2021 The Plot Thickens: The Gardening Thread

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  • DormouseDormouse Shipmate
    We have a courtyard, which is home to many, many slugs and snails. We are also trying to grow veggies in pots. Every year we end up with leafless stumps because the slugs & snails are very grateful for our generosity. MrD would happily wage war unto the death on these creatures, but I am of the "every creature deserves a happy life" school of thought, and would prefer to discourage them, rather than go down the route of wholesale slaughter.

    Does anyone know of any effective way to discourage the wee beasties? I read that cucumber slices on aluminium foil gives off some chemical they don't like: all they did was eat the middle of the cucumber slices as an entree before going on to the plants as a main course!

    We are saving our eggshells (although this did nothing to deter them last year) and will be looking for sharp pointy gravel but does any seasoned gardener know of any other tricks? Otherwise it may be porridge oats, which apparently they love, but which makes them swell up and expire. Which I'd rather not be reduced to.
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    I feel the same about nurseries offering aquilegia: it's not planting it you need to worry about - it's stopping its plans for world domination.

    Though I could not get it to grow for me when I was in the Borders! Where I am now it is, as you say, seeking to be the one plant to rule them all - but I am very fond of it.
  • @Dormouse - according to this article from the Guardian (link), eggshell and most of the other organic tricks do not work against slugs and snails, based on RHS research. The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) recommends nematode parasites.

    I will add, I found the article because I had a vague idea about copper tape, and this is what came up when I searched.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    We found that slugs devoured certain things, so for example, French beans, forget it. So, slug pellets it is. We buy ferric phosphate ones, which are labelled organic, hmm.
  • Copper tape didn't work for us, we also resorted to slug pellets.
    Yesterday they had eaten a new dahlia shoot.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Penny S wrote: »
    Yesterday I came across an article by James Wong in which he told of a fashion in Japan and Singapore for dandelion. Gardeners in Singapose find it doesn't do so well in the tropics, and ask for help with it.

    Once when we were visiting Mr F's great-aunt in Ontario, pointed out the dandelions in flower as a Sight. Apparently they are an exotic there.
  • According to RSPB (link to advice on slug control), the only safe slug pellets for wildlife are those made of aluminium sulphate. The iron ones now contain chelated iron which is toxic to dogs and wildlife.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    G. rotundifolum has little pink flowers - quite pleasant. I've got one with very glossy leaves and tiny bubblegum pink flowers that spreads in a way that makes Covid-19 look amateur, but I tolerate it as it's pretty.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Mine seems to have suppressed the ground elder and, to an extent, the vinca.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Bloody hell - be careful, it may be out-compete the cockroaches!

    I've spent my lunchbreak today helping to tidy out the "Town garden" (effectively a large raised bed) that my workplace has taken on. We now have a very tidy bed, my pot of chives has been ceremoniously planted, and mother nature has been busily watering them in. It will be interesting to see how long the interest lasts, hopefully a productive summer will keep people involved.

    I've also bagsed some of the clearings - a couple of pretty weeds that I don't recognise but look as though they'd make good ground cover, and an armful of what I think are welsh onions (ie a perennial non-bulbing onion) - these will be ideal as I struggle to grow ordinary spring onions, I suspect they need more watering than their bulbing cousins.

    Amusingly, water is supplied by an old-fashioned village green style pump.
  • I've spent my lunchbreak today helping to tidy out the "Town garden" (effectively a large raised bed) that my workplace has taken on.

    Do you get one of those signs like you see on roundabouts, saying 'This garden is maintained by AAAAA_EeZeeSkips_Oldham(1992) Ltd' ? :smile:
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Sadly not, though someone a bit more corporate-minded than me is planning on recreating the company logo in flowers!
  • IgnatianIgnatian Shipmate Posts: 29
    Any other fern fans out there?
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    Yup. mine are looking beautiful at the moment, though I'd like more of them
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    Boooooooo. The slugs have been at my radishes and squash. My slug pub very much didn't work. :bawling:
  • I bought some nemotodes for slugs last week so I'm hoping they will help put off the invasion of my newly dug and sown veg patch. Usually I use slug pellets.
    At the weekend I put out my runner beans and sowed courgettes, squash and sunflowers.
  • Going to -3°C tonight. Was a vicious ice storm over the last weekend. Trees crashing under 1/2 inch of ice. All the annual flowers are gone, frozen. The +30°C days earlier in the week had us convinced. Well, the dandelions are quite good anyway. I'm frying them up for breakfasts.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Yikes!
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Not quite such climatic extremes here, but in times past late May in Scotland was frequently the best weather of the year - warm, sunny, verdant, pellucid light: the bridal of the earth and sky.

