This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Veg Villains (courgette, bean, sunflower, radish)

Not long ago (18th May) I was posting my first courgette flower. I hardened off the courgette plants and planted one in a large pot out the back door near the kitchen (so I could keep an eye on it).

To my horror, something nibbled my first courgette! At first I thought something big like a bird, but you can see in the photo the guilty well fed slug.

Not just one slug but a whole family of slugs were having a feast on my first courgette (photo below).

Above: Something is eating its way through my potatoes too - maybe slugs?
Ants seem to be nibbling on my sunflowers! I didn't know ants eat sunflowers?

I seem to have a record number of ants this year!
Left: the remains of one of my Purple Queen Dwarf Bean plants. It wilted the day after I planted it into the ground. 

I lifted the plant to have a look and the whole thing came away. At first I thought it may have something to do with a large chive plant I dug up & moved; I put the bean in its place. But the roots have been devoured so maybe something was eating on it? Or it could have gotten damaged by the recent gales as I was hardening it off outside... ?
Suppose the good news... even if some little critter (probably a slug) took the first bite out of my radish (bite pictured in the photo), I did pull up a few radishes to eat. This time they are lovely, not like the radishes I posted about on 29th April that had been growing over winter (big mistake; what a learning curve).

What to do with  my radishes...
I had chunky Irish stew planned for dinner so I put some home grown rocket on top with sliced radishes. Maybe a strange combination, but quite yummy. 

I've had lots of problems with blogger this week and I haven't been able to comment on many blogs. Very frustrating!


  1. So disheartening to work so hard and to anxiously await good things from the garden, only to be wiped out by tiny insects. I've heard that slugs like beer. Perhaps some Guinness might help. cheers. ann

  2. Hi Kelli ~ rotten slugs! Your sweet little courgette, munched away by the villain slug family. I've caught a fat one munching on my pumpkins. I tossed it (into the neighbor's yard) a good distance only to return a few days later and I swear, the same beast was munching away on the pumpkins again. Despite my desire to not sure chemicals, I will admit, I've resorted to slug bait (pet and kid friendly). I've also be putting crushed egg shells around my lettuce as I think you were right about the slugs devouring my first crop. I dunno if it will work, or if you are even suppose to put eggshells out..but I'm out of other ideas as it's been raining too much to put out beer. sigh. Congrats on the radishes. I've got my little dudes ready for a tasty salad tomorrow night :) Cheers to Radishes!

  3. Your stew looks really delicious. Wish I have a bowl of it too. My goodness those snail is pretty hungry. That is the first time I have seen zucchini eaten like that by a group of snail. Do you think you still have time to direct snow a new batch of beans?They grow very fast.

  4. It's very frustrating! I currently only have a postage stamp garden and last year all 5 french bean plants, all 3 courgette plants and 2 out of the 7 runner beans were eaten over night by the little critters! Every day I had to remove 10's of slugs and snails from the remaining runners. I haven't bothered this year as we are moving at the end of June. My mum and dad swear by egg shells and they have a dedicated cupboard in the kitchen to store all used egg shells over the winter ready for the growing season. I used to think it was a bit odd, but I totally understand now!

  5. Your bean problem looks like the one I had. Maybe you should try the nematode treatment?
    love the radish pics - so much better than the over-wintered ones you had.
    Fortunately I am not having much problem with slugs this year. It is probably too dry for them. Most of the ones I have seen are in my compost bins.

  6. Thanks for your comments.

    Ann, I was acutally lying in bed last night thinking I might try Guinness on the slugs. Guinness is stronger than normal beer so might be good. Will have to give it a go.

    Diana / Mark, I've 5 Purple Queen Dwarf Bean left in three different areas of the garden. I was thinking about sowing a few more as they are quick to germinate and the pack suggests staged sowing.

    Jenni / Alison, thinking i may ask my friends to start saving their egg shells for me! I don't use alot of eggs so I'd have to call upon others to help me out.

  7. I've been having problems commenting on certain blogs too. I've found that when it takes me to the log in page, if I leave the keep me logged in box unticked, it will allow me to comment. It might work for you too, it's worth a try. It's so disheartening having to share our lovely produce with all manner of critters, but that's nature I suppose. There's always something every year which succumbs. Your radish look lovely and plump, I bet they tasted delicious.

  8. I;ve lost some plants to the winds this year and my first radishes (in the greenhouse) were nibbled by flea beetles. The ones outside don't seem to be affected at all. Stew looks wonderful and warming.

  9. So glad you radishes turned out! They look gorgeous! The critters around here take their share, too. It's the deer that are the most frustrating - they take big bites!

  10. Hi Kelli, Sweet Elly (Elly's tuin) told me how to fix the comment thing and I did. She said when blogger sent the sign in page up, to delete the check in the "stay signed in" box and it would work. Low and behold it did, so now I can comment! I would like to say that bloggers, as a whole, are so nice and helpful to each other. It is amazing!

    I hope your slugs all died of too much beer! Your radishes look so appetizing and colorful on that lovely stew. Looks delicious! Have a wonderful week.

  11. Hi Kelli, your blog is one of the ones I have not been able to leave comments on due to Blogger, matron advised downloading Google Chrome and so far it has worked!
    What a heartbreaking sight to see so many plants munched on,it has been so dry here of late we have not had much slug damage, (fingers crossed)

  12. I had to uncheck the 'stay signed in' box on yours as well!

  13. Hi Kelli, thank you for joining Busy B. Try to put some snail traps into ground. Simply fill in a plastic container with beer (e.g. yoghurt glass) and dig it into vegetable bed or see my last post here

    Try mulching the beds with straw. It keeps the moisture, keeps the fruits laying on the ground and keeps the snails off the bed because it is difficult for them to crawl over. Happy gardening!