Sunday, March 27, 2011

Slug fortifications

If you were ever a kid, chances are at some point or another you've built, modified, and defended a fort. You'll have laughed. You'll have cried. Sometimes because your mum wanted the cushions back. Sometimes because your brother turned your fairy castle into one. And sometimes because your wife just didn't share your enthusiasm about those ramparts you're building in the backyard. For the record, I don't currently fall into that last category, even though the wife does sometimes refer to me as her child (or the garden beds as ramparts).

But deep inside my love of forts is as strong as ever, and so today I'd like to share with you my most recent undertaking: slug fortifications.

If you've been following, you'll know well enough that over the last few years I've tried just about every technique of slug genocide known to man (like here or here). But lets face it, there are some things you just can't change, control or eradicate - and sometimes I realise that.

So I've taken a span of 100mm PVC pipe and given it the chop into 12cm lengths. That gives you the basic structure of the fort, but its still needs defenses. Around the top end of each fort (I'll let you figure out which end is the top) I've wrapped some adhesive copper tape - which I'm told by the experts gives slugs something like an electric shock. I work the forts into the soil to a depth about 5cm, filling the remaining internal space with some of the surrounding soil. Then the surrounding mulch covers up to just below the level of the copper.

This is the second crop of purple king beans I've planted inside the fortifications. I also successfully used them to plant pumpkin and zucchini over summer. I'm so confident with this method now, I'm telling you about it! While the size of those plants soon has them spilling beyond the walls of safety, it hardly matters because a bit of slug damage on a mature plant is hardly catastrophic. What's important is getting the plants passed the point where a bit of munching will kill them. I can only hope this leaves the slugs to attack the new growth of all the things I don't want growing in the vege patch.

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