The Great Slug Scare

by AnneWareham on April 21, 2013

Post image for The Great Slug Scare

Monty Don started it apparently, suggesting everyone hunts around, under and in their pots and seed trays to find slugs. Yuk. And then, presumably, squish them..I didn’t see it. The thrills I miss. But I didn’t miss an article online telling us the slug is back. That despite the prolonged cold winter they are full of vim and vigour and prowling our plots once again.

Well, it is true that Veddw has not dried out for about 10 months now, so you would expect slugs to be in slimy slug heaven. But if they are, they must be feeling too lazy to get up, because I have, so far seen no sign.

And no – I haven’t gone searching under flower pots and crawling round the greenhouse looking. I have added a few judicious anticipatory slug pellets but seen no evidence of slugs lunching on them.

The first sign of slugs here is usually when I find, too late, that Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’ is full of holes. Which start small then grow and grow and grow until HUGE and disfiguring. The wonderful purple leaves get ruined. However – this year – one little hole in all the several plants. (see above)

I guess we’re just lucky, hey? Well, this year at least. Or the ‘slugs are back’ piece was (I have no doubt) filed a long time ago, in expectation..

I wonder why slugs like Ligularia and not this — ?

April 2103 Rheum palmatum 'Atropurpureum' at Veddw copyright Anne Wareham

Rheum palmatum ‘Atropurpureum’

A wonderful plant, quite apart from slug free. See that red bit on the left? That is going to grow up and look totally, embarrassingly, unmissably obscene in a few days. Oooo.

XXX Anne

If you subscribe (see subscription thingy in right hand column) I may show you it when it has..erm.. grown a bit.


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claudia April 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

You are not as subtle as me Anne – when i was offered a free erection from the shed builders, I leapt at it!! Looking forward to seeing your thing …grow a bit!!

As for slugs- last year I wanted to invent a new Olympic sport called Slugging. I think I must be very sad, out at dusk torch in hand and slippers on with a bucket. I end up chucking them over the fence and then remembered that snails have homing instincts so my hurling them upwards will probably mean they will slowly head back to appear again. Well, I have fun anyway!

AnneWareham April 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Shed builders, eh? Interesting prospect.. (Makes note to self..)

Slugs do come home, I understand. Don’t know how slow they are…I suppose it will do as entertainment while you wait for the builders…

John April 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Slugs are not all bad, you know. (see The problem is the 95% of them that are doing their business underground most of the time. Slug pellets are useless for these of course. Nematodes do the biz provided the weather’s warmer, which is isn’t at the moment.

If squishing isn’t your cup of tea, try using your Niwaki Super Slug Snippers for a clean cut in half. I find the hogs take care of the dead meat too! Or just add a couple of inches of nicely salted water to the bucket.

A lovely plink, plink, fizz effect (provided you find two).

AnneWareham April 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm

O, please!!!! John – you have seen our no slug hostas, you know you don’t need to tell me how to manage slugs.

Never mind suggesting I would give time to searching four acres for them every night – do you know how many there are per cubic yard?! Snipping is just for fun, if you can face it.

And: quoting you: Slug fact: 95% of slugs are underground nibbling away at roots and juicy seedlings just about to break the surface of your seed bed – the only seedlings I have generally are of weeds, so whoopee. And I’ve not had trouble re roots: you are probably talking that labour intensive vegetable gardening, aren’t you?


John April 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm

According to, the average UK garden is 90 square metres. So you have about 180 average gardens. So statistically, you have 3.6 million. Not too much effort to catch 10,000 a night just to keep the population level, is it? (I jest!)

My hostas are slug-free too though I need to keep an eye on the juicy new shoots of delphiniums and heleniums appearing around now.

But I share your view that going out and squishing as Monty suggests is of only therapeutic benefit at best and then only for those that require therapeutic benefit.

Incidentally, I don’t use slug pellets in the open though I do scatter some organic ones inside the cold frame and greenhouses. Don’t like burglars! 🙂

AnneWareham April 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm


If slug pellets are ok’d for organic farmers they’ll do me.

Sacha Hubbard April 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Can’t say we’ve seen many about so far, though they’re probably going to do some massive pincer movement when our backs are turned! Maybe it’s too cold for them and they’re all wrapped up in their cosy little burrows. I hope their numbers have diminished because we haven’t had as many frogs as usual this year.

AnneWareham April 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm

We have had no sign of frog spawn – and that’s a first. Maybe frogs are also hiding from the cold!

Charles April 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm

I used to go out after dark with the nail scissors for half an hours massacre. That was when I grew veg. Quite glad not to have to anymore.