Friday, 10 April 2015

Stag or lesser stag beetle?

I was starting to clear away part of a rotting tree stump at the back of the garden when I found seven or eight of these larvae. I'm not sure if they are the larvae of the stag beetle or lesser stag beetle. They were about 1.5-2 inches long and curled up when they were exposed.

I went off to check my identification guides and when I returned about 10 minutes later to take a closer look they had burrowed back under the remaining rotting wood. Rather than disturb them, I shall keep my eyes peeled and wait for the adults in order to determine which of the two beetles they are. From the information I've found so far I may have to wait at least a year or two if they are stag beetles.

An Easter bouquet

The weather may still be too cold to sow and transplant crops outside but the herbs and wild plants are flourishing. For our Easter meals I gathered the first bouquet of herbs from the garden: garlic chives, chives, mint, lemon balm, ramson leaves, dandelion leaves, fennel and hairy bittercress.

Sunday, 5 April 2015


It's that time of year when the slugs emerge from winter quarters hungry and raring to go. Earth Ways has a timely article on Dealing With Slugs in a Permaculture Garden including a description of the different slugs and which ones are the veggie munchers. I especially like the diagram showing the anatomy of a slug. 

Our garden is now totally out of balance after the removal of bordering trees and fence replacement plus the associated digging. I'm going for a nematode solution supplemented by the bottle beer trap recommended in the article while the imbalance is corrected. We used nematodes several years ago and they did seem to reduce the number of slugs sufficiently to minimise crop damage. I've also tried open beer traps but decided that was not a good idea as the sozzled slugs were quickly gobbled up by other wildlife. Whether or not alcohol is present in the slugs in a sufficient concentration to affect anything that eats them, I don't know, but probably best to err on the side of caution.