Monday, 30 May 2016

Harvest Monday, slug control, and some allotment pics

I wish I'd looked ahead on the weather forecast.....the next few days are expected to be very windy with heavy any plants that have managed to avoid the slugs will now get a battering. I've still got a few things that need planting out though, so those will wait until the weather improves. Some of them are showing signs of distress (used up the nutrients in the compost), so I'll pot those into bigger pots. I'm also re-sowing some squashes (six have been eaten) and beans.
Slug control
Last night I went into the back garden around midnight with a light and *ugh* I could not believe how many slugs were around, it's a surprise any plants survive at all. I'd seen a comment on a blog (I think either CJ or Shaheen's) where someone mentioned using a yeast and sugar mixture to draw the slugs out, similar to a beer trap. I had an old pack of yeast and some old sugar, so gave this a go. I wasn't sure about the quantities so just added a couple of shakes of each (the sugar feeds the yeast) and mixed it up with a bit of water. And, hey it works! It only seems to work for a day though, the following day I saw slugs going into the tub and then climbing back out (rather than drowning) so I presume it needs topping up. But it was definitely effective for a while, and as its using up old stuff I already had, that's a bonus too. I've found an old pack of bran in the cupboard that's meant to be good as a slug barrier (they eat it and swell up, a bit grim), but I'll save that for when the wet weather's passed and use it round my remaining lettuces. Plus I've spent goodness knows how long checking hidey places and trying to reduce the number of hidey places (most annoying was actually under chunks of manure around the squash plants...after keep seeing more slug damage but not finding the critters I had a sudden thought that they might be under there, lovely and warm and moist for them. They've been dealt with and the manure broken up smaller. You live and learn eh).
The harvests
On to more pleasant news, I've had a bit more variety on the harvests this week...
I was given a couple of looong asparagus spears by my friend that I got the horse manure with, which went into a noodle soup
My self-seeded chard from last year has started putting on quite a bit of new growth and I've made a couple of decent harvests. I'll let most of them go to seed again this year to save sowing any myself.
I made flapjack again, this time using some rhubarb but with a few defrosted strawberries from the freezer (the last tub of them, but not to long until this year's first ones). I'd started putting the topping on when I remembered to take a pic.
In the back garden I had a couple of old rocket plants that put on some fresh spring growth, so I picked all of it, to make space for lettuce plants. We had some in a salad and I've used the rest to make a pesto.
Every year I think 'I must try making blackcurrant leaf tea'. Well, today I finally did it. It's really easy, I just ripped up three lovely fresh leaves and steeped them in boiling water for a couple of minutes. The flavour was actually quite nice and refreshing, so I'll give that another go.
We've also had a couple of nice harvests of lettuce leaves (no pics) from the ones I've been growing in modules...some have been planted into the back garden (by now some of which have been slugged or catted) and some are still waiting to go out. Well, at least if none survive we've had a couple of pickings...better than last year when my direct-sowings came to nothing.

On the allotment...

Jan came and helped a couple of times this weekend and took some lovely photos whilst we were there.


Loads of strawberry flowers
Soon be time for those sweet fruits
Early potatoes already in flower. The plot's very dry at the moment so I gave these a water as flowering time is meant to be when the tubers bulk-up. Instead of earthing-up (to prevent green potatoes) I use dried grass clippings as a mulch.
Here's my Saskatoon bush
The flowers have been and gone, but masses of berries are following on behind. The gooseberries and currant bushes are quite fruit-laden too.
Back at home I've finished potting on the tomatoes and have 18 plants altogether (I gave 11 spare plants to some friends)
Lettuce, dill and coriander still to plant out (when the weather's calmed down, if they haven't bolted by then)
I've potted-on all my brassicas as I'm not ready to plant these out yet either (the beds and nearby plot edges need clearing and are no doubt harbouring lots of slugs)

And Jan snuck a pic of the plot (about two- thirds down) with me weeding one of the beds. I'm just starting to feel like the plot is coming under control (ish) so if it wasn't for the slugs and the weather I'd be happy (ish)!

