The warm, sometimes damp weather at this time of year is a slug’s paradise – so now is the time to get your slug defences well and truly up. The slimy molluscs top the list of gardeners’ most-hated pests nearly every year as they munch their way through tender, just-planted seedlings and turn young dahlias and sunflowers into lace doilies.
Keep particularly vulnerable plants, like seedlings, up on shelves in pots where you can inspect them each evening to make sure no slugs lurk under pot rims. Damp evenings are the best time to go on a slug hunt. Concentrate on plants they particularly enjoy, like hostas and lettuces, and pick them off. Encouraging natural predators like ground beetles, frogs, birds and hedgehogs helps keep numbers down too.
Surround with thick barriers such as garlic granules to deter hopeful gastropods, and fix copper rings around plants in containers. Smearing petroleum jelly thickly around the rims also stops them climbing in. As a last resort, wildlife-friendly, ferric phosphate slug pellets won’t harm wildlife or pets and are safe to scatter sparingly among vulnerable plants. You’ll find everything you need for the annual battle of the slime right here at the garden centre in Poynings.