Anyone Who Thinks It’s ‘A Slim Chance’ Must Have Lived Under A Rock For The Last Twenty Years…

…along with those slugs:

The home-made solution contravenes regulations on pesticides, say officials.It means there is a chance – albeit a slim one – of vegetable growers receiving a visit and a heavy fine from the police.

Has the ‘Mail’ gone mad? Chase bank robbers or catch burglars, or harass Mrs Miggins at No.25 on behalf of the EU?

Hmmmm, it’s a tough decision…

And just why has this edict been issued? Why, simples! It’s easy. For the bureaucrats.

Dr Andrew Halstead, principal scientist of plant health at the RHS, said it was easier for the EU to list chemicals that had been tested and approved and impose a blanket ban on all other pesticides.

He said: ‘Anything that has not been through the system is illegal to use as a pesticide, however safe that chemical is perceived to be.

‘If you were to use coffee grounds around plants with the intention of providing some organic matter in the form of a mulch, rather than as a slug control or deterrent, then the regulations relating to pesticides would not apply.

‘This may all sound rather daft, but the intention of the pesticides legislation is to prevent people from applying untested dangerous chemicals.

‘However, the chances of being prosecuted for scattering coffee grounds in a garden are, I suspect, remote.’

Heh! Yeah, sure. And it’s not just coffee either…

Bob Flowerdew, a panellist on Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time and author of several gardening books, said: ‘Regulations are an ass, but they haven’t led to prosecutions. I cannot recommend that anyone breaks the law, but I can point out that, in other countries, people do use coffee grounds.

’Mr Flowerdew said some gardeners used soft soap on plants to kill aphids, although this would also be technically illegal.

‘As long as you say. “I’m not killing the aphids, I’m giving them a wash, but oh dear they seem to have died accidentally”, it’s okay.

It’s the British way: we work our way around the regulations.’

Correction: It USED to be ‘the British way’.

20 comments for “Anyone Who Thinks It’s ‘A Slim Chance’ Must Have Lived Under A Rock For The Last Twenty Years…

  1. Tatty
    August 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

    How the hell would they prove it was YOU who scattered coffee grounds in the first place ?

    24 hour surveillance, DNA testing and fingerprinting ?

    oo…better not give ’em ideas…

    • August 29, 2012 at 7:42 am


  2. Robert Edwards
    August 28, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Slugs (rather like me) are attracted to beer, which drowns them. Is this long-held policy of mine now against the law? In which case, I’d better drink it, instead.

    The Lord knows what they’d make of my home-made flamethrower – but I generally reserve that for Jehovah’s witