As has this blog. If you are a regular reader, I am very sorry I haven't been about. All my writing efforts have been directed at my pony book book, which I really, really need to find a title for. The only things I can think of are the really corny, taking a swipe sort like Galloping Hooves - The Pony Book Obsession, or things like It's Awfully Bad Luck on Diana, which my editor tells me means nothing to most people. Well, I say, most people who are going to buy this book will know that poem. Did they not read their Pony Club Annual, for goodness' sake? But I expect she is right, as she certainly has been so far as she has dissuaded me from my besetting sin, which is assuming what I know, everyone else does too. And my second besetting writing sin, which is digressing. Which I am doing now.
So, hauling myself back to the point, which is gardening, or actually not gardening. Slugs.
Slugs are one of those things that continue regardless of what you do in the garden, which is fair enough, as they are after all living creatures and the general point of a species is to survive. Do not fight the slugs - you will not win. Not unless you have unlimited time and funds anyway, in my experience. The wool stuff works, but it costs a bomb, and I can't afford it. Slug pellets my slugs eat as a first course, and then move on to devour my plants. I don't like putting pellets of any sort down anyway, even organic ones, as I like to preserve my hedgehogs and thrushes, and I'm just not consistent enough. I bought some organic slug pellets last year, but only managed to put them down once. I guess you have to be a bit more persistent than this for it to work, and persistence is not in the armoury of the gardener on the edge.
Coffee grounds don't appear to stop slugs in their tracks either. I am simply not going to go out at night with a torch and pick up slugs, or cut them up, or bung them in salt water or whatever else people do. By the time night comes, I have had enough and just want to sit for a bit. I also have a sneaking admiration for a species that's so successful despite all that humanity can throw at it. Attempting to live in harmony with the slugs suits the mixture of laziness and opportunism that is me and the garden. I therefore let seed stuff I don't have to fight the slugs and snails for, and in the winter salad department, that's rocket (preferably wild); american land cress; chervil, and lamb's lettuce. The one thing I do try in an effort to preserve from slugs is ash from the fire, but this only works as long as the weather's not too wet. Here is a chard plant, which, rather to my surprise, came up in a flower bed. This I think could go either way but the slugs have the edge at the moment.
I did one year grow some other sort of mustard, but that was a complete disaster. Not because the slugs didn't like it - they didn't, but it was so hot, we couldn't get it down either. I have just remembered my one other anti-snail technique - I sling them over the wall into the graveyard next door. I'm quite sure they all just come back again but it makes me feel better temporarily.