Well that’s what it seems like when you plant Marigold seedlings. Unless you protect them slugs and snails will happily make their way towards your precious seedlings, over a 24/48 hour period and feast on them leaving you only some unattractive slimed stalks.
15th April: Things I have been doing today.
🌻 Plant out Marigold seedlings: if you look back over old postings you will see that I planted a range of seeds on March 2nd. Some of these have already been planted out including Butternut Squash and Melons, but now it is the turn of the Marigolds. If you have not grown Marigolds before you are now too late, but next year give them a go. Marigolds are so “easy” they are literally plant trollops.
Because of the high temperatures at this time of year you have to make sure that your seedlings get off to a good start. First with your trowel dig a small hole about four inches deep. Fill this with water and let it drain into the soil. In advance you should have mixed some compost from your compost heap together with some shop bought compost to produce a loamy rich compost. Place about and inch of this into the bottom of your planting hole and then place the seedling on top of this fill in the remainder of the hole with the compost and mix a little soil that you dug from the hole. When this is complete water well. Marigolds like water so be sure to build them around your irrigation system. I tend to plant three or four marigolds around an irrigation point. (See photo).
Lastly, and this is the most important, today I have planted 60 Marigolds and I do not want to see my labour wasted. In our garden I protect Marigolds from two types of pests. The first is great gallumping Labradors who happily tear off across flower beds at the first hint of strangers passing our house. To stop them I place cross canes over each group of Marigolds. In the past I have tied string between each group of canes, but gave up when one or both of my dogs would leap around the garden wrapped up in canes and twine like dog Houdinis performing a trick badly.
The second and greatest pests are slugs and snails. Marigolds are like heroin to a junkie to snails. They just cannot get enough of them and will travel long distances to be at the feast. When you first plant your seedlings out, nothing tends to happen for 24 hours. This gives you a false sense of security. But in fact they are all making their way towards the feast you have provided. Unless you protect your seedlings within 48 hours every one will be eaten. The best and simplest way is slug pellets; sprinkle them around each plant and within 48 hours you will have massacred all potential feasters and ruined their party.