15 April 2010

cross section

I know I regularly infuriate conservative gardeners with my stock answer to the question "what do you do about snails?", much to my amusement.  I am honest when I say "I don't worry about them" as I can usually find something much more important to be upset about.  This laissez faire approach does take into account that growing conditions here are generally rather dry and any damage is minor and seasonal, the worst of the rampages being in the moist warm weeks of early spring when new shoots are soft and succulent.  Of course I keep quiet the heart sinking moments when I find they have cut something special and young to the ground overnight but these moments of humility are few, far between - and private.  

In studies it has been shown that most slug species mainly eat dead and decaying plants and are even more important than worms in recycling nutrients.  Plants are less vulnerable to damage when grown hard, with basic rations of food and water, so stems mature tough and fibrous.  Over-fed well watered things, lush as lettuce, would not last long in this natural garden and notorious slug favourites like delphiniums and hostas don't even warrant a try ( I can live with this).  Plant palatability seems to vary from year to year as does rainfall and what gets eaten one year will probably be back up and successful the next.  For our purposes, we are not producing crops, molluscs are part and parcel of reaching a natural balance of predators and prey so I will not be reaching for the pellets anytime soon - I'd rather not find dead birds fattened on poisoned slugs and snails. 

This year for some reason young snails have a taste to cross section white daffodils.

No comments:

Post a Comment