I saw courgette plants offered on our local Freecycle and so asked to have a couple and here they are. Courgettes are great plants, easy to grow and not much needed in order to look after them. Their flowers, which turn into the courgette) look great which has meant in previous years when we have planted them in with flowers, they have not looked out of place. The last time we had courgette plants (which I beleive may have come off Freecycle too!) we managed to harvest quite a number off each one and kept us going for a number of weeks. We hope then for the same success this year.
They are now planted in a small strip of soil where we had the giant sunflowers last year. This year none of our giant sunflower seed left over from last year managed to germinate, which is a bit sad. Although I have noticed a couple of small sunflower seedlings in the soil coming up from where birds must had dropped seed last year and it has survived to this year, so a great little bit of self re-seeding going on there.
So both planted in, watered, and one or two slug pellets sprinkled down to stop the slugs and snails. Now, I feel a bit bad about all this slug pellet business that goes on in my garden and should I drop my head in shame I do wonder. Certainly anyone using such chemical is looked at slightly differently by some. Those who sprinkle the bright blue pellets on their garden try to do it without the neighbours noticing. While doing it, I feel a bit guilty as it cannot be good for anyone (least of all the slugs!). The pest that is slugs and snails comes as number one enemy it seems (closely followed by the cat) and I remember the number of times at the old allotment where I days planting would turn into nothing overnight as the slugs and snails chomped their way through.
Last year I tried sprinking a thich layer of grit around plants which seemed to work to a degree but it seemed that once the first slug or snail had tried to cross and failed, others followed their slimy tracks which the slime seemed to serve as a bridge for others to follow over. A bit like a group of slugs sacrificing a slug friend they didn’t like to be the one who’s slime would let the others cross. So it didn’t really work unless you reapplied each day. A good favorite I remember my grandparents using a lot was crushed up egg shells. They must had eaten a lot of eggs as it took ages for me to collect enough crushed up shell to make a barrier around a plant, and even then they still managed to get through. Another method was to make a barrier using cut up bits of plastic bottle which seemed a good way to re-use rubbish, but again they managed to get through and now I had the problem of lots of pits of plastic bottle which eventualy got mixed up with the soil.
So chemical warfare it is for the time being, but I have pondered many years to deploy the nemotodes! It must be the most organic and natural way to fight these things, to let loose a whole army of this tiny things (300,000 per square meter it seems) and you are sorted, it says on the packet. This treatment does not seem too expensive either, and more and more people I know are using them so it surely must soon be my turn too.