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The killer slug, Arion lusitanicus, have invaded the garden

It’s been many years since the killer slugs was found in a garden nearby. Since then I have every summer expected the invasion. Now it happened, with many years of delay. I have found two adults and four youths in all, on three occasions, within the last three weeks. I have often searched in the garden morning or evening without finding any killer slugs. But now I probably should get the habit of these late walks to round up the slugs, and I hope it will become a dear habit.
They are nicknamed killer slugs, but we are killing more of them, than visa-versa.

A lot of snails and slugs live in the garden already. Since the news of killer slugs approaching, I’ve been more gentle towards my old snails and slugs. It visible in the number of burgundy snails, which has increased from rare to ordinary. They eat tits and bits of my plants, but less than would be annoying. I want them to stay, so I will not use poison or nematodes against the killer slugs. Change my mind later? Maybe! But first I will try to find a balanced way to live with them, and only kill them individually, when I find them, not to suppress my friends, the “old” snails and slugs.

Does anybody know for certain, if the are edible – maybe even delicious?
I could build a cage to collect them, until enough for an hors d’oeuvre. This way I might even be thankful for the day they finally arrived 🙂

From my “old snails and slugs” I have learned, that some things, like germinating melons must be protected, or they will feast on the tender sprouts. But when the plants get just a little larger, they are out of danger. Coffee, ground, fresh or from used filters, keep my “old” snails and slugs off the germinating plants, and no harm done (I hope). I will continue and intensify the use of coffee (it’s also good for the soil).

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Alice in one of her brassica beds

Alice grow her garden to harvest green leaves during winter. She’s very consistent in this, more so than I’ve seen by other gardeners. This makes her garden a very interesting wonderland. She grows a lot of brassicas, and select hardy varieties. The hardiness is naturally selected, as Alice save a lot of the seeds in her own garden, year after year.

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Savoy Cabbage sown in autumn

Alice shared her knowledge on autumn sowing of cabbage for an early harvest next year. About being dependent on the autumn weather after sowing. If it’s too warm, the cabbage grow to a size where the low winter temperature induce flowering in the spring. If you try avoiding this by sowing later, the seeds might not sprout until spring, and you will not harvest earlier than if springsown. This spring half the savoy cabbage have gone to flowers, but the other half very soon form big heads. Alice tells she avoid saving seeds from these early bloomers. I didn’t ask, but I guess she harvest the savoy heads when mature, and then leave the roots and stalks to form flowers and produce seeds.

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Most plants grow where nature let the seed meet the soil

As Alice produce a lot of her own seed, there is a lot of seed scatter. In spring they germinate, and Alice has to sow very little. Instead the best volunteers are transplanted or eaten at the babyleaf stage, and the rest treated as weed. In the photo is among other vegetables a row of spinach beet she will harvest during the next winter.

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Italian Winter savory (Satureja montana), or would it be a kind of thyme (Thymus sp.)?

The Italian Winter savory was remarquable. First I thought it was an unusual lemon thyme, a bit similar to my own. A green carpet, an aromatic herb with a note of thyme. The Italian Winter Savory she found at a local greengrocer as and ordinary kitchen windowsill herb years ago. She is not really sure, if it is a Winter savory or perhaps a weird kind of thyme. It sets no seed, although there is both ordinay Winter savory and thyme in the garden to interbreed with. It’s an efficiant groundcover – Alice tells a little plant will cover a square meter in a year, it flowers in may and is perfectly hardy in Denmark, even in clay soils. I got a bit of it, and now it has to be kept within its boundaries, either by me or neighboring plants!

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Alice’s frontgarden

The frontgarden is full of romantic flowers, a flowering meadow. It seemed to have flowers for all seasons. This peticular day the columbines, geraniums and veronicas were the super stars. It must have taken a lot of years to find the right balance between the many species, and Alice told, that the Thalictrums tended to take over, so every year she will pick out a lot of them.

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One of the many small nurseries in the garden

Alice is a generous woman, and here and there in the garden you will find a little nursery. She is potting up a lot of plants, giving them tender loving care, until they leave for the right home. No reason to fear the killerslugs, though they live in the neighborhood. She use nematodes, and no plant seems to leave the garden without a douche of nematode water. The garden lies next to a meadow and a lake. Even if she keep the killeslugs at stake so they don’t bother her, they reinvade her garden again and again from the meadow.

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Alice sets out to clean seeds of Musk-mallow (Malva moschata)

Alice is a routined seed saver. It’s a pleasure to see her clean a large batch of Musk-mallow seed in no time. The dried seeds are in the barrel. She rub and turns the seeds vigoriously a few minutes. Then she dives to the bottom retrieving hands full of released seeds. She sift them through old outworn kitchen sieves with different mesh sizes. In this way she first get rid of the rough debris, then the fine debris smaller then the seeds. The final touch is blowing the last debris ower the edge of a flat tray. All done in five minutes!

Thanks for a great garden experience.
Slightly changed on 9th. of july 2009, as Alice gave me feedback.