After an exceptionally mild Winter in the UK, we have been warned to expect record numbers of super-slugs ready to nosh their way through our precious, tender seedlings. So I’ve had to get serious, and this year I’m finally getting around to using nematodes for slug control.
I’m always in favour of natural kitchen garden remedies and as nematodes are completely safe for humans, pets and birds they seem an excellent choice for the organic garden. You can get different strains of nematodes to target different problems, they’re also very effective against fleas and other soil based grubs and bugs, while being completely harmless to earthworms.
It’s important to order them a week before you plan to plant out your seedlings and as they are living microscopic worms, you have to treat them carefully, making sure they are kept cool and out of direct sunlight.
- Mix the sandy nematode powder into a large bucket of water, according to the instructions on the packet.
- Then take 1 litre of the nematode solution and mix it vigorously into 2 gallons of water in a watering can fitted with a coarse sprinkler rose.
- Water your garden systematically from one side to the other, making sure you don’t miss any areas. A damp day is good for this, as you want the nematodes to be able to soak down into the soil easily.
- These microscopic worms in the solution feed specifically on slugs and snails and get straight to the source of the problem.
- Within a few days, you will notice the slugs and snails are reduced in numbers dramatically. The ones you do find, will be dried up and half dead, and no longer a threat to your plants.
- As nematodes are a living organism, it’s important that you keep them in the fridge until use, and don’t exceed the sell by date.
- They aren’t cheap, but if used a couple of times at the beginning of the season when your seedlings are most vulnerable, they can really make a difference to the success of your garden. Once the plants are established, it is easier to keep on top of pest problems with the usual natural deterrents – see How To Beat The Garden Pests – Organically