A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the slugs eating my garden. It seems I’m not alone. Thanks to the warm and wet conditions Spanish slugs have bred profusely and infested gardens across the nation. Slugs find it difficult to move through dry soil – something the UK certainly hasn’t experienced this summer. One day last week after work I arrived home on a wet evening to find dozens of slugs and snails on the doorstep and garden. I plucked them off one by one and took the bucket to the river and threw them in for the brown trout.
Slugs can detect food from 60 centimeters away and are capable of moving 5 meters a night from their daytime hiding places. I noticed that my plants next to mint and lavender hadn’t been nibbled. The scent of herbs and flowers deters them and encourages them to slide in a different direction.
The tactic of planting scented flowers and herbs amongst your more vulnerable flowers and vegetables is an age old technique called companion planting. The idea is that plants can help each other out – a kind of green fingered teamwork. Marigolds are good to plant with runner beans because they keep black fly away and protect roots from bad nematodes. Marigolds are also self-seeding so present a good value investment.
Mint cuttings can deter ants, which can be harmful to your other plants as they farm aphids. Ants can also cause unsightly nests in lawns. Basil helps keeps away the asparagus beetle. Parsley releases nutrients into the soil which can help strengthen against insects which attack plants. Garlic planted among roses will ward off aphids. Plant carrots and leeks together to protect against a number of pests. Leeks repel carrot fly and carrots repel onion fly and leek moth. Let your parsley flower to detract horsefly.
Next weekend I’m going to plant some more lavender amongst my tender new sunflowers and see if that saves them from the slugs – I’ll keep you posted.
Have you been using companion planting as pest control? If you have any more tips please let me know.