My veg growing this year has taken something of a Darwinian turn. Forget carefully chosen produce and well planned beds, it has been much more a case of 'survival of the fittest'.
This is all thanks to those pesky slugs and snails (I have many more appropriate adjectives I could use there, but I shall resist). They have demolished almost every crop - and sadly seem particularly fond of lettuce which is making our salads a little bare.
Of course we've tried to combat them but sharp gravel, crushed eggshells and overpriced copper tape don't seem to make a blind bit of difference. Plus I refuse to use slug pellets (on environmental principles) or beer traps (on wasting alcohol principles).
Thankfully, gastropods have a weakness: they can't fly.
This single fact has solved our salad issues.
I give you.... the lettuce ball.
This is very easy for kids to plant. All you need to do is line two round hanging baskets with moss and then insert the lettuce through the gaps. It's easiest to do this whilst resting both halves on buckets for support. You then fill the voids with compost before getting an adult to - very quickly - sandwich the two halves together.
Reuse the hanging wires from one of the baskets by attaching them where both baskets meet before finally hanging the 'ball' up somewhere easily accessible and giving it a good water.
We hung ours from the playhouse so the children can pick off leaves when they want.
Ava and Oscar have very helpfully demonstrated how to create the lettuce ball in this film. Sadly it is also a demonstration of how much they can annoy each other.