What a warm September we have had. As a result I was busy early in the month sowing seeds and planting out ready for the season.

I tried sowing seeds in paper pots that I had folded. This worked really well except for the odd heavy rain shower which kept the pots too wet and the bottoms became very flimsy. Also, on warmer days, which we had plenty of, the pots would begin to dry out. So it was a bit of a juggle to keep them just right. Particularly if I was not able to get into the garden.

The best part was planting the pots straight into the soil. The seedlings handled the transition easily. I have limited my use of these pots to those plants whose seedlings do not transplant too well.

In the meantime I had discovered packets of seeds that I have had for some time and decided to scatter them through the garden. Some of these came up within days. Mainly radish and rocket. Others may not even sprout, but I am open to surprises.

The back of the garden has become much more of a jungle in the last few weeks. Gradually I have added potted plants here and there to make watering easier and have found that it has kept the soil moist and created a more varied environment. As a result, many of the cuttings of plants that I had planted months ago and forgotten about have survived frosts and emerged with vigor.

A few weeks back I also had what I can only describe as a huge outbreak of slugs. I was finding them everywhere in the morning and evenings. There was only so much collecting and feeding to the goldfish I could do. The goldfish clearly loved the protein and one even appears to be ready to lay eggs – and the compost bin could only take so much newspaper which I had scrunched up and placed amongst lettuce and cabbages to trap snails and slugs.

Recently a friend suggested I try a brand of snail and slug pellets that are iron chelate based and that break down to a safe form. I scattered some of these pellets last Monday afternoon and did not get out into the garden until Wednesday morning. I was amazed and a little taken back by the speed at which the pellets had worked. There wasn’t much to see at first – but I did notice the lack of slugs. Then I noticed snail shells lying on the rock pebbles and I realized that they had taken the bait. Some where clearly dead. Others looked alive, but in-active and I suspect were on their way out. On closer inspection I noticed slugs that had dried with yesterdays heat. They too had obviously taken the bait.

So it appears to have worked well in reducing the slugs and snails to a manageable level. I won’t scatter any more until I notice slugs are back and even then I will probably be able to keep them in check with the previous methods used.

The carrot tops I started to propagate in July are now looking very robust and I think they will be ready to flower in a couple more weeks. These were organic carrots that I will endeavor to save the seeds from and grow them myself.

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