Previously on Edinburgh Garden Diary I reported that coffee grounds would be a deterrent to snails. This week an urgent news update: what rot.
Spreading coffee grounds on my pot of cornflower and night-phlox seedlings has NOT deterred the molluscs. If anything it has attracted more slugs and snails, while the caffeine appears to have stimulated them to new levels of seedling-consumption efficiency. Since adding the coffee grounds to the seedlings, almost every single seedling has been quickly, silently and ruthlessly eliminated. It’s heartbreaking and makes my blood boil. I want vengeance upon these criminals. I have been researching ways of doing them in. (Greenly, of course.) The internet tells me to pour salt on them or drown them in beer traps. Right-but-one neighbour tells me with relish, ‘ I squish them’.
But hang on a minute. Gardening is supposed to lower your blood pressure, bond you with nature and bring peace to your soul. It is not supposed to make you angry and blood thirsty. After all, let’s face it, if you put tasty food out for the slugs and snails, duly they will come out and eat it. This should neither be surprising nor cause anger.
So, the moluscs can’t stay, and can’t be poisoned, and won’t be eaten (there are no hedgehogs or toads in the back garden as it is enclosed entirely by four-storey tenements) and I just couldn‘t squish one. One of the few options left is physical removal, ie. taking the slugs out of my garden and releasing them far away.
I knew exactly where the damned things were hiding. I opened the lid of the old wooden box bench, and there underneath the lid were fat, pulsating giant green slugs an inch long. I enclose pictures lest it has not been adequately conveyed how dégoûtant these beasts are; not even the French eat slugs.
Using a spoon and marigolds, I flicked every single slug into an old tupperware pot, put the lid on, and walked across the Meadows where I released them in to a hedge (not someone’s garden hedge, that would be too unfair) where hopefully they will be eaten by a hedgehog.
Combined with beer traps, which I am tempted to try in the future, regular physical removal does seem to be the greenest solution and I think it will be effective as long as I persevere and keep hunting them and taking them out.