in love with this so much that I carried it and the strimmer off to the checkout, forgetting to have a hunt around to find something to stop this
from happening to any more of my plants. I do not like snails. Or slugs. I also do not like slugpellets.

Here's a diversion. My last house was slug infested. Not the garden, the house. Slugs used to throw parties in the night, and I'd come downstairs in the morning to discover silvery slimy slug-webs all over the floor. Very pretty, but not terribly practical. And coming downstairs in the middle of the night was always a hazardous occupation - getting a squished slug stuck between the toes is not my idea of late night fun. Even now I see a small black thread on the floor, my feet start climbing the walls in memory. I think the finest shudder moment was when I turned the taps on in the kitchen one morning and was greeted with a two inch long slug sliming its way out of the overflow gap.

It's not that I didn't try to get rid of them. Slug pellets weren't an option as I had a pet cat and small children. Salt trails across every doorway and window made an interesting contrast to the slugwebs but had no noticeable effect on their ability to enter the house. It didn't help that it was a Victorian house with a suspended floor and loose floorboards - I'm sure they crawled in through the gaps in the floor. Gardeners' Question Time at the time suggested a stick with a nail through it, spike the slugs onto the stick and drop them into a brine solution. I couldn't do it then and I couldn't do it now. I mention it as an option for others in a similar position.

We tried the salt. I tried gravel, I tried copper anti-slug tape. The beasties kept coming, my toes kept squelching. Did you know too that slug slime in large quantities is bogey-like in consistency, when trying to clean it up after it has dried out? Beer was another suggestion. Slugs like beer apparently; fill a dish full of beer and they'll crawl in, get drunk, and drown. I didn't fancy throwing them into brine but somehow facilitating slug suicide by providing a pan of beer didn't seem to fall into quite the same league. It was a decent beer too; they'd have died happy. However it didn't quite work like that. They liked the beer - the trail of slime showed that - weaving lacey patterns around the pan, in and over and under the pan, more slime than ever before. But far from drowning in the beer, they appeared to have thrown a party, invited their friends, convinced a few snails to join them, before retiring under the floor once more to sleep it off.

I gave it up after that and bought a pair of slippers.


Claire said...

I never could put salt on a slug - i tried it once and had nightmares. The beer thing used to work though, but it has to be a bucket with tall sides, so the tipsy slugs can't climb out.

I have a question. There's a young lady I know who would love to eat ice-cream again, but when it melts in her mouth it is too runny for her to swallow safely. Do you know of any brands of frozen desserts which stay thicker once they're are melted? I think maybe sorbet stays thicker. Thank you x

Tia said...

I'm not sure - but have you tried frozen yoghurt? If you took a regular thick yoghurt and froze it down I'd think it would stay thicker as it melted maybe? I haven't tried it myself though.

One thing which does stay thick is frozen instant whip/Angel delight.I make it up slightly thicker than the instructions and then freeze it down. Only problem is it sets VERY solid when it is frozen, so you need to let it soften quite a bit before you try it unless you can chew well.


Robyn said...

funny you should mention it..we have a slug problem in our garden...and snails..i caught martijn acting like a 7 year old boy by putting a snail in our water feature on an "island" to see if it would swim or drown....i rescued it...yes i know but i dont do the stick a pin in either...

a friend says coffee granules work...but then you wouldnt waste your coffee on a slimy creature would you :)

Tia said...

Ooo wonder if old coffee grounds would work? I can always use another reason to drink more proper coffee.



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