Winter mulch and slugs

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Winter mulch and slugs

 

Slug damaged leeks, egyptian onions to the leftMy autumn mulch has not gone to plan. The theory was that mulching, though very beneficial to soil, encouraged slugs and snails – the bane of gardeners everywhere. For this reason I don’t use mulches during spring and summer, but I figured if there wasn’t much in the allotment that slugs would like I could lay down a mulch over the winter to help suppress weeds but more importantly prevent the winter rains from washing all the nutrients out of the soil. As many a gardener will tell you slugs don’t really like alliums, like leeks and onions, and as my allotment at the moment contains Egyptian onions and leeks I felt that now would be the time to lay down a mulch.

Massacred leeksWell, the slugs gave the Egyptian onions a wide berth but made a beeline for the leeks and have been beating them up, an event I didn’t really expect especially as slugs and snails have been almost totally absent from the allotment, and I have not used slug pellets this year – and hope to continue in that way. Anyway here are a couple of photos. I’m a little disappointed because I felt like getting down with the countercultural permaculture set and having pretty mulched beds. The damage was so great I’m lifting the mulch and composting it instead. I know that without a mulch the winter rains will leach out the nutrients so I will have to get out the chicken manure next year. Luckily a proportion of the plot is green manured with winter tares and clover so leaching should be reduced there – it just means I will have to green manure much more next year.

The sustainable gardening manifesto will have to change because of this sad news, so no more mulching. I suspected all along that I should have listened to the old Jamaican boys in the first place and kept the plot pristine and slug free.

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