I’m still reeling from the loss of my sunflower saplings to hungry slugs last week. I am now down from four to just two; one of which is in a sorry state indeed. Louise and I were out in her garden a few evenings ago, and between us we must have scooped up about 50 slugs in just 20 minutes. We both agree that this year’s slug infestation is worse than we have ever seen it before, and a quick web search tells us that we’re not alone.
Although it seemed to go on forever, the previous winter was actually fairly mild, and there were very few sharp frosts. Slugs usually hibernate over the winter, but the warm temperatures meant that many millions of them didn’t, and skipped their usual sleep. Because so many slugs have been active all winter, they have had more time to eat and lay eggs. This prolonged feeding period also means that many have reached appalling proportions: up to 40 times their usual bodyweight. The stuff of nightmares, if you’re anything like me.
In case you were wondering what slug eggs look like, here are some:
According to an interesting website called Amateur gardening.com, the average garden could contain up to 200 slugs per square metre – that means even my modest, end-terrace garden might be home to over 3000 of the little critters! It’s no surprise really that Wyevale Garden Centres have reported an increase of over 30% on sales of friendly slug deterrents compared with last year. I currently still fancy my chances with the cheap bitter I mentioned in my last post, but if any more of my sunflowers get munched then I might have to become part of that statistic!