Vanishing Carrots

I could cry when I look at this photo, this is how my carrots usually look around about now. The growing season this year has been a real mixed bag of baking hot or wet cold weather, it’s been either one or the other. My vegetable garden doesn’t know if it should spring into life or slink underground for cover.

Recently I’ve had a problem with slugs and snails eating my carrot seedlings at night (let’s face it, they have the upper hand with the weather being on their side), I found evidence of their night-time activities – sparkling slime trails across the surface of the soil and carrot seedlings half munched or gone completely. I placed a covering of prickly holly all the way round the rows and sowed more seed, I thought this would stop the little rascals in their slimy tracks, and for a while it appeared to be working.

Up popped my carrots once more, thanks to a spell of warm weather. All was looking good for a while, then the rain and cold came back and all 3 rows of my beautiful little carrot seedlings vanished. Gone. Almost as if the ground opened up and swallowed them whole, in one fell swoop. The carrot seed I’m using is fresh this year and I’ve rotated to avoid roots being in the same bed for 3 years running, the strange thing is the parsnips in the same bed are growing like the clappers and have remained untouched all the way through. So, this has got me thinking; Have I bought dodgy carrot seed? Are slugs and snails around these here parts partial to carrots only? Are slugs and snails actually to blame? Will I ever pull carrots this year?

I can only assume the weather has produced a bumper amount of slimers and they’re really enjoying my carrot growing efforts. I’ve never had a problem with slugs or snails to this extent before, I’m not one to go shaking slug pellets everywhere as I’ve never been into harming wildlife or my pets. Beer traps are just yucky things to deal with so I won’t be going down that route either. Perhaps I should give something like organic slug pellets a try (are they actually safe?) or sow in large pots, off the ground?

Are you having problems this year? Go on, tell me and make me feel better.

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27 comments

  1. You make me feel better about not having got round to sowing more carrot seed after my first lot disappeared in the first spell of heavy rain. I use those slug pellets and they do help – you need to spread them out fairly well. I believe it says on the packet that if you have a few together the smell deters slugs and snails while just one attracts them. I found ‘slug snub’ killed a few snails, too, but it is too expensive to use regularly. It’s basically coffee grounds, so if you have any of them, put a good helping around your most vulnerable plants.

    Our yellow lupin has been decimated by slugs and snails. Why can’t we just have moderate amounts of rain? What happened to our equable climate?

    The other day I went around the garden wearing rubber gloves and collected slugs and snails to give to the chickens who loved them. I put a few smaller ones on the bird table, too.

  2. Thanks for the tip on coffee grounds, I don’t have any but coffee shops such as Costa give them away at the counter. A good excuse for a good strong coffee!

  3. Too bad about the slugs. They are everywhere this year, even here in Illinois where we usually don’t see too many. We were on a hike and as my husband was taking a picture of my daughter and me, we realized that Jules had accidentally crushed one with her hand. It’s really hard to remove slug slime. I like your carrot photo!

  4. I have cutworms in my broccoli this year. Every morning I wake up and another beautiful plant is keeled over flat, sawed off right at the ground. I tried diatomaceous earth with no success and made little collars to put around them, which popped apart as soon as I watered. It’s a battle, and they’re winning.

  5. Well only but a couple of weeks ago I was happily using melons (a.k.a. slug houses) to catch and prevent slug/snail damage….

    http://katiepede.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/slug-house/

    However, since writing this post, the houses were overflowing, and they no longer prevented damage….so I resorted to night time movement of slugs and snails…. ( I confess, and this was not my finest hour, but a few were snipped with secateurs)…. and then some organic pellets were liberally spread….. xx Wishing you better sluggy/snail luck xx

  6. I sympathise, especially as I have no luck growing even half descent carrots.The one shown here – http://flightplot.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/my-very-wet-plot/ – in containers disappeared so I re-sowed them again a couple of weeks ago only to have it happen again. I’m debating if I should try yet again!
    I usually don’t have much of a problem with slugs and snails but this year I certainly have as you’ll see in the post I’ll be doing at the weekend. xx

  7. gingerskeeper – Oh your poor daughter! Ewww! They are horrid things, slugs. I’ve seen some huge ones this year, so big that my chickens have decided not to bother trying to eat them! Thank you for your comment on my photo, but I could cry, I really could! *sigh*

  8. anonymous3891 – Oh dear! That must be very deflating. Sorry to hear that, whoever said growing your own was easy eh?!

  9. katiepede – Such a brilliant idea! I’ve just left you a comment on your blog, thanks for that!

  10. Be assured! Horrible trouble with carrots this year! :-) We don’t have slugs it seems (we inherited a huge, untouched hosta!) yet! … But I’m struggling with low germination, cold and wet causing very slow growth and weed competition that’s almost insurmountable (we are reclaiming a lovely kitchen garden that’s been under nettles, docks and buttercups, with a heavy, acid, clay soil!) Needs so much muck and so much digging! I think carrots may be too ambitious this year :-(.
    Hope your situation can be improved, fast.
    Ever tried nemaslug? It worked miracles on our allotment. A bit pricey.

  11. Sally – The weather is making things difficult enough, but having slugs on the rampage is a nightmare! Sorry to hear you’re also having problems x

  12. A hard year for most, it seems. I have heard of Nemaslug, never had to think about it before though!

    I was hoping the frogs from our wildlife pond would keep the slug population down, I think even they’re struggling!

  13. We put in 20 seedlings about 4 weeks ago and within a week they were almost all gone! 3 very sad looking plants remained and I wasn’t sure what happened. I had assumed it was the pesky slimy creatures and we have another 20 seedlings from Rocket Gardens which have just arrived, so we’ll try again – i’m just hoping for some dryish weather (as I write this it’s tipping down! : )

  14. Tipping down here too! Even thinking about putting the heating on, brrrr! In June!!! Madness!!

  15. I forgot to say – 2 years ago we tried to grow all sorts of things in a raised bed, including tomatoes and lettuces etc – most of it survived even though there were slugs everywhere, thanks to 3 large sprout plants which all the slugs seemed to go for. The sprouts were sacrificed but most of the other plants were fine.

  16. I grow everything in raised beds, hence why I’ve never really had much of a slug problem before. This year though, it’s a totally different story.

  17. We had a very heavy frost and snowfall whilst the frig spawn was fresh. Not seen any for a while but we have a huge, natural pond. Maybe that’s the reason for few slugs … Plenty of Mosquitos nipping down my trouser top when I’m weeding!

  18. Same here – carrots didn’t come up at all first time – second sowing came up and vanished, despite me using all my usual anti slime brigade tricks.

    Parsnips in next door bed looking terrific, though!

    Fed up with rain – want to plant out my leeks but it is too wet to go on the soil :-((

  19. That’s interesting Compostwoman, exactly the same as me then. I was starting to think I had bought bad seed. I’m also fed up with the rain, gale force wind is forecast for some areas of the UK soon :/

  20. I have not got any carrots in the ground I wasn’t feeling that brave yet…….. I would like to report that the snails are thriving this year I have never seen so many. See on my blog that they were still on the weeds when I had to burn them because they were infested with black fly too. It is just gonna be one of those years.

  21. I had three rows of carrot seedlings decimated by slugs… it”s hard to take! I have been using coffee grounds to no effect. Trying cat litter at the moment and egg shells but I think it is too wet for anything to be effective. I noticed another plot holder had slug pellets down and his brassicas were nibble free, so I may have to give in to the blue stuff!

  22. Exactly the same problem here.
    Those that has grown their first true leaves seem ok but all the smaller seedlings have completely gone.
    I planted marigolds between rows to deter carrot fly. Despite the marigolds being, what I though, big enough for the slugs to take no interest… They took those too!
    I have my reserves in using slug pellets and would like to grow my veg as organically as possible and without spending too much. After all, isn’t that part of the reason of growing your own, pesticide-free produce?
    Incidentally, I came home with two (free) bags of spent coffee grounds yesterday. I am using them for both my wormery and as a direct soil impover around crops.
    I don’t really have much hope for the coffee grounds in deterring slugs. I wasn’t even going to put any anywhere near the carrots but I guess it’s worth a try after I make another sowing.
    I’ve never had this problem with slugs before.
    They usually stick to the strawberry patch!

    All slugs captured go straight to the hens!

  23. Yes I’m devastated I’ve no carrots. I’ve no parsnips either. It’s definitely slugs. I’m going to try one more time in a tight cloche. Pat

  24. Oh I have the exact same problem, my carrots are all being eaten by slugs. I’ve tried the coffe grounds and they didn’t work, I’m now going to try put fly tape on the top of my raised beds, hears hoping this will work.

  25. Slugs and snails, hate em! I know it’s no use to those in allotments etc but to those who grow in pots i have had success with copper tape. Got a few rolls off Ebay for only a couple of quid stuck it around the tops of pots and slimy monsters stay well away. We had a few pots that had no tape on and they had loads of the blighters! Just be aware that they climb and cross from plant to plant etc. If you cant use copper tape i have had success years ago with beer traps, and the mother in law swore by egg shells as a deterrent.

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