Now's the time to slug it out!
The slug and snail population is really prolific at the moment. A couple of wet years has caused an explosion – and there are some monstrously large beasts out there!
We are slap bang in the middle of spring, and these mangy molluscs are breeding like there’s no tomorrow. Controlling them now will mean fewer will be eating our hostas and marigolds (which are the favourite sources of food for these pests), and then surviving to overwinter and cause an even bigger problem next year.
If you have a garden full of such soft, green plants, as well as seedlings, strawberries, potatoes, and most other vegetables, you really should do something to protect them.
Baits are the only really successful controls (in my experience), and my favourite at the moment is Eraza Slug & Snail Killer. Yes, it’s another of those greeny-blue pellets, but there are several important reasons I use it
First off, Eraza pellets remain showerproof (under normal weather conditions), so you don’t need to re-apply the next day after an evening of rain. It does make sense, however, not to apply the pellets if rain is forecast!
Second, each Eraza pellet contains smaller (but more) particles of metaldehyde, the compound that kills slugs. This makes it easier for the slugs and snails to consume, so more effective as a bait – the boffins reckon it is five times more effective than other, similar baits. In turn, this means you use less of it, and therefore it is better for the environment.
And third, with Eraza bottles, it is very difficult to over-apply the pellets (the biggest crime committed by gardeners is to put too many pellets down – which is simply a waste!). The makers of Eraza have designed a rather innovative ‘scatter cap’ which restricts pellet flow and promotes even distribution and correct and responsible usage.
Gardeners with crops planted in rows should apply the pellets before the vegetable canopy meets across the row. The plants are smaller (and more vulnerable to slugs) and you won’t get the pellets trapped in foliage.
Final tip: Spread your pellets thinly. Hold the bottle, cap down, and shake to scatter pellets thinly. The ideal quantity to put down is just around 60 pellets per square metre. How often have you seen layers of pellets spread out almost like a mulch around plants?