Dwarf beans, which have been attacked by slugs.
GARDENINGTHE almost unprecedented 40 days and 40 nights’ rain (or so it seemed) has had even the most mild-mannered gardener tearing hair.
It had Carol Jaye, torch in hand, seeking out slugs in her greenhouse 'with murderous intent’.
It had Keith Hopkins, at Sandlands, bemoaning his lost runner beans and it had me looking at a decimated row of dwarf beans, which seem to be the gastropods’ meal of choice.
The wet weather has meant the ring of seaweed technique of keeping slugs and snails away is not effective. It has leached the saline out and kept it 'plastic’. That means the slugs and snails slide over the top when they would normally be deterred by the rough edges if not the salt.
It had me again looking at nematodes, an organic slug control, which until relatively recently were on the expensive side — but which are now affordable.
The creatures’ life cycle gives protection from slugs for up to six weeks, which has got to be good value for under a tenner for 40 square metres of coverage. Double the cost and you can cover 100 square metres.
Unwins has just started to actively market Nemaslug Slug Killer, which it says testing has shown to be easy to apply, safe and effective.
Nemaslug contains millions of naturally occurring microscopic nematodes that kill slugs both above and below ground.
It is completely harmless to birds, hedgehogs and other wildlife as well as pets and children.
But try not to think too much about how they kill the slugs, eating their way out of the host while preserving it alive for as long as possible.
For nematodes to be active, the ground temperature needs to be above 5C and for that reason they can be kept in the fridge for a few weeks before use.
• For more details, see www.unwins.co.uk