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  • Writer's pictureGraham Tapp

Garden Slimes - A child's garden favourite

Updated: May 20

The Guide to Garden Slimes found in your home garden.





 

Every child's favourite


Most of you will have seen one at some time, but have probably not realised what it was.


According to the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society), slime mould is the informal name given to unrelated organisms that can live freely as single cells but often clump together to form larger structures.


Did you know that in the United State of America (USA), slimes have been reported to have grown to thirty metres across? Don't worry, the British weather keeps them in check.


These fascinating creatures thrive in wet, damp conditions, using host plants only for vertical support, rather than live plants for food. They are entirely harmless, preferring to acquire their food supply from dead organic matter such as compost or grass cuttings, feeding on the bacteria.





Slimes won't cause any medical alarm if pets or children play with them or try to eat them. In fact, they can be a source of fun, as we used to throw them at each other when I was a child; the best sport was throwing them at the girls.


As the weather starts to warm in Spring and the rain desists, the slimes will slowly dry up and disappear; they go crispy and develop spores which will blow around in the wind, finally settling somewhere ready for when the conditions are right to turn into slime.


Rest assured, controlling garden slimes is a breeze. You can simply wash them away with a hosepipe or brush them off with a stiff broom. They are fragile and will break up and disappear in no time, giving you the power to maintain your garden's cleanliness..


This is your chance to get your reader excited about the guide and appreciate the real value behind reading the post in its entirety.


Should you treat Slimes with Chemical?

Chemical control is almost non-existent and is more trouble than it is worth, with the chemicals causing more problems than benefits.


Interesting facts & fun stories

One particularly intriguing garden slime is Physarum polycephalum, also known as 'the blob'. This acellular slime mould, or Myoxomycete, is a protist with diverse cellular forms and a broad geographic distribution, making it a truly fascinating organism to learn about.


Feligo Septica and Mucilago crustacea are both often called 'egg slime', most commonly called 'Dog sick' or 'Dog sick slime'.


Slimes can be captured and kept as pets in an old plastic box with a lid. They can also be kept on damp kitchen tissue paper and fed oats. The Warwick School of Life Sciences website provides instructions on how to feed them, study them, and even play games with them.


I think it is a good project for Schools, along with many creepy crawlies the kids would love to keep, and it is so much cheaper than a rabbit or a mouse.



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