Remember I wrote a note back in November last year on the various ways we deal with slugs and snails in the polytunnels? Well we have recently discovered a new weapon to use. Sheep fleece! And I have to give credit to Tim Waygood for making this discovery. Searching the internet for the best price for organic slug pellets, we both saw a new product on offer called wool pellets. This is an item manufactured from sheep’s fleece, the principle being that the pellets, scattered around susceptible plants, form a barrier that slugs are reluctant to cross. The texture of the fibres and the oil they contain is uncomfortable for those greedy gastropods’ slimy skin, and they go get their breakfast elsewhere. To my detriment I failed to make the connection, but happily Tim did. At Church Farm, of course, we naturally have tons of raw sheep fleece on hand and an unlimited supply into the future, thanks to our beautiful Black Welsh Mountain and Lleyn sheep.
Recently we had planted out our French Dwarf and Climbing beans in Polytunnel 3, and very fine they looked too at first. Then the slugs started tucking in, and many plants were left resembling intricate lacework, or even completely destroyed. Beer traps were installed but these were not effective enough to stop the spring population explosion of those leaf-munching molluscs. Armed with a load of that wool, we placed a ring of the material around the base of each plant, and this has clearly made a great difference. The dwarf beans finally have a chance to replace lost leaves and branch out, and the climbers are now happily winding onto their strings. And there’s plenty more fleece where that came from. Three bags full!