    This year has been wet and dreich. I was pushing seeds into the sodden ground yesterday and had to give up, my fingers were so cold. At the same time the weeds have taken up the invitation to be as lush as possible (as have the flowers to an extent, but they're not in the same league).
  • That's the kind of gardening story which warms my frozen heart @Firenze!
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Today was something approaching what late May ought to be. I decided to cull the aquilegia as they were overwhelming the bedders I'd planted (the ones that hadn't been gnawed to the ground by slugs).

    I notice that of the wildflowers I put in last year, the only one roaring back is red clover (no sign of the poppies/yarrow/cornflower). 'S ok as clover is a green manure.
  • I wish my aquilegia would grow like weeds.
    The veg patch is all planted/sown up. Today we did a sort out of the wormery and had a full tray of lovely rich soil which we bagged up.
    In further wildlife news, we have tree bumble bees in our bird box.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Our beautiful, huge Rowan tree blew down in the Beast from the East in 2018. In 2019 I found it had had a pup, so I planted it in a pot.

    It‘s doing really well. 🌱💕

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/YE2ew4usDPuZagwv7
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Spotted a field mouse yesterday, foraging for seeds under the bird feeder. The squirrels have discovered that if they hurl themselves at the dispensers they can knock out some of the contents - with the result that the feeder, a slender segmented pole, is somewhat skew whiff. The bottommost section is firmly embedded: I've tried reinforcing it with bamboo rods, it it still leans. Any ideas?
  • CathscatsCathscats Shipmate
    Spent part of the day at the new house, where we will be in reality in three weeks. The garden needs a lot of work, but I did manage to clear most of the triffids out of the greenhouse. Discourage some self-sown sycamores and deal with the biggest of the dandelions. Once I am ther I will love getting it all in order.
    (Weather was most odd: sunny and warm but literally ten yards away was a wall of haar just hanging over the harbour wall.)
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Boogie wrote: »
    Our beautiful, huge Rowan tree blew down in the Beast from the East in 2018. In 2019 I found it had had a pup, so I planted it in a pot.

    It‘s doing really well. 🌱💕

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/YE2ew4usDPuZagwv7

    This is a good thing, Boogie!

    I've been pottering. Various plants are ready to be despatched to various out-laws, things have moved into the gaps, the beetroot seedlings are all on the allotment and under cloches, I've had a bit of a hoe, picked some sparrow grass, and generally been lightly productive. Tomorrow I may have to water some things that are looking a bit peely-wallie (though it may just be that it's been hot, if they look OK in the morning I'll assume that they just don't like the warmth), and if I get time before cricket I intend to wash the latest load of used pots so I can put them away, instead of spending half a day washing them all roundabout March when I need them again!

    Celebrated with al fresco sausage and chips, then sat watching the swifts. You know they're close when you hear the *ZIP!* as they go by!
  • We've just planted a tree in memory of a Good Cat. It was hard to think of something appropriate, so we settled on a dogwood.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    Spotted a field mouse yesterday, foraging for seeds under the bird feeder. The squirrels have discovered that if they hurl themselves at the dispensers they can knock out some of the contents - with the result that the feeder, a slender segmented pole, is somewhat skew whiff. The bottommost section is firmly embedded: I've tried reinforcing it with bamboo rods, it it still leans. Any ideas?

