Monday, December 27, 2010

Slug Wars

I mentioned in my last post that my garden is currently a slug habitat.  With all the wet weather in Queensland this summer we have perfect conditions for slugs and its got so bad now that I can’t plant any seeds directly in the garden as any new shoots are eaten as soon as they appear.

eight acres: battling slugs in my garden, a few strategies that I've tried
bean seedling attempting to grow

eight acres: battling slugs in my garden, a few strategies that I've tried
silver beet full of slug holes (still ok to eat though)
We have chickens and a dog that eats anything, so I’ve been trying organic/natural solutions.  So far I have tried:
  • At first, when there weren't many slugs, I tried picking them off the plants as I found them and squishing them between my fingers, but now there are far too many and I would be out there all day!

  • Small tins of beer buried in the garden: This had success at first, but I had to keep topping them up due to the rain diluting the tins and although they were always full of slugs there were plenty more in the garden.  I think this would be a good solution for minor slug infestations or if you have a good supply of tins and beer!

Small tin containing beer to trap the slugs and eggshells to deter them.
  • Egg shells: we have plenty of eggs so I had no trouble sourcing egg shells and crushing them as a protective barrier around each sensitive plant.  I’m not sure that it worked though, maybe they just find a way to crawl through the gaps or maybe they were just really hungry slugs.


  • Coffee grounds: I don’t drink coffee myself, but my work goes through a heap, so I’ve put a container in the kitchen for everyone to donate their coffee grounds.  I’m not sure that the low concentration on caffeine in the grounds is enough to deter the slugs, but it can’t hurt to add some more organic matter to the soil.  More info here.


  • Last resort - Iron phosphate bait:  I didn’t really want to spend money on this problem, but its got so bad I had to go to the local hardware and buy some slug bait.  Iron phosphate bait is safe for dogs and wild animals (there’s no way I was going to use anything that contained metaldehyde!).  I’ve sprinkled the bait around the garden as per the directions and I’m waiting to see if it has any effect.


last resort - low toxicity slug pellets...

If anyone has some good slug remedies or stories, please share!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My first blog post

I'm starting this because since we have been having a go at lots of different self-sufficient activities on our little 8 acre property, we have got stuck on lots of little problems, and I want to share them with others and see if we can help to inspire others and get some help for ourselves at times too!

At the moment my husband and I share our block with two steers:
Rocket

Bruce



Three roosters and lots of hens:
Hector (the eldest Rhode Is Red Rooster)

Ivan (our beautiful new White Leghorn Rooster)

Randy (our younger Rhode Is Red Rooster - with some of the girls)
And one lazy, crazy Kelpie:

Cheryl the Spoilt Kelpie
When we have time, between feeding all the animals and building fences and cages for them, we also keep a large vege garden:

Vege garden (currently a perfect slug habitat)
At the moment, just in time for Christmas, we also have a "flock" of four turkeys, which are most unusual animals:
TURKEYS!
I hope this gives you an idea of the kind of issues I want to write about, everything from organic vege gardening, chicken care, egg hatching and chick rearing, turkey roasting on our woodstove and sausage making.  We'll have a go at anything once, and it always helps to know someone else who's had a go before you start.  I hope that this will be a source of advice and inspiration for others who want to have a go too.

If you've just found my blog, welcome, please say "hello" and tell me a bit about yourself....

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