Attacks on The Plantlets

Readers will recall this pic:

2014-05-25 17.56.38

The 2 litre pop bottles (with the base cut off) are supposed to protect the plantlets against predation from slugs and such. However, I have been surprised to see that they have not been working universally – some of the plantlets have had their foliage gnawed. A couple have been stripped. The cold, damp weather has not helped because the plantlets fare better in warm soil. By that I mean a soil temperature of around 20Β°c at least. At low soil temperatures, the plants will not die, but nor will they develop quickly.

Today I decided to remove the bottles. If they do not protect the plantlets, then they serve little purpose.

Around 12.30 am, I ventured out on this windless and quite balmy night (comparatively speaking!) with a torch and inspected the plantlets. Painful though it is, I must report that I found baby slugs and a couple of other types of insect (something like small centipedes) on the leaves of several plants. Damnation! How did the baby slugs get there? Is it possible that they were already in the soil? We must remember that we had NO frost at all this winter.

These setbacks are painful and rather disheartening. But, as with battling with the tobacco control industry, we do not give up. We fight on. Thankfully, I had a dozen plants in reserve still in pots. I have used half of them. A few days of really sunny weather would make all the difference.

It makes you wonder how farmers manage to grow anything at all. Why are there not countless billions of slugs in the land all over the world? There again, perhaps the reason that we can grow wheat is because slugs don’t like that particular plant! They certainly don’t seem to like common perennials.

Further reports will follow in due course.

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19 Responses to “Attacks on The Plantlets”

  1. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Hmm… maybe the little centipedes were there to eat the little sluglets?

    :>
    MJM

    • Junican Says:

      The only slug predators that I am aware of are hedgehogs. There were no hedgehogs inside the bottles.

      • michaeljmcfadden Says:

        http://www.stretcher.com/stories/01/010709n.cfm

        “Many natural predators will eat slugs. Providing a habitat for them will help build their populations so that you do less work in the long run. Slug predators include:

        Ground beetles – Like to live under wooden boards during the day.

        Frogs – They prefer damp sites & a quarter of their diet may comprises slugs.

        Birds – blackbirds and thrushes, robins, starlings, rooks and crows, jays, ducks, sea gulls and owls will eat slugs”

        and

        http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/facts-about-slugs-and-how-to-kill-garden-slugs.htm

        recommends toads ‘n snakes. It may be a bit late (or may not) but breeding toads, small snakes, and ground beetles might be worthwhile! You could devise a fence (?maybe plexiglass?) around the plants to keep them in if you didn’t have too many.

        Or invite a young relative over and pay them a penny (hmm… maybe better make that a nickel) apiece for each slug they collect from your garden for you!

        As a bonus, gathering the slugs in this nontoxic way will set you right up for a hearty pot o’ Slug Stew!

        πŸ™‚
        MJM

  2. audreysilk Says:

    Yes, my plants get those centipede-like things too. Have not been able to tell if they do any damage or just like to hang out there. Nevertheless, and even taking MJM’s thought into consideration, I squish ’em when I see them.

    But that’s the least of my reply to you. I hope you’ll feel you have company (lessening the emotional distress) when I tell you this story that, in its own way, goes you one better…

    Today I put the first of my indoor seedlings into the outdoor buckets. I had already finished doing 10 more when I looked back at the first few I’d done to see that one had already had half its best leaf nibbled away!! A dastardly tobacco bud worm was working on it ! ROFL… I couldn’t believe it! (I figure it had to have been in the dirt and I had brought it to the top when I turned the soil). Can you imagine??? Well, I squished him too . Let’s hope for no family coming to the funeral.

    • Junican Says:

      Thankfully, I don’t think that we suffer from bud worms – yet. But, like smoking prohibition, I have no doubt that they are hitching lifts across the Atlantic as we speak.
      I too squash slugs and snails. They show no mercy so neither do I.

