Blossom in the air and slimy rascals!

Protecting plants from slugs and snails etc.

Itís that time of year again when you are out in the garden and you think ĎIs that snow?í You then remember that it is much too mild for snow and take delight from the flutter of blossom in the air.

Itís also a time for herbaceous perennials to be making rapid progress, making the most of the warmer soil and the longer days to soak up sunlight.

Some herbaceous perennials are particularly susceptible to slug and snail damage at this time of year. I have had particular problems raising Delphiniums in the past because of these slimy plant demolishers. I hate to use slug pellets and would be interested to hear how visitors to cope with slugs and snails in their own gardens? Post a message on our forum if you have any good ideas. I usually use sharp grit or bran but one other excellent way I have seen of humanely protecting young herbaceous perennials is to put rigid plastic pipe over the top of them (pictured).

In the vegetable garden this week I have been sowing parsnips and spinach. I find sowing the parsnips quite time consuming; the seeds are big enough to space equally by hand. I like to do it this way in preference to thinning out the young plants after germination which I find takes even longer. With the spinach, I sow one row per week, with the aim of the crop maturing at different times, always supplying fresh, tasty young leaves. As I prepare each section of the vegetable plot for different seeds I start by hoeing off my green manure crop of broad beans, I also grow them in my flower borders, where they are allowed to mature for bean production. The plants in the vegetable plot are hoed off leaving the roots in the soil, having fixed lots of nitrogen in the soil for subsequent crops.

Elsewhere in the plantadvice garden I have been pruning Caryoteris, lightly raking out moss and thatch from the lawn, removing reverted shoots from evergreen plants and cutting back Penstemon plants to the fresh basal shoots that will produce flowers this summer. Itís also time to start staking perennials such as Peonies.

Filed under General.

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