The weather is set to be stunning in London this weekend, as bigger incentive to get going in the garden as we are likely to get. If you are looking for inspiration and advice The Royal Horticultural Society have a Grow Your Own Weekend tomorrow and Sunday at Wisley, Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Roosemoor. There are talks, demonstrations and guided walks. Details of all the events at each of the gardens are here.

We are planning to go on Sunday, so plenty of pictures to follow.

Slugs and Snails

When we took on the plot I had high ideas about embracing nature. It took precisely one decimated crop for me to do a complete volte face and declare war. We used a combination of pellets from the pound shop and hand picking. It was very effective and simple but I was not wholly comfortable with the pellets worrying about their impact on wildlife. The RSPB unsurprisingly are not great fans.

Anne Wareham from Veddw House Garden brought an article called How To Combat Slugs and Snails from The Telegraph to my attention last week via Twitter and it started me thinking what I would do this year.

Alan Titchmarsh in his book The Kitchen Gardener suggests a combination of  methods, copper tapes, beer traps etc. and what he refers to as ‘alternative’ remedies, dehydrating granules, garlic or yucca extract, grit and even holly leaves. He also suggests biological control in the from of nemtodes which work by infecting the slugs with disease. Nice!

The BBC has a very good guide on their website here.

This was the offer at the local garden centre yesterday.

Barrier methods and traps certainly seem to have a higher presence than I’ve seen previously but I’m not sure they are entirely practical for an allotment. Ultimately I think it depends on the size of the plot and what type of crops you are growing.

I am however going to try some of these different methods and will report back later in the season.

Let me know in the comments what method you choose.

Dynamite

Last summer in a fit of nostalgia I bought a packet of butterhead lettuce seeds. Those of a certain age will know exactly what I mean; when I was a child it was pretty much the only type of lettuce available to buy in this country. With very little attention* it turned out to be one of our best crops and from a taste perspective far better than I remembered.

Served like this.

As a side note the vinaigrette dressing is from a recipe by Nora Ephron who wrote the screenplay of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle.

The butterhead lettuce variety is Dynamite. The seeds are from Thompson & Morgan.

*If you’re wondering about slugs, they were far more interested in the broad bean leaves.