    Sometimes in a skip you can find a bunch of galvanised wire - fine (about 1mm), or a bit thicker (more like 2mm). I haven't worked out what jobs it gets left over from. It's very handy stuff for gardening, and reinforcing things to resist squirrels.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Snails. They have eaten what may be the last few stems of my grandfather's mint, but I have some hope that there is a bit of life in the roots still. They have eaten the cucumber and courgette plants I bought at the garden centre last week. They have reduced the Scarlet Emperor runner beans to mere stems. These were on racks in an uncovered grow house, only accessible by crawling up the metal frame. I had planted out the angelica last night into a pot since the compost it was in was incapable of holding water, and it was wilting - I found a gnawed piece in the youngest stem. I surrounded it with daggy wool and made sure the wilting leaves did not rest on the pot edge, and there were two there on the stems this morning.

    There are weeds galore elsewhere in the garden, and detritus, and debris. They could do a wonderful job reducing all that. But no, attack all the stuff from my birthday vouchers, why don't you?

    I have another courgette plant secured in the car at the moment. And the mint is in the utility room.

    And I have pellets.

    I know why my mother had very large Horlicks jars scattered around the garden full of brine.
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    The stupidity of slugs and snails never ceases to amaze me.
    They eat every scrap of green on the plants they attack, including grinding the growing point completely out of existence.
    Any creature with a scrap of sense would leave that to produce new leaves for another meal - and maybe I could get the odd leaf or two for my dinner!

    I wouldn't mind sharing my veggies (or my clematis) with them if that was the case, but as it is, when the copper tape doesn't deter them I'm afraid I go for the metaldehide.
    It is the only pesticide I use, and then only sparingly, if all else seems to be failing.
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    I have planted a pink blueberry bush today, just for the fun of it. According to the label and the nursery salespeople, the fruit are blueberries but they are pink in color. It is unusual for a blueberry because it will produce fruit twice a year in the spring and then again in the fall. It is a small plant so I am not expecting fruit this year but hope to enjoy some next spring or fall. While trying to explain it to Mr. Image I think I sounded like an old Abbot and Costolo routine, who's on first.
  • The slug nematodes have definitely reduced our slug population already, though the snails still need hand picking off the dahlias.
  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    I am guessing it's slugs that have done for my newly-planted-and-never-before-tried dahlias which were showing encouraging fresh leaves a couple of weeks back and are now back to bare sticks. :disappointed:
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Must. Stop. Buying. Plants. Particularly, as has been noted, we're just providing a Gastropod buffet.

    But they are very pretty coleus and will provide a bit of colour until the bedders get going.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited June 5
    Got a new tray of beans, a better cucumber (smaller) and some PSB this morning, but I can't get out to plant out as the neighbours are entertaining just the other side of the fence so I would feel I was invading their privacy and earwigging. Also worrying about the uplift in covid cases as they would be too close.
    When I do get out there will be daggy wool pellets, and the other sort as well. Possibly copper tape for the angelica. I wish there were a nematode option for the snails.
    If I can find a bucket with a lid, I will load the things into it and transfer them to my friend's garden to let them loose on the Russian Vine, which could do with its growing tips eaten. We don't know where it came from (apart from the obvious). They won't do any harm to one neighbour's space as it is all paved. Not sure about the other side. The molluscs don't seem to be as fond of the London environment - we don't hear crunching as we move around there. We don't find them bunched up in old pots. They may die. Oh dear.
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    I planted 40 leeks today, and two tomatoes. Luckily slugs & snails don't seem to fancy them.
    That was the limit to my gardening efforts, as my back doesn't like the bending, and my heart doesn't like the sun, and my veg plot is mostly in full sun after about 9am.
    If I am up early enough tomorrow I have a 4ft-square bed to fill with Swiss chard, and another half dozen tomatoes to plant.

