Slamming slugs and snails
This spring has been a bit of a roller coaster.
Fluctuating temperatures and high moisture levels can help pests thrive.
Among them are the Gastropoda or gastropods, more commonly known as snails and slugs.
Active during wet weather these pests can do a lot of damage to young plants, while they tend to live within the foliage of vegetables that are ready for harvest.
Those looking for a non-poisonous way of dealing to the critters that will not affect pets and wildlife, should try Quash.
The commercial iron-based product comes in pellet form and can be safely sprinkled around seedlings and other plants that need protection from slugs and snails.
The pellets contain a lure and the pests eat it and die because they cannot handle iron.
A similar home-made bait can be mixed up using bran as the carrier, yeast as the lure and iron sulphate or iron chelate as the control. It’s easy, inexpensive and safe.
The yeast lure idea is behind the old dish or jar of beer sunk in the ground trick. Irresistibly attracted, presumably the gastropods party down and drown.
Copper is another element fatal to slugs and snails.
Sprinkle a little untreated sawdust around seedlings and and spray a mixture of Wallys Liquid Copper with Raingard added.
The slugs and snails will not go over the copper so plants can grow safely.
It can also be sprayed directly wherever the slimy critters are found. To trap them, lay slats of ply on the soil where slugs will hide during the day. Make up a spray of one part bleach and one part water in a trigger sprayer. Sometime during the day, fold back the ply to expose the slugs and spray.
Re-lay the slats to collect more slugs overnight.
This also works to control populations of wood lice or slaters.
Rust on garlic leaves appears to be a problem this season.
The rust limits the amount of energy the plant can absorb from the sun, affecting the forming bulbs and limiting their size.
This is annoying as home-grown garlic is a crop prized for health and
culinary use. Try mixing 1⁄ teaspoon of potassium
4 permanganate into a litre of water with 1mil of Raingard added to spray all the garlic foliage.
The damage already done will remain, but any new foliage should be free of rust. Repeat the dose about a week later.
The alternative to potassium permanganate is Liquid Sulphur. Copper sprays are not effective.
After a couple of those sprays, offset the existing rust damage by giving the foliage a spray of Perkfection and Vaporgard.
The Perkfection builds up the plants’ immune systems and Vaporgard provides a sun screen against UV, allowing the plants to photosynthesise better and gain more growing energy from the sun.
The Vaporgard film further protects the leaves against subsequent rust attacks.
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Snails can cause a lot of damage to young plants if left uncontrolled.