I have been experimenting with different beers in my jam-jar traps to see how cheaply I can keep them topped up as it can get expensive replacing the beer once a week ( if you leave it longer it starts smelling horrible). One bottle only does about 5 traps so it's good to check out prices. I tried Sainsbury's basic bitter in cans, which was the cheapest they have at about 25p per can...BUT IT DIDN'T WORK! I watched the little blighters climb in, have a drink and come out again. Looking at the small print on the can I noticed that it was only about 2.1% alcohol. Real ale is 4.5 to 5.5 proof - that kills them but is more expensive.
To cut a long story short, I have discovered that you need a beer of over 3% to kill the swines. I found one which was 3.6% and that worked, but I can't remember the name. So the morale of the tale is: check the alcohol content.
Is it worth it? Undoubtedly yes, if you value your crops and your wildlife. I notice that my hedgehog is making preparations for hibernating in the home I provided for him. Perhaps he likes slugs marinated in alcohol!
The photo above is of one slug doing a useful job so I took a picture of it rather than killing it!
Anyway, here's a round up of jobs in the veg plot:
- Plant winter onion sets, e.g. 'radar'.
- Plant over-wintering broad beans such as 'aquadulce'.
- Mulch or dig in compost.
- Plant strawberries then mulch and put straw around them to protect from frosts.
- Tomatoes won't do anything else now, so cut off the green ones and bring inside to ripen off. Pull up the plants and check for signs of blight before disposing of them. If there are patches of brown stem put them in the brown bin, not in the compost heap and then wash out plants pots they were grown in, or if grown in grow bags, empty spent compost well away from any growing areas and bin the bag. Blight stays in the ground for years. That' s why I stopped growing tomatoes in the veg plot some years ago.
- If you still have runner beans try to leave a couple of pods on to ripen off. Wait till they go brown before picking then store the seed in a brown paper envelope in a cool place till next year.
Each year some things work and some things don't - here's a round up of my successes and failures:
- Tomatoes - very good
- Carrots - rubbish!
- Runner beans - slow to get started but not too bad now.
- French beans - I had to resort to growing in a large pot with a copper band round. Limited success there.
- Courgettes and squash - OK to begin with but they quickly became exhausted.
- Rhubarb - has disappeared!
Such fun! Every year is different! What went well for you?