Monday, June 27, 2016

Hostas: Slugs and Snails

 Monday, June 27, 2016

A clear morning here on the mountain as I pack the truck to head to the flower farm for the day. Crows are talking loudly at the compost pile, fighting over parings from a cantaloupe. The sky is clear, the morning without wind. This is the best part of today because the weather folks tell us to expect high humidity and temperatures in the 90s later on. 

The dry temperature has brought on weevils in the hostas. These tiny black and brown insects make the bazillion little holes that bother us to see in some hosta leaves. There's not much we can do about them save for chemical treatments which most of us avoid.

This time of year we typically see increasing numbers of slugs and snails but the numbers have been down because it has been so dry. This afternoon we are to expect thunderstorms and tomorrow heavy rains are supposed to approach. With these changes, we may see more slugs and snails in the hosta plants.

Many years ago I read some research from Hawaii where the Department of Agriculture was on a mission to quiet a noisy tree frog that disrupted tourists sleep patterns. One of the outcomes of the research was finding that caffeine kills slugs and snails and that hosta growers could use coffee to not only improve the organic content of their garden soils but eliminate pesky slugs that added unsightly holes to hosta leaves. As soon as I read the research I told all my hosta friends and I also started taking the coffee grounds directly to hosta gardens instead of the compost pile. I'll always remember starting with the hosta Invincible because its thin, shiny green leaves always seemed to be a magnet for slugs. The great news was that it worked!

So if you drink coffee or know friends or shop owners who will part with coffee grounds, move them to your hostas--the grounds, not the friends. Encircle each plant and smile for a change. Hostas without holes in July and August are just plain nice!!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where the cool morning is nice but I have to get to work in the valley. Come visit us!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa, a FB page with lots of flower pictures.
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Writing on various gardening-related sites

And always here to help you grow your green thumb!

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