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Slugs and Dahlias

May 28, 2015

Hmm. The dahlia plants were looking very healthy in their 3 L pots with lots of green leaf showing after the tops had been carefully nipped out to increase bushiness. So two weeks ago I planted them in the cutting garden on the allotment and covered the row with a fleece cloche to protect from a late frost. To my dismay when I removed the cover last weekend there was nothing to be seen.  A gentle forking around the row found the tubers but covered in slime.  I brought them home, made sure they were free of slugs and re-planted in fresh compost in a polystyrene box placed up high on a metal garden table. They are sprouting again and will be left to establish for a good four weeks.  As soon as there’s a period of dry weather I’ll plant them out once more and surround them with crushed eggshells and coffee grounds which I’m saving daily.

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If ever proof was needed that copper bands round the top of pots  protect against slug damage then here it is. Un-blemished Hosta sieboldiana var.elegans in the peak of health in a neighbour’s garden.

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And they don’t appear to have a slug and snail problem in Millennium Square in the centre of Bristol where several huge raised beds are full to bursting with allotment veg and strawberries.  It’s an inspiring project and below are three of the beds brimming with healthy produce …

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And on the edge of the square was this fantastic pickup loaded to the hilt with pollinating and edible plants from Cleeve Nursery nr Bristol…

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The nursery is taking part in the alternative garden festival http://www.chelseafringe.com drawing attention to the importance of  pollinating insects for our food security. The selection of plants chosen demonstrate how easy it is to encourage vital pollinating insects into our gardens and public spaces.

Sambucus nigra is looking gorgeous with the blackish-purple leaves making a lush back-drop to the soft pink flowers. I’m tempted to pick the flowers for elderflower cordial imagining it will be pink and sparkly…

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Cut flowers from the allotment this week include cow parsley, ranunculus, an alpine euphorbia (unidentified but low-growing and self-seeding) and Phacelia tanacetifolia.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2015 11:04 am

    It is so disheartening when all our hard work is spoiled by slugs, snails or other pests. Would it be worth trying to treat the ground where the dahlias are going or put slug traps nearby, not in the area. I am fortunate that although there is a healthy population of slugs and snails here there also seem to be predators who eat them; I often find empty snail shells intact but never see what is eating them. Good luck with the second batch.

  2. May 28, 2015 11:24 am

    Hi Christina

    Yes I’d be prepared to put trays of beer near the re-planted dahlias (too costly to use that method everywhere). I had no problem growing dahlias last year (and it was my first time) but I think I planted them quite late.Timing is all with slugs and snails especially anticipating the weather.

  3. May 28, 2015 8:08 pm

    The slugs are worse than ever this year but I find coffee grounds really do work.

  4. May 28, 2015 9:06 pm

    I’m determined to get these dahlias to flower so I’ll try a combination of beer traps and coffee grounds and egg shells and report back.

  5. June 1, 2015 8:22 pm

    The slugs had a go at one of my Hostas while it was still just a couple of shoots. So I have purchased the copper bands to try around my patio pots. Looking at yours I should have bought them sooner, They are in great condition.

  6. June 2, 2015 1:32 pm

    It’s quite amazing especially since the pot sits next to an old brick wall where there’s plenty of scope for slugs and snails to hangout.

  7. June 2, 2015 10:07 pm

    The only sure fire solution to slugs is to go out at night and pick them off – but then life is surely to short to go slug hunting when it’s more pleasant to be indoors with a glass of wine! I tried wool pellets last year and that seemed to deter them from eating my beans. Before the pellets, whole plants would be reduced to a stalk overnight; afterwards, slime trails but intact (mostly) plants. Worth a small trial bag perhaps? Good luck whatever you decide!

  8. June 3, 2015 6:48 am

    Yes a neighbour does that with snails and slugs. The sound of the shells hitting the side of the bucket can regularly be heard around midnight. I smile and pull the duvet further over my head.

  9. June 3, 2015 9:49 pm

    After a week or so of use I’m finding the coffee works well to begin with but loses its potency after three or four days. It needs topping up. Perhaps I just need to go for stronger beans!

  10. June 4, 2015 9:38 am

    I’ll try it on a packet of strength 5 bought by mistake but drinkable in a small cup with cream added!!!

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