Slugs & no dig


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This topic contains 12 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  charles 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #40534

    MJSJ
    Participant

    Hi Charles I read a post which said that no dig will reduce the sludge problem . Please can you explain this . I am only on year 1 of no dig & this year the slugs have positively exploded into action when the damp weather arriived as usual.no sooner have the carrots shown their heads they vanish along with many others too .
    Everything pre slug explosion no problem. Will I be seeing a decrease over time ?

    #40535

    MJSJ
    Participant

    Slugs not sludge ! Oops

    #40536

    charles
    Moderator

    One cannot generalise. For example I suspect that you are reclaiming a previously weedy plot where (therefore) slug numders were high. Now diminishing, That was my experience here in 2013, plenty of slugs.
    Thereafter, many less. And I suffer more slug damage on the dug bed of my trial, compared to the no dig bed.

    #40541

    Rhys
    Participant

    I started no dig in 2014 and my experience is that the slug problem is partly decreased by not digging, but by far the biggest parameters are good compost (eliminates almost all slugs on a no-dig bed with reasonable sunlight) and good sunlight (even good compost does not totally eliminate slugs on a no-dig bed with less sunshine).

    I have four 5m*1.5m beds in good sunlight and this year, with good compost, they are all slug free.

    I have two 3m*1.25m beds with partial shady conditions and even with good compost, most crops have had some slug damage (carrots, cabbage, pea shoots, dwarf bean, tree spinach, tomato). Beer traps helped with carrots, less good for the others even though the beer killed plenty.

    As 2017 is the first year I had good amounts of high quality compost, I can say that not digging in 2015 and 2016 was not sufficient to eliminate slugs, including damage to turnips, radish, peas, dwarf beans, lettuce, cabbage, kale, pak choi and carrots. I ascribe this to lack of sufficient amounts of high quality compost, although I am also certain that not digging does help too…..

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  Rhys. Reason: typographical error
    #40542

    Rhys
    Participant

    line 3 of previous post should say no-dig, not dig…..

    #40545

    Dino
    Participant

    This is my first year of no dig and I live in a part of Britain with its fair share of wet weather like today, but the two large raised beds filled with 6in municipal compost in March have been almost untouched by the slugs. We did have a very dry spring though, when the young plants were most vulnerable. Will be interesting to check how the lettuce sown later do after this wet spell. Maybe the driest April followed by the wettest June for many years is not the best for comparing against previous years

    #40546

    Dino
    Participant

    As an afterthought, one way of protecting against slugs would be to spread your best quality most friable compost on the surface as this leaves less convenient clods and crannies for the slugs to shelter in, as well as the additional benefit of being easiest to sow seeds into. We’ve lots of broken eggshells in our food waste too, so maybe the slugs don’t like slithering over the shards, though I think that might be my wishful thinking!

    #40553

    Stringfellow
    Participant

    Very little slug damage here, five years into a no dig plot, so I’m pleased with this. Following Charles advice, I think the main thing is keeping the plot ultra clean all year round and therefore eliminating habitat; if there’s no food there on a regular basis they’ll move on! It’s easy to say, but the “little and often” maxim is a gem if embraced with vigour. HTH.

    #40704

    RandA
    Participant

    We have been doing no dig and in our 4th growing season and have noticed that very few leaves damaged by slugs this year, we haven’t seen many at all. I think it was so dry in April and June and they don’t like the compost to crawl over. We have discovered hedgehogs in the garden and they have 2 babies as well and we have no slugs at home either. I do find the odd baby slug in the pointy cabbages though. Mice, however, are another big problems pinching all the bean seeds and replanting all over the other beds, I have found beans growing in very strange places.

    #40747

    ElizaD
    Participant

    Same here in year five of no dig – very little slug damage even in the shady places. Ants however are another thing and they are driving me to distraction!

    Eliza

    #40783

    ElizaD
    Participant

    Actually the above should say in year six of no dig, as 2012 was my first no dig year.

    Eliza

    #41527

    MJSJ
    Participant

    Thanks to all of you for your advice & encouraging comments .yes Charles as you say it is a reclaimed site & far to close to the hedge with its various habitats for all pests . It is I know an ambitious project with the clearing evolving over time to a more permmaculture style the slug break being a challenge ..toads & hedgehogs seem few & far between ! Also my companion plantings may have been to close & created too much slug friendly habbitat once the rain came….Less is more .Also pheasant damage has been huge & slugs have taken advantage.
    As my compost is looking good so far I am looking forward to the next year’s benifits from a good crumbly surface .You never stop learning & each year is different . My spuds & onions have been great so all is not lost …

    #41528

    charles
    Moderator

    MJSJ, Good to hear you are taking the positives and seeing better outcomes

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