Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sorting the slugs from the scumbags

This is a public service announcement. Slugs, for the identifying, capture and disposal of.

There are two kinds of slug known to science. They are quite different, and need treating in completely separate ways.

The first kind is slithery, slimy, and brown, black, or grey, sometimes with a tinge of yellow round the edges.

It hides in your flower and vegetable beds, making midnight forays amongst the tender sprouts, which it munches with cavalier disregard for their ownership or intended destination in your finest vase or serving dish.

How to get rid of it without lacing the environment with a cocktail of unpleasant chemicals is a problem that has vexed conscientious gardeners for years, not least Mrs D.

This year she has invested in a gritty sort of porridge with which to dress her sweet peas, in beer traps to entice the little ones to a foamy alcoholic doom, and in a bag of clippings from the fleece of a particularly foul-smelling sheep, which are about as organic as you can get without straddling the console in Bath Abbey.

Results so far are promising, especially from the traps. Although they do seem a bit of a waste of beer.

The other kind of slug is much larger and uglier, and has a passing resemblance to a human being.

It breaks into your allotment at night, forcing a large metal gate off its hinges, and makes off with water butts, composters, storage boxes and wheelbarrows – anything that isn’t locked up and it can easily sell.

It happened to us and our fellow allotmenteers last weekend. The police know about it, but there’s not much they can do because none of the stolen equipment was marked.

So this is the second part of the public service announcement. Do what we did last Sunday: buy a tin of red paint and a small paintbrush, and mark your portable garden property with name, phone number, postcode – anything that will help you identify it if some scumbag nicks it.

Not only that, but it should also cause said scumbag to stop and think twice before nicking it at all.

Because with slugs of every kind, prevention is better than cure.

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