I’ve made up a new word: Slugduggery. Noun: to use one’s guile against garden molluscs. I’ve been wondering what to call the underhand unscrupulous but necessary pursuit of gastropods and now I know. Tomorrow I’m off to Glastonbury so my slugduggery will have to be kept on hold. As I leave I’m also conscious that the mouse that had whipped off the top of a small row of carrots has now moved on to its second course: the beetroot. You spend all your time worrying about slugs and a mouse slips in under your nose. This is a real test for me because by nature I prefer life to death and traps are not that easy to use. Because traps are indiscriminate you have to set them up under some sort of protective cloche or wire to keep out other creatures like birds, frogs, toads and so on – although how can you ever guarantee to get your target and nothing else? But the garden is looking bereft and incomplete without the fluffy little tops of my carrots and in my absence I don’t want it to become any less gorgeous or productive. I am after all in this to grow crops. My crimson flowered broad bean plants have started to bloom and look fantastic.
I’ve planted them on the recommendation of Chloe Ward. They’re a Heritage Seed Library bean so it’s good to help keep them alive. Before I go away I’ll be making some fresh comfrey piles and recording one more slug watch tomorrow morning. The last few nights have been fairly quiet for slugs. They didn’t even seem very active on the comfrey piles. But the garden still has lots of suprises. Last night there were plenty of moths flying around. I’m a great fan of moths, they are truly beautiful and amazing creatures and only a small handful of the hundreds of moths that are likely to visit our gardens are bad for them. Amongst these are the pea moth. These are active during June and July and if you’re peas are flowering now you should look on the pea leaves for small flat eggs laid singly or in clusters. These hatch out into caterpillars and eat their way into the pods to eat the developing peas. It’s very difficult to get rid of them once inside the pea pods. The best way to avoid them totally is to plant early or late so they are not in flower during June and July. This was impossible for my garden because it wasn’t ready for planting in time. Tonight I’m going to be checking my pea leaves. I don’t consider it a chore. It gets me outside and it’s a lovely evening. I’ll also be cutting some more comfrey, both to keep the slug piles topped up – and for the compost heap – and putting in some larger pea sticks to keep up with pea tendrils. Lastly, I’m afraid, it’s probably going to be the mouse-trap. Urgh!