    It seems that I forgot the slug pellets around the tub of lettuces I planted a couple of days ago. About 50% have been eaten, but most have only had the outer leaves munched, so now that the little blue pellets have been deployed they may make new growth.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    I finally have sparks in the shed (and celebrated by listening to TMS while I put the lining in) - though I did also have a bloody great spark last night that scared the bejabers out of me! Turns out the light switch was faulty and the second time it was used it shorted spectacularly. Not sure whether the scorching smell was the switch or my trousers...
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    I've found that slugs avoid leeks, and also chard. Of course, they love everything else, but not herbs. We have two herb beds, pretty trouble free, and the bees like them. New invasion of lemon balm, what a monster.
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    Baby Swiss chard all planted before church this morning
    . Last year's chard needs pulling up and the ground prepared for Florence fennel. It seems a shame to hoik it out while it is still producing new leaves from the base, but the fennel will need sowing in a fortnight.
    The half a dozen tomato plants still need to be put in tubs - this afternoon, if the sun doesn't shine.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    While quite a high proportion of things I plant don't come up, stuff I didn't, does. Last year it was poppies. This year it's pendulous sedge, ox-eye daisies and red campion.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Put up a support for the cucumbers, and ripped out the last of the geraniums from the courgette part of the bed this morning, and fell over while doing it, fortunately no harm done. A few snails were lurking in the weeds and have now been thrown into the philadelphus. The angelica I put in a big pot seems to be dying - it did wilt before planting out, as the compost it came in was dry as cardboard. I think there is work to be done before peat substitutes work properly. But I didn't feel up to planting any of the things out yet.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited June 7
    Realising that the red salad bowl lettuce seedlings are Still Intact, is causing me great joy. Planted in a designated bed, directly in front of a heavily ivy-covered wall, that is heaving with snails ...I had little hope. But apparently the little blighters hate the red lettuce. So that explains why all the Freckles lettuce in an open bed is untouched! I ll not mention the ordinarily green Little Gem Cos lettuces that we had..........



    In other news, pumpkin germination is 100%. Yikes. Never grown these before!

    Six Achocha seedlings have matured as well.

    Plus a clutch of ordinary courgettes and some trompachino courgettes. Is that right? Long odd shaped anyway.

    Mercifully this springtime we were gifted some long-rotted goat manure!


    In a fit of horticultural something or other Every Last flower seed has been sown. And for the record I find them a faff. I ‘m not going down that route again- half of the seeds on the magazines are toxic and the other half temperamental. If anything grows from that lot it will be proof of the existence of God!

    In future it is going to be hesperis, geraniums, peonies, roses, poppies , aquilegia, sedums, purple loosestrife, mallow & other such semi wild plants in our garden. With a hefty sprinkle of marjoram, lemon balm and mint in clay pots. Apple trees, hawthorn, budlia ( coz I like it) and peas...... lots and lots of peas and radishes
  • That sounds lovely. I like plants which look like they might have ended up there naturally. Though everything at the back (not a large space) is threatened by a brute Clematis here which is on the march for Lebensraum, viewing the surroundings as its Sudetenland.
  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    Ethne Alba wrote: »
    In future it is going to be ...purple loosestrife, ....in our garden. .
    Purple loosestrife is banned as a noxious weed in most parts of Canada because of the role it plays in drying up wetlands
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    My son brought me some potting soil and placed the box on our retraining wall so I could use it without bending over. Great I thought. So I filled a midsize pot and planted in it. Now it is too heavy for me to lift down off the wall. I will wait until his next visit to place it on the patio. Lesson learned a bit late in life, place a pot where you want it then fill it with soil.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    @john holding , many times during the past few years I have had cause to bless the country that I live in. (Scotland). Today is one of those days.
    Surrounded by farmers as we are, I have yet to hear a single one say anything against purple loosestrife and plenty with purple loosestrife in Their gardens.

    I guess if a country has to ban a plant: they have to ban it.


    @Graven Image , I was caught out exactly the same way- mercifully Before planting up though!
  • HelixHelix Shipmate
    Possibly the wrong time of year - but is it possible to grow dandelions from a dandelion clock? I'm enjoying dandelion tea and fancied growing my own!
  • Not sure how you could AVOID growing dandelions from a dandelion clock. Zillions of dandelions. Utter gazillions.
  • HelixHelix Shipmate
    I know - I wondered that but a friend of mine has had very poor results! I was really surprised!
  • I’ve seen packet of dandelions seeds (for salads and tea) and just thought why would you buy them when they are freely available!
    We are actually not too bothered by dandelions at present but the bindweed is a constant presence. I’m succeeding in eradicating the alkanet though.
    Yesterday I weeded all the veg patch and it looks much better, though there are very few cabbage plants still viable. In the flower beds we have lupins and pokers appearing, and scarlet pimpernel (a favourite of mine) is appearing in the wildflower garden besides the ox-eye daisies, silene and the occasional foxglove.
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