Anyone who grows their own food, or indeed gardens at all, will know that it’s a roller coaster of a ride. Sometimes all is going great and you’re on the up and other times you’re plummeting downwards wondering why on earth you bother doing this. Okay, maybe not quite to that extreme, but most of the time its an odd mixture of the two at the same time, little moments of ‘yay’ and then in the next breath ‘oh no, what happened to that?’.
I read a blog posting somewhere – or maybe it was an instagram comment, I forget – by somebody complaining that slugs had completely demolished something they’d been growing since March, and how disheartening it is. I feel their pain, but I do hope that it doesn’t put them off. I think experiences like this, put off a lot of people who have attempted to grow their own for the first time, and it’s a huge shame. Those of us who have been doing it for a while are a little (and I mean a smidgen) more hardened to it. I think, like any small set backs or failures in life, you have to accept it, learn from it, and then carry on regardless. Even Monty Don had blight on his box hedging and had to take out the whole lot, and I’m sure, nay certain, that he’s lost plants to slugs before now. It’s all part and parcel of growing and working with mother nature who can be very cruel at times.
So, I was thinking about this when I popped down to my plot yesterday afternoon and discovered that the slugs have been having a big old shindig in all the rain we’ve had recently, (I would use the word beanfeast, but that’s about the only thing they’ve left untouched).
I had a whole row of tiny lettuce seedlings that inevitably have now dissappeared, the tops of my mange-tout peas have been nibbled down to the ground, they’ve attacked the spinach and even the leaves on the swedes (pictured above).
Also, just as the strawberries are beginning to ripen, they’re getting eaten too. Strange how I never manage to catch one in the act though, so I do wonder whether mice are managing to squeeze through the chicken wire, and have a taste for fresh strawberries. Who could blame them.
My allotment plot is never going to be perfect, I don’t do perfect because I’m not competitive or ambitious enough, but thats fine with me. I have a neighbour who blasts his plot with toxic weedkiller (as you can see from the state of my grass path), and by contrast a neighbour on the other side who is rarely there and lets the weeds grow and self seed merrily. But I don’t get fussed over either. I have weeds galore, I have some pathetic looking broad beans that I bought cheap and hoped would recover and bulk up (they never have and never will) and I have a whole assortment of bugs, some good, some a little bit annoying. Such is life.
On the flip side, when things grow well and you get a good harvest, it is so much more joyous than if it had all just been a walk in the park!