Posts Tagged ‘Garden Organic’

Organic Slug Control

Slugs When I went out last night to take some pics of the new Almond trees we’ve got I noticed that the wet weather seemed to have woken up a whole cohort of slugs. It was incredible – I collected this pot-load of slugs in about five minutes, just by strolling around the edges of the lawn, and having a look at their usual favourites. To have an up-front and gruesome look at them just click on the pic to get the full-size effect.

If I was being scientific about it I’d claim that this Hosta was planted as a Companion Plant to decoy the slugs from other things we wanted to protect. However the reality is that slugs and snails just love Hostas, and this is the result:
Slugs on the Hosta
I got three slugs off this one plant – you can even see two of them in the pic – the one in the bottom left was over six inches long!

Having collected them all, how was I going to get rid of them? I opted for the tried and tested method of chopping them into little bits with the trowel. It’s a lot more face-to-face than sprinkling them with salt or covering them with boiling water, but for the sake of my Karma, I thought a quick, clean death was best.

Not sure if I’ve made a great dent in the local slug population, but there certainly weren’t any more waiting for me when I strolled around later. I’ll have another look tomorrow and assess the scale of the invasion!

In doing a bit of research on this I found some great links, and now know far too much about this subject. Apparently the tool of choice is a needle on the end of a stick, and a head-torch so that you can go strolling around the garden at night. Apparently if you do this you can end up with hundreds! I think I might just try and encourage more frogs, toads, hedgehogs and beetles – and maybe add some nematodes too.

Resources

Choosing a wormery to compost our kitchen scraps

wastebuster-maxiPutting out the rubbish is always one of those contentious jobs in our house. It’s never really been clear whose job it is (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) so the bin gets more and more packed full of decomposing leftovers until emptying is incredibly unpleasant and smelly.

But no more! In our new house we’re going to compost everything that we can, with the ultimate aim of never needing a plastic rubbish bag again. Anything squishy should be being composted. End of story. Once our Aquaponics system is up and running I want to have a Black Soldier Fly composting system which will take everything – including meat, fish, eggs, dairy – and which will also provide larvae to feed to our fish. I’m never one to depend on just one solution or species though, so we’re also going to try out a wormery first. This should get us started, but can’t take all the trickier waste.

Inspired by Compost Awareness Week, I found a whole heap of great links on www.homecomposting.org.uk, so here’s what I now know about wormeries:

  • They use different worms to those you’ll usually find in the ground
  • You can feed the worms to fish 🙂
  • Don’t trust the legs on them – a full wormery can be pretty heavy
  • You’re better off with one that is wider rather than deeper – gets more air to the compost
  • Worms eat loads (up to their body weight each day) 
  • They breed fast, but won’t over populate
  • They don’t need daily attention – they’ll survive a good holiday as long as you feed them properly

You can make your own wormery, and buy the worms separately, but when getting started the best thing to do seems to be to buy a complete kit. There are lots of these available, and a quick look seems to suggest that the Wormcity EcoWormery is the best buy – for  £40. I’ll add it to my shopping list!

Wormery Suppliers

Compost Awareness Week

go_logo50Now this seems like another joke post . . . but it isn’t there really is a Compost Awareness Week. It’s being run by the fantastic bunch over at Garden Organic, who really seem to be at the forefront of all the issues surrounding getting people in Britain growing sustainably. as one of their initiatives they’ve setup a website dedicated to encouraging home composting (www.homecomposting.org.uk) and are busy assembling a national network of Master Composters to help out those of us who never have much luck! This year I think we’ll try out a wormery, and when I get my Aquaponics system up and running I want to try a Black Soldier Fly composting system, which will compost pretty much anything (including meat scraps) and will then produce larvae that can be fed to the fish in the Aquaponics system.

Anyway, don’t miss it 🙂 – Compost Awareness Week is Sunday 3 – Saturday 9 May 2009.  Keep an eye on www.homecomposting.org.uk for details of local events.