They come out at night, sliming out of their slimy little hidey-holes, covered in slime, leaving their slimy trail and making a slime-line for every sweet juicy shoot in MY garden. They've already got their slimy schedule worked out, spying on me lovingly planting out fruit, vegetables and things which have no name, because I lost the packet. I hate them, I hate them, I HATE them!
Blue poison pellets have seen off many of their slimy ancestors, but the fittest have survived. Bigger, better and slimier, with voracious appetites. It was time, I decided, for radical action. Not the type taken by a former colleague who bashed the brains out of squirrels with a cricket bat – vermin, she assured me, giving slugs an equally gruesome end by snipping them with scissors. No, I said to Noel, if I'm going to be a seer-off of slugs, I'll do it as humanely as possible. Without slime.
Tucked away in a corner at the Harrogate Flower Show stood white-coated clever people who promised to solve not only the slug problem, but also rid us of coddling moth, ants and leather jackets, something I'd not worried about up until them, but now I'm not sure I ever want to go into the garden again, good grief, how can there BE so many creepy-crawlies? Naturally I trusted their white coats, they must have been at least PhDs, if not proper professors. And they had fridges, charts on easels and microscopes focused on something wriggly.
They were the Nemotode People, explaining that the clear plastic boxes stacked in the fancy fridges, filled with something that looked like cake crumbs contained a zillion little creatures who just loved to sock it to slugs, eatling slime for breakfast, dinner and tea. If I cared to look at them under the microscope, I could see them doing their work. No, I said, I didn't care to look, I don't like creepy crawlies I can see, those I can't see I like even less. Agh, they could be on me even now!
So I made Noel buy some and carry them at arms length the mile back to the car. When we got them home, I insisted they be wrapped in at least ten metres of clingfilm before they went anywhere near our fridge. If they were so microscopic, they might make their way into the pavlova….
Getting the Nemotades to the slugs meant putting the cake crumbs into lots of water, then spreading it on the garden, using a watering can with a large rose – in case the little fellas had fattened up in the meantime. Ew, ew, EWWWW.
I was totally freaked by the whole thing, until Noel, who has never succumbed to any marketing, pointed out that there was no evidence that the crumbs contained anything, it could be some kind of placebo. Well, I said, if that's the case, you won't mind opening the packet and doing the spreading thing, then.