Friday, August 1, 2014

2014 August (First Edition)

 \The slugs are having TOO much fun -
so it is time to pull some defenses!

 Ok, Ok, Ok … its not exactly MY OWN secret weapon, but it has been used in gardens for many years and yet it is rarely mentioned for slug prevention  I feel it is time to reintroduce it to my followers, and to my garden!  It goes back to between 1836 or 1837 and it was originally used in dynamite production!  What could this possibly be?  Its known as: Diatomaceous Earth!  I'll let the hyper link on those words do the talking about what it is.  In this age of Bee decline this Diatomaceous Earth is one option.

It works on the principal of dehydration, and thus effects ANY smaller non-vertebrae creature that my come across it,  This includes earthworms that provide some of the nutrient base for the plant and offers ventilation for roots and rhizomes of the plants.  In a round about way might effect spiders who also help stop some of the unwanted pests nor wanted by OTHER gardeners.  ER wait a moment … maybe this isn't the way to go … Ummm.

It would be great if I could use things like: crushed egg shells, coffee grounds, or even beer traps for slugs as they are seen as effective for slug control.  As my garden space is rented I have to deal with a management company that views those approaches as messy, smelly, and unsightly (no we can't have those).

There's also a commercial product known as "Sluggo", from what I have read and understand this product works on the same principle as Diatomaceous Earth, again dehydration.  The problem of the earthworm foraging for microbes on top of the ground during the night may again be affected by this product.  Sluggo is also not wise for other curious small mammals like dogs, squirrels, or ... children.

IT comes down to which evil do I use.  In the end … when one reads through a wide range of literature (1)Metaldehyde pellets seem to be the 'safest' since these poison the slug but seem to leave earthworms alone.  As with any agricultural pesticide, fertilizer or poison one has to take precautions to protect pets, children and other animals that are NOT the target of the product.  But wait … the Metaldehyde pellets also have a inert agent (sometimes listed and sometimes not listed on the container) to activate the iron in them.  So were back to square one - right?

Not necessarily.  There is one more option.  This option does take some diligence, and NO I am not even going to suggest to hand picking them off - NO!  If you mix a ratio solution of ammonia and water and spray it carefully in your garden you can get the 'younger slugs'.  Slugs roam the surface of your garden so only gently moisten the surface.  Ratios between 1:10 to 1:20 work [edited 8/1/15]… keep in mind the lower the ratio the more careful you need to be around the plants as ammonia burn is never fun for the plant.  The mixture needs to have direct contact to the slugs to be effective.

So we got a plan to deal with the younger slugs.  So how do you get the larger ones?  Slug Boards!  Just want is a slug board?  It is a scrap piece of lumber that is about 1x3x8 inches/2.54x7.62z20.32 centimeters.  You place them on the ground in the garden, and then inspect them each morning.  You probably need one for every 3ft.  If the slugs are there you can 'a salt' them, and then wash them off in lightly soapy water, and put them back.  This process will need to be repeated for 2 to 3 weeks until the slags are 'not seen'.  You may want to repeat every few months just to keep things in check.

Some things to remember at this point.  1) Salt and Slugs is as bad as Salt and Hosta: salt is poisonous to both!  That's why you can't just use salt, or salt water in a hosta garden.  2) Slugs are hermaphrodites.  If you miss that last slug, and they will be back; and we all know you can't get all the slugs.  So stay diligent.  If you have an industrial sized sprayer you might even want to spray your lawn down with a 1:10 to 1:20 of ammonia and water - slugs hide there too!


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The Hosta Report

It has been a fast 15 days for me, so this report will be short, clean, and fast.  At first glance there's nothing really new, but if I look more closely I find that:

Blue Mammoth's flowers have faded.

Chartreuse Wiggles has found it's way into my garden - with a scape at that!

Some of Dixie Chickadee's new friends are starting to leaf out.

Gemstone's flowers are being productive.

Golden Tiara's flowers have faded.

Itsy Bitsy Spider seems to have new leaves.  Exciting to watch.

June has sent up a scape.  This for me is not an annual occurrence for this garden.

Little Devil has a few more reinforcements.

'venusta's flowers have also faded.

Xanandu Empress Wu is being eaten by slugs like it was candy, as are many of the plants on the west side of the garden,  Help needs to come fast. 

Sum and Substance's scapes ought to be coming soon.  Last year there were four; hoping for eight this year!

Where flowers have faded there's seed pods.  Last year I had none.  Will be trying to save Blue Mammoth's.

I will be back in 15 days with more stuff to tell.

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