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garlic

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Meatless Monday

I've been following a blogger who writes a recipe every Monday to celebrate eating vegetables. My meatless Monday recipe is courgette soup because I've got lots of them.

ImageOur local allotment holders sell off surplus vegetables on Saturday mornings and this week I managed to get some lovely leeks. I don't think I've ever bought leeks in summer before because I've always assumed they would have hard flower stalks in the middle but these haven't - they're very good. So I cooked up leeks and courgettes with garlic, chopped fresh thyme and a bit of left over green pepper, in vegetable stock. Whizzing it up in the blender and adding black pepper and cream just finished it off nicely (soya creme in my case). I ate it for lunch with wholemeal bread baked on the premises at Wingham bakery and Canterbury Cheesemakers' lovely Shaggy's Beard goat cheese. Delicious and very virtuous!

Now, if I don't get out there quickly in all this rain those delicate little courgettes will all turn into great big marrows overnight... and the snails will get them!

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Newsflash! Snails don't like garlic!

The most common question I get is ‘How do you stop the snails eating everything in your garden?’

‘If snails are a nuisance: eat them! That’s what they’re for.’ That’s my reply.

ImageYesterday I spent the hottest day of the year so far out in the sun at Slow Summer Snail Farm trying to persuade my snails to strut their stuff before their audience. They took the commonsense approach of opening one eye to see if there was any food around then going back to sleep – it was Sunday after all!

So I got on with some weeding. I had a local radio station on the phone one day last week asking me why slugs and snails only eat the plants we value and don’t eat weeds. I tried to explain that I didn’t think their assumption was true so they asked if there was an expert they could talk to instead of me. My answer was the wrong one and presumably they were only interested in hearing they were right. If it’s a small delicate newly formed leaf then it’s fair game – weed or not.

I find the best method of stopping slugs and snails from eating my vegetables is to go out at dusk with a jar of salty water and catch them at it. There are copper strips, beer traps and all sorts of clever devices on the market for keeping them off your lettuces and out of your pots. If you feel compelled to use those nasty blue pellets don’t spread them all over the place and especially not round the plants you are trying to protect because they are attractive to slugs and snails. Put just a few in the places where snails might congregate to sleep during the day – under flower pots or piles of bricks.

But I think garlic spray is worth a try. I heard you can just make up a solution of garlic and spray it onto your treasured plants and it will keep those little teeth away – they don’t like the smell of garlic. Rain would wash it off of course so you’d have to repeat the exercise until the leaves are tough enough to survive. I’m going to try it at home.

Let me know how you get on with it.

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