Though I previously wrote about being an impatient gardener, it wasn’t my lack of patience that brought me down in the end. I had a romanticised vision of my novice Grow Your Own summer: watching wistfully as green shoots peek out of the soil, bright leaves unfolding and tiny fruits and vegetables taking shape…My vision was quickly and mercilessly devoured, as were my plants, resulted in me pulling out both my hair and my potatoes (prematurely). Slugs.
Yes, they are to be expected in a garden, but not to the extent that I have experienced. The picture above shows what we pick out of our patio planters in one round – they are massive! The Englishman and I would have to be on a twice-a-day Slug Watch to keep on top of them. One of the first crops to go was my potato plants. After all, they were the tallest leafiest thing on my patio. Remaining optimistic, I cut down the bits of bare stems that were left, and continue to keep the potato bag watered in the hopes of nurturing the baby potatoes in the soil. There is indeed a small but colourful happy ending to this story: some lovely purple Arran Victory potatoes!
These blue-skinned heritage variety potatoes were bred on the Isle of Arran and named in 1918 to celebrate the end of the war. They were delicious simply roasted in the oven with rapeseed oil and some sprigs of rosemary. Sadly they lose most of their colour during cooking, but looking at these photos reminds me of how vividly purple they were.
The main growing season has now passed, though the slugs are still here. The fact that my colleagues gave me a box of organic slug pellets as part of my wedding present says it all. Everyone has heard me lament about my slug-ridden garden. I have now replanted most of my herbs and greens into pots with copper slug tape. It’s expensive stuff, though it does work. It may be too late, however, for my plants to recover from their slimy slaughter. My humble harvest of a handful of heritage potatoes and some sprigs of thyme, rosemary and parsley will have to do for now.
Read my earlier post, ‘The impatient gardener’, here.