Monday, 16 July 2012

Rain, rain and more rain!

Garden Harvest - potatoes and peas

After a good start to the gardening year we have had nothing but rain, rain and yet more rain here in Caversham. Despite that - or maybe because of it - parts of the vegetable garden are flourishing. Potatoes and peas are doing well as are the herbs and lettuces, but there is only so much salad and lettuce soup I can eat and I am running out of ideas for consuming the abundant greenery!

Tomatoes are slow this year as are the cucumbers. I made the mistake of planting out my cucumber seedlings too early and they were quickly battered to the ground by heavy rainfall. The second batch seem to be doing well now but it will be a late crop this year, if any at all. Surprisingly, the aubergines seem to be surviving and the chilli peppers are racing ahead.

Monsoon conditions of course bring out the slugs and snails but I haven't noticed any appreciable difference in the damage caused compared with previous, drier years. I did spray part of of my vegetable plot with Nemaslug as an experiment, but there doesn't seem to be any difference between the two areas in terms of plant destruction, which has been minimal. It could be that the slugs from the untreated area moved into the treated ground once the nematodes had done their stuff and died or the nematodes infiltrated the unsprayed ground. I also use a number of barrier methods which possibly helped (see 20 Ways to control slugs in the permaculture garden or on the allotment | Permaculture Magazine or maybe the slug and snail predators have been out in force banqueting on the blighters! Whatever the reason, I certainly have not seen the scale of devastation reported in the Transition Culture blog (The Four Slugs of the Apocalypse I'd be interested in hearing what other UK gardeners are experiencing re mollusc infestations.

As an aside, if you have a particular interest in slugs and snails (apart from wanting them off the face of the planet altogether) the Field Studies Council has a number of identification guides including Land snails in the British Isles (2nd edition) - FSC : and the much older (1983)  A field guide to the slugs of the British Isles

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