Regular Hermonites will be aware of my forays into the growing of vegetables and my ensuing ongoing battles with the garden slug. Just for the record my lettuce crop survived to reach the kitchen table and my potatoes have sent up the healthiest green stalks that you could wish for, their harvesting will be at the end of August. My frantic gardening activity at the beginning of Spring has been recently curtailed by a foot injury that has left me slightly hobbling and somewhat incapacitated.
Today while rummaging at the local Oxfam shop I came across a little book that could have saved me a lot of hassle in my garden war against that ravaging menace, the garden slug. The cover of the book alone is a powerful affirmer for any harassed gardener as it shows a broken slug waving the white flag of surrender. The blurb on the back cover poses the question, “ Has your delphinium been devoured ? Has your lettuce lost it’s leaves ? Is your vegetable patch a slimy slug banquet ? And are you losing the battle ? Fear not, help is at hand with 50 ways to stop even the cleverest of gastropods in its tracks ! ”
Inside this little book there are so many gems of information and know-how concerning our slippery foes. For instance the slug is a hermaphrodite having both male and female reproductive systems, so slugs can mate at the drop of a hat and each one can produce up to 36 eggs in a season. An average garden will have over 200 of the little creatures, each one capable of nibbling their way through almost 2 lbs. (0.8 kg.) of plants. These vegan slouches travel at a speed of 0.0113 kph (0.007 mph), live for up to 6 years, love beer and cabbage, hate salt and consume double their own body weight each day. While they prey on most green plants they are not partial to geraniums or foxglove and their natural predators are frogs , birds and badgers. If I had this information earlier in the year I could now be running a mini zoo with frogs hopping , badgers shuffling and birds singing in a garden sentried by foxgloves and geraniums! Perhaps the most horrific act of removal of these persistent pests is tucked away at he back of the book under the heading IF ALL ELSE FAILS… Let me warn you at the outset this is not for the faint of heart and I am not recommending it…but the author advises as a last resort to “ go out into the garden armed with the book. Locate a slug, remove it from among your plants, place the book unopened on top of the slug and squelch down with your foot. Then flick off the dead remains. Finally, wipe down your book ! ” By the way '50 WAYS TO KILL A SLUG’ was written by Sarah Ford so all correspondence can be forwarded to her at Hamylyn books .‘