Friday, 7 June 2019

Fighting Slugs - Feed And Fortify

#### This is a collaborative post ####

Normally when I garden I keep a good equilibrium between my plot and nature but this year nature seems to be winning, and by some margin.

Rabbits keep sneaking in and eating from the ground, pigeons devour from above, but my biggest enemy this year is the slugs from below. They are without mercy and seem to have decided that I can have nothing left when I plant out certain crops. 
I'm trying everything to battle them. The sheep's wool I've used in the past works a bit, although the other day I was doing a "slug hunt" and had to pick a few slugs right off the wool, so they can't be as bothered by it as I would have liked. 

I had been talking about this constant slug battle on twitter and had a thread going with over a  hundred comments when Envii Products got in contact with me to see whether I'd be interested in trying a product. 

Something new to try
Now I've been trying to garden more naturally and slug pellets are the one thing I'm definitely not using, so I was interested in what they had that I could use. I explained that I'm organic and that the children have complete access to the garden unsupervised so it would have to be safe for them as well. 


They suggested Feed and Fortify to meet the criteria I'd set. This product sounded ideal for what we needed, it's based on diatomaceous earth so is completely organic, it also contains iron silicates to feed and improve fertility of the soil. Because of this it's safe to use around pets and children. 

The kids had great fun with this project. And no, the boy can't take a serious photo anymore...
It comes in a pouch and although it's easy to put down using your hands or a simple homemade applicator as it was half term I decided that the kids could invent an applicator for it. They love a craft task and had some great fun thinking up ideas of what they could make. They certainly were inventive with what they came up with and had a great afternoon making them.

"Inventive" But hats off to her, it works well! 
Once they had made them we set to work trying them out. The fact that it's granular means you can see where you've put it and it doesn't get washed away by the first bit of rain. 

My younger daughter made a more simple shaker, but it worked great - just holes in a bottle top!
The girls loved going round protecting the plants, could see where they'd been and they put it down surprisingly evenly. We concentrated on the younger seedlings and ones that the slugs seem to love like the french beans and young brassicas. 


It's early days yet, but so far it's looking good. The plants we've used it round have certainly suffered less slug damage and I've been impressed that after rain it's still there. If it is feeding and strengthening the plants this can only be a good thing as well and will help them stand up to pests as they grow. 

Also although the pouch 400g it's gone a long way, much further than I thought. We have treated quite a few beds and there's still loads left.

I'll keep you posted on how we get on with it. Maybe I will have some lettuce to eat after all! 

What do you like to use against slugs? 

17 comments:

  1. I will be watching this, slugs are a real pest, as I can't stand them, so picking them off by hand is just a no no.

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    1. That slime just doesn't come off your fingers does it! My dads best friend had a slug put in his chips once and I gagged as he told me the story of putting it in his mouth!

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  2. Interesting. Please update on how the Feed and Fortify works. I notice that slugs prefer small and tender vegetables and leave the stronger ones alone. I plant lettuces in large plant pots to deter the slugs and snails. There are lots of slugs and slug eggs in garden soil and they are not in bought compost. Must work out how to make a good potting compost like John Innes number 3. Any one know?

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    1. I think some of the composts are serilised at high temperatures though, but could be wrong. Yeah, I normally put chickens in the garden at certain points and might have to start again to remove the eggs from the plots. The lettuce in a pot is a good idea though, but so far they;ve been having it even in the greenhouse.

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  3. The best solution is to drown them in beer. A few large jar lids with a bit of beer placed around your plantings will become irresistible to the slugs. They will drink their fill and drown in the rest. Works every time.

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    1. I got some bowls the other day and did the beer trick but only caught one slug. He was pretty aggressive when I found him, not a nice drunk. A lot swear by this method though, but doesn't seem to work here, maybe mine are T total?

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  4. Pigeons and rabbits are my main problem by far. With our sandy soil slugs are much less of a problem (I think you’re on clay). I do like hostas though and it only takes one snail or slug to ruin the effect for the rest of the season. I grow these in large pots and inspect them regularly. We get a large crop of walnuts and have kept back the broken shells which I’m using as a top dressing on my hosta pots.

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    1. I call hostas slug food. Might as well feed it straight to them and cut out the middle man here! I know what you mean though a big hole in one looks terrible the rest of the year. Ever eaten the young shoots? Supposed to be tasty.

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  5. I expect you have checked, but just in case you haven't, if the product contains crystalline diatomaceous earth it can cause irritation of the respiratory system. Here in Canada we are required to wear a mask when using it. Long term, unprotected usage can damage the lungs.

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    1. It's in a granular form so no dust. IT says not to breath in the dust from the packet but there was none.

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  6. We are lucky not to have slugs where we live, I presume because of the dryness. DE is great stuff, I sprinkle it around the chicken coup to control bugs. I wear a mask when using DE because of the respiratory risk attached to it.

    Good luck with getting rid of the slugs.

    xTania

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  7. When I had a snail infestation I used Sluggo Snail Bait. It is made of iron phosphate. The pellets last, are non toxic, break down into fertilizer and can be used right up to harvest. Good luck with your trial product. Keep up the good fight, Kev!

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