  3. J Brown Says:

    Welcome to the wonderful world of gardening. Of course slugs are already in your soil. The bottles only protect your plants from wind – as a matter of fact, with the top of the bottle not cut off – it somewhat protects them from rain and moisture, as well – either leave the top on to create a mini ‘environment’ where the moisture cannot escape, or cut it off so that the rain can get into where the little plants are. While I do attempt to be ‘organic’ when growing my tobacco and vegetables, I have lost the war to slugs, and use slug pellets. I have found that, despite all you read, nothing else works – pans of beer, copper pots, etc. – are all a dismal failure. Interestingly, if you throw slugs into a bucket to ‘drown’ them, they can actually live long enough to climb out. The only recourse for this is using a 55 gallon drum – which becomes quite disgusting…..:)

    • Junican Says:

      I have the bottle tops so I could put them on if I wanted to. In the past, it didn’t seem to matter.
      In the last two years, the bottles seemed to work really well. The only difference this year that I am aware of is the lack of frost this winter. I wonder if that has helped the baby slugs to make an early start.
      So, for the next couple of weeks, I am going to be outside with my torch every night, a couple of hours after dark, to see what I can find.

  4. garyk30 Says:

    Hmmmmm, that is a lot of 2L bottles.

    Does red wine or beer come in those things now; or, did you really drink that much of the(bad for your health) sugary drinks? πŸ™‚

    • Junican Says:

      I had this idea three years ago so some of the bottles are old ones. Actually, I do not drink the coke – it is my daughter who likes diet coke (with her whiskey) and gets through at least three bottles a week (coke, not whiskey). I saved some over a period of time. I just chucked them behind the garage.

  5. Rose Says:

    Junican, it depends how ruthless you want to be.

    Nemaslug Slug

    “Nemaslug contains millions of naturally occurring microscopic nematodes that kill slugs both above and below ground. Completely harmless to birds, hedgehogs and other wildlife as well as pets and children.”
    http://www.marshalls-seeds.co.uk/nemasys-nemaslug-slug-killer-40sq-m-pack-pid2507.html

    The way the nematodes kill the slugs is too sickening to describe and for my money knocks anti-tobacco’s graphic warnings into a cocked hat.

    • Junican Says:

      I suspect that it would be too slow in the present situation. Worth keeping in mind though.

      • michaeljmcfadden Says:

        Rose, thou’rt a researcher par excellence! I looked a bit for buggy predators but hadn’t found the Nemaslug! Junican, you should get them: they might start having an effect *very* quickly, and could certainly help you out for later in the year!

        πŸ™‚
        MJM

  6. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Junican, do your slubs look like this?

  7. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Or like this??

  8. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Or like THISSSSSSSSSSSS?????????????

    If it’s either of the last two, I’d recommend being kinda careful….

    :>
    MJM

  9. Junican Says:

    Thanks MjM. You sound like a hysterical anti-smoking Zealot. Damn it! Slugs are tiny little creatures, just like smokers. They do not wish to do harm. To them, tobacco plantlets are yummy. That is sad, since, unbeknown to them, it is equivalent to raiding the King’s ‘counting house’. Erm …. Sorry – not acceptable. Raiding the King’s counting house is a CAPITAL offence. Also, ignorance is no defence. Slugs and snails are the ultimate terrorists. In fact, they are much like tobacco control. Their objective is to destroy for their own gratification. In those circumstances, THE PEOPLE have no option but to squash to Zealots.

  10. audreysilk Says:

    My first year (5 or 6 years ago now) I planted “late.” Like end of June and the rest early July. All I remember was how fast and wonderfully they ALL grew. No issues at all. Then I got cocky and started earlier and earlier every year — figuring the rule that as long as frost is no longer an issue there’s no problem. Last year I started in April, thinking I’d get ahead of the game even better. Well, frost was no problem as I said but they remained small until practically June! And in that time I battled the slugs (and squirrels who would dig out my little plant as they dug into my buckets to hide their peanuts) every day. (BTW, I always seed at least 100 reserve.) This year I said to myself, “what are you crazy?,” and waited until this week to put them out (thus too started seedlings much later). The warmer weather makes them grow faster and beyond the reach of slugs (then it’s only the bud worms to look out for). So I’m hoping for a repeat of my very first growing season where the growing outruns the amount of damage the slugs can do.

    But the comforting part is knowing I’m not the only crazy person out in their yard at 2am with a flashlight, hunting down the dastardly buggers.

    • Junican Says:

      One must to bed, but it is gratifying to know that one is not alone!

      I see the slugs as the likes of Bloomberg. They should be exterminated by insecticide or whatever. But we must remember that Bloomberg had his bought supporters, who claim ‘race’ as a reason to persecute anyone who disagrees.

      What is vastly important to us all is to dispute the idea of “One World Government”. Therein lies the potential for massive corruption.

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