Organic Slug Control With Nematodes
In this video I talk about how and why I use nematodes for organic slug control. I’m using Nemaslug, which is environmentally friendly and is 100% safe for children, cats, dogs, other pets and wildlife.
Nemaslug uses the nematode Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, which was discovered by scientists at the government research institute at Bristol, England. Nemaslug controls all common species of small to medium sized slugs (up to 8cm – 2.5-3 inches). By Starting my Nemaslug control regime early in the growing season I will be able to target the young slugs growing under the ground feeding on humus, I will also be applying when the plants are young and so the solution can be watered directly into the ground, rather than onto the leaves.
Young slugs tend to stay underground, feeding on decaying organic matter, developing unseen and waiting for young seedlings to be planted. They breed all year with two overlapping generations. Peak egg laying is Mar-Apr and Sept-Oct. I will be applying Nemaslug late Feb (it’s very mild at the moment) and mid-April, I will also do a single application in mid-Spetember.
Slugs treated with Nemaslug will stop feeding in 3 days and die in about a week. The majority of the slugs will die underground, so don’t expect to see dead slugs lying around.
One application of Nemaslug provides 300,000 nematodes for every square metre of soil, giving around six weeks control of slugs, this is generally enough time for seedlings and bedding plants to get well established.
If you are new to my allotment videos you might find a bit of context useful. We live in the north west of England, in Lytham St Annes, which I believe is the equivalent of USA Zone 8.
We have three allotments in my family, mine (Steve), my wife’s (Debbie) and my middle daughter’s (Jennie). We also have a small kitchen garden at home. They are all managed in an integrated fashion, so don’t expect to see the usual mix of veg on each plot. I do most of the planning and seed starting. We each have our own plots, but we all help each other out.
Jennie’s plot has been designed as a traditional allotment, but we put a lot of focus on minimising the work we do there. It’s basically a plant and forget it plot, full of garlic, leeks, onions, potatoes, brassicas, squash, beans and fruit trees. It’s heavily mulched to reduce weeds and easy to water.
Debbie’s plot is mostly full of perennials, it’s a garden plot. Again we did a lot of work to keep the weeds down and Debbie’s approach is inspired by the TV programme The Ornamental Kitchen garden.
My plot is all about experimental growing, maximum productivity and year round abundance. As with all of the other plots I did a lot of work to control the weeds, but it’s a high maintenance plot. I’m always planting, harvesting, experimenting and generally having a great time.
Collectively the plots deliver an amazing abundance of fruit and veg all year round. Debbie, Jennie and I are effectively self sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit for much of the year. During winter we have enough surplus to feed a few more of our friends and during the rest of the year we feed up to 22 people.
This video provides an overview:
I do an update of the allotments, roughly one a week, you can find the tours here:
Our approach to allotment life is to: grow as much as we possibly can, to be self-sufficient in veg all year round and in fruit in season, to give away our huge surplus to friends and family, and to have as much fun as possible. For more on self sufficiency check out these videos:
Debbie and I spend about 4 hours a day, 4 days a week on the plots (on average) and we keep nudging that down as we eliminate non-productive work: like grass cutting, weeding and watering as much as practical. We are both newbie gardeners, only starting the allotments in 2016.
I’m a bit obsessive about the nutrient density of the veg that we grow and making the plots easy to work because it’s through this allotment lifestyle and food that I’ve overcome a debilitating auto-immune disease.
I’m always aware though that it might not last so I make sure that I don’t work too hard, eat as much organic fruit and veg I can and design the plots so that I can still work them if I flare up again.