Slug traps and wood ash (397)
by Max Akroyd
Despite the availability of a range of excellent Breton ales, beer isn’t a commodity seen very often chez-nous. If there’s any spare money it tends to be ‘invested’ in excellent wines available at low prices – France is a cheap option if you’re a cheese-loving alcoholic, but expensive for the rest of us.
Anyway, if I did have beer I wouldn’t share it with a devious, no-good, slimy mollusc intent on depriving me of my chance of subsistence. This is in no way a reference to contenders in the forthcoming election in the UK, but to the bizarre practice of some organic gardeners of filling their slug traps with beer. It’s just not going to happen here. Having had only partial success with organic slug pellets, I’ve been on the look out for an alternative snail killer. The ducks are patrolling the polytunnel/greenhouse area very effectively but the field is largely undefended…
No more! It’s not often that someone’s been excited by a bucket of pig food accidentally left out in the rain, but I was that someone when I noticed how many slugs and snails had converged on this soggy but simple mix of wheat and water. All that was left for me to do was find enough containers to replicate this outcome on the field and to inspire the boys to engage wth me in this wild beast hunt. Not difficult. An additional benefit is the ability to pick up said receptacles and deliver them to the omniverous farm animals to fight over. I’m sure the love of snails isn’t just confined to French pigs and hens.
The rest of the morning was spent tending to my peas and broad beans. Despite the attentions of the pigeons, the peas are flourishing. Not a word I’d ascribe to the broad beans. I’ve been spraying them with seaweed solution previously and today spread wood ash among them. But, sown in October, these are rugged and ragged survivors of the deep freeze of winter and my questionable decision to plant them at the windiest point of the field. I replaced the predictable casualties with a freshly sown, small variety called ‘Greeny’.
You may regard this as an ad hoc, overdue contingency arrangement. I’m calling it a successional planting.