My 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.
Well, 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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