The forecast is set for rain all weekend with thunder and lightning, then some more rain for pretty much the whole of next week. With this in mind I made the decision to pull the garlic yesterday while the soil is still dry.
I grow my garlic from saved seed garlic that I have kept going for many years, it’s a big strapping hardneck variety called Red Duke and it’s one of the best I’ve ever grown. I’m very pleased with the harvest, nice looking bulbs with no sign of rot. Leek rust on garlic leaves has been present on other plots for a few weeks now, it only really took hold of my garlic this week and there’s still plenty of green on the leaves. There’s a touch of allium leaf minor action on some of the garlic stems, I picked off the little cocoons and set the bulbs aside to be used first in the kitchen. As usual, I will keep the biggest and healthiest bulbs back for replanting in November.
After taking delivery of untreated scaffold planks to make raised beds I was struck with how bright the wood was, it was a sunny day and the glare really hurt my eyes. I purposely chose untreated wood to lessen the risk of anything nasty leeching into the soil so I had to find something non toxic to safely preserve my wood a bit longer, and for the sake of everyone’s eyesight at the allotment, hopefully dull the brightness down a bit. Raw linseed oil seems to be very popular but it can take months to fully dry, unfortunately that wasn’t going to work with the time frame I had in mind. I stumbled across a product called Eco Wood Treatment, a non-toxic wood stain preserver which is perfectly safe for using on raised beds for growing edibles. It gives a rustic, aged weathered look and only needs applying once.
Eco Wood Treatment works by penetrating wood fibres to create a natural buffer against water and fungal decay. Just one application is all that’s ever needed, it doesn’t fade or peel. Eco Wood Treatment increases durability of wood while creating an aged, silvery patina after just a few hours.
I used the 4.5 litres pack which had a 40 grams sachet of powder inside which will treat 14sqm, approximately 10 grams per litre dilution rate. It’s really simple to use, just add the contents of the sachet inside the box (powder composed of natural substances derived from minerals) to 4.5 litres of water and stir until completely mixed, it ended up looking similar to the colour of strong tea. At this point I was beginning to think the colour of my raised beds wouldn’t be as I’d hoped, the product promises an attractive weathered finish and I’d set my heart on this being the case but the David Dickinson orangey liquid in the bucket made me nervous. I began painting my raised beds which was quite a messy job, I think dipping sections of wood into the product would have been easier but my raised beds were already assembled so this wasn’t possible. I do like to make things more difficult for myself.
Not long after generously splashing on the product I began to see the wood take on a lovely silvery patina, clearly seen in the photos below.
I’m really pleased with the resulting colour which will continue to darken over the coming months, it’s such a lovely weathered look and the raised beds blend into the surroundings much better. My raised beds are protected, organic and totally safe for growing food.
This review is based entirely on my own experience of using Eco Wood Treatment. At the time of writing this review I cannot vouch for the longevity of my raised beds but this is something I can comment on in time.
An allotment is the ultimate all-you-can-eat buffet to a slug, just without the invite. I’ve never been tempted to use traditional slug pellets, I just don’t see the point of attracting the things to my veg in the first place and it doesn’t sit right with me, poisoning my soil and other wildlife too. And I’m probably going to be heckled for admitting this but I’ll put it out there anyway…I don’t like the thought of killing slugs either (I’m a live and let live kinda girl) so I’ve been looking into safer, healthier and cruelty-free ways of controlling them for all concerned.
Slug Gone wool pellets have caught my attention many times over, I like the idea of using a natural product on my allotment and not killing anything in the process. There are other benefits to using wood pellets too, once wet the pellets swell and spread out to form a protective woolly mat (irritating the foot of slugs and snails) which acts as a mulch, supressing weeds and retaining moisture. This mat stays put for a long while, protecting your plants even through prolonged wet or dry weather as it has on my allotment, but it will eventually biodegrade, releasing organic nutrients back into the soil.
If you’ve never heard of these slug pellets before take a quick peek at the video below for a demo.
But do they work?
Well, for me on my allotment anyway I can say yes they do. I planted out lots of brassica which slugs love at the end of May, with June being unusually wet the slugs and snails partied hard around the allotment site but not a sign of their activities on my plants protected by Slug Gone. Even comfrey stayed damage-free which is usually a slug magnet.
I didn’t have the luck of being sent a sample of Slug Gone in exchange for a blog post, I bought a 10 litre tub with my hard-earned pennies pounds, yes, the price tag is pretty hefty so there’s my first and only negative and you do need to put down quite a lot around plants hence why I went for a massive tub (oops there’s another negative), but they work so I don’t mind so much. This review is completely based on my own needs and wants for slug control and if I’m going to continue to be so honest I guess I was dubious at the start. I mean, if it doesn’t kill then it can’t work, right????
See for yourself if you like them, just don’t pass out on the floor when you see the price.