Gardener’s ‘absolutely brilliant’ secret weapon to kill slugs – ‘eaten from the inside out

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Gardener Mark Lane, who presents on the BBC’s Gardeners’ World among other programmes, has an experienced green finger. He told his “absolutely brilliant” method to get rid of slugs.

Mark unleashes tiny creatures into his garden to do his work for him.

He explained: “The one I find that works best for us here is a thing called nematodes.”

Also known as eelworms, they are natural and organic. Whereas typical slug pellets of the past pose toxic risks to birds and other beneficial garden wildlife.

Mark went on: “Nematodes are these microscopic worms.”

He buys them on the internet and said: “When they arrive in the post, they look a bit like dry yeast.

“You have to keep them in the freezer because they’re a live culture.”

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How do gardeners use nematodes?

“What you do is you mix them up in a watering can.

“You sprinkle them into the water and then you water the soil around your plants when gardening.

“What happens is then those little nematodes get to work.”

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How exactly do nematodes work?

The details may not suit the squeamish.

“They go get into the slug, and get inside the body.

“They will lay their eggs inside the slug and the slug is eaten from the inside out.

“They are harmless to humans. Harmless children, animals, everybody, they are absolutely brilliant.”

How often should a gardener apply these hardworking little creatures to their garden?

Mark said: “I apply them twice a year, once it was springtime, once in autumn.”

While nematodes can live and work in the soil for two years, applying them annually or twice per year is recommended.

Nematodes can be bought online for around £15 for a packet.

Mark also suggested the best vegetables and flowers to plant in September, saying “they’ll see you through the winter months”. 

He advised planting spinach and radishes this month.

He also suggested oriental lettuces and violas or pansies.

He said: “They will see you from September all the way through to March next year, giving you colour.”

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