Thanks for reading this week. I'm linking in as usual with Harvest Monday hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres


  1. Does looking at the weather forecast matter at all - it doesn't seem like they can even get 24 hours in advance correct. :) Let's hope the wind doesn't do too much damage to your new transplants.

    Looks like you are definitely in for a good strawberry crop with all of the flowers!

    1. Hi Susie, ha ha, yep the weather forecasts are a bit hit and miss aren't they. But they were right about the storms this week, we even had some thunder and lightning. It's a nice sunny day today though.

      We will definitely be ok for fruit this year! Now I've just got to keep the veggies alive.

  2. I wish I'd looked at the weather forecast too, I fear I will lose a few more things. And no doubt the slugs haven't finished yet. I need to sow more cucumbers, most of mine died in the hail storm the other weekend. And the germination on my peas and beans has been dreadful, not sure why. I love the idea of blackcurrant leaf tea, I have more blackcurrant leaves than I can shake a stick at, I will give it a try. CJ xx

    1. Hi CJ, I think most of my plants survived the storms but some are looking a bit worse for wear. I'm going to sow a few extras too I think, just in case. I'm sure I'll squeeze them in somewhere anyway.

      I've had the blackcurrant tea a few times, makes a nice change from the usual drinks.

  3. You have lots of good stuff happening at the plots. I've never tried a saskatoon, though I've heard of them. It's been a bad year for slugs here. But it's funny, I have them in the beds around the greenhouse but further down in the main garden I hardly ever see them.

    1. Thanks Dave, I'd recommend Saskatoon for an easy to look after fruit. You just have to let the berries get really dark to get a nice flavour, so might be an issue in areas where birds are troublesome.

      I think we're gradually getting the slugs under some kind of management, definitely less around now than last week though they're still damaging transplants a bit. I'm sowing more back-ups! And as the weather is hopefully improving, the new plants should grow away quicker than the current lot.

  4. The battle against slugs is a never-ending one - and I think most people feel it's not one we can win. Your plot is certainly full of good stuff right now, but I'm sure it would benefit from some warmer weather. It's times like this that we all wish for a poly-tunnel, isn't it? (completely slug-proof, preferably!)

    1. Hi Mark, yes it does feel a bit like I'm on repeat, checking for slugs most days! But hopefully once the plants get bigger they'll be less attractive to munchers. Ideally I'd have potted them all on again before planting out but I don't have the space for all those pots (and it uses lots of compost).
      Yes a polytunnel (slug-proof) would be brilliant!

  5. Ah slugs - always a problem no matter where you live, it seems, as is unpredictable and destructive weather. I doubt there are many other hobbies that require as much patience and resilience as gardening!

    I always feel so good when I finally try something that's been on the "to try" list for a while (it is a LONG list!). That tea leaf spoon is so interesting - I've not seen anything like it before.

    1. Hi Margaret, yeah the slugs are enjoying themselves this year. I was a bit keen with some of my earlier plantings out I think!

      Yes I'm pleased to finally get round to trying the berry leaf tea, yum. Ha, yep my list of 'to try' is quite long too. I might try sowing some chickpeas today, but can't decide where.

      I bought the spoon a few years back from a cook shop, as someone gave me a tub of speciality tea that I thought I needed a strainer for (though turned out to just be granules) so it's nice to be using it at last.

  6. I think that whatever weapons we use we are destined to lose the battle against slugs and snails. Evolution has been kind to them.

    1. Heh, yep that's true sue. I'd quite like chickens someday, I reckon they would help with the slug problem, for a bit of targeted scratching around.

  7. Ahh your allotment is looking lovely and isn't it really exciting to have all those little plants ready and waiting to grow! I have lots of strawberry flowers too, can't wait for the fruit!
    Hope the weather has been kind to your plants and not given them too much of a bashing :)

    1. Thanks sh-Susie, nice to hear from you. Mmm fresh strawbs....not too long to wait now.

      I think most of my plants just about survived...they're covered in sandy soil splash though, I should probably clean them off. It's sunny today so hopefully will get down there this afternoon :)