Thursday, April 6, 2017

Slater Traps

I want to get back into growing most of our vegies again but am having trouble with too many slaters again.  Every now and then I notice that they have built up in numbers again, seedlings disappear, tomatoes get eaten,
This year we planted a whole pile of assorted seedlings.  Twice.  Both times I have gone out the next day to water and they have all been gone.  Eaten by bleedin" slaters.  We get slaters here.  Lots of slaters.  Some people say that they are not a problem, they only eat rubbish stuff, they help clean up the gardens.  I say no, they are horrible little critters that eat any newly planted plant.  They can eat out the inside of a rockmelon from the bottom up and you wont know until you go to pick the rockmelon.  They eat potatoes.  Tomatoes.  Chockoes...

They hide under mulch and sneak out in the dark and gobble up anything green.  So I have removed most of the mulchy stuff and because they seem to  love Choko leaves that is what I am using for traps.  I pick a dozen or so leaves and put them around the gardens.  Overnight the slaters go to the leaves and start munching away. 

The next morning I come out early and lift the leaf and give the slaters a blast of flame from the gas gun.  I hope it is quick, I try for it to be because even though I don't like them eating all our food I do want them killed in a humane-ish way.  So quick is the aim.

This is one job that I get slack on though.  If I come out and there is only 1 leaf of the 2 in the trap left then I know numbers are dwindling.  But I also know that I need to keep up checking, laying down leaves and blasting any slaters under them. 

Without using poisons how do you rid your food garden of these pests?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Plus 1

Add 1 more chicken to the list. 

We had a chook sitting, on lots of eggs as, I think, other chooks would keep laying in her hidden nest.  At one stage there were around 14 so we locked the other chooks out of this pen and let this chook sit.  We waited.  And waited.  But nothing.  I decided that after so long, way longer than 3 weeks, that the eggs were not fertile and that I would remove them and lock this clucky up to de-cluckify her.
But there were no longer 14 eggs, only a few...I removed them anyway when this chook was off getting food.   I intended to catch her and lock her up in a small cage for a few days.  But *forgot*   Husband and I went to Tasmania for 3 weeks.  This chook was sitting on eggs again as some of our chooks jump the 6 foot high fence to get into this pen.  Daughter found her and named her Mango, as she was in the yard with mango trees.  We were away for 22 days.   Came back and she was still sitting on eggs and this time I was sure going to remove her eggs and lock her away.  But I promptly forgot about her again.  A few days ago I saw her out getting food and she had 1 little chicken with her.  I looked in her nest and there were 4 cold eggs in there.

We caught her and she was so light...I am a really bad chook person to let her sit for so long.  But she is now safe, in the covered chicken pen with the other mumma chooks and their chickens.  

I am so glad that she ended up with a baby after sitting for so long but I really need to check hidden nests and under bushes and trees as most of these chickens have come from hidden away nests that we knew nothing of until we saw the chickens out with their mum.

I wonder why the amount of eggs drops off, I look around the pens, under bushes, under trees, in the long grass...but I find nothing.  This morning husband has a look and finds 2 hidden nests.  Eighteen eggs.  That could have been fertile as the rooster is with these chooks...We need NO more chickens though so I removed the eggs and will feed some to the dogs and the rest back to the chooks.  And I have whippersnippered the area so there is less places for the chooks to nest.  A bit more to go but that is the Boysenberry area and the runners are everywhere so if I go in chopping it all to bits then it will spread even further into places we don't want it.  HoHum...A big job for later when it cools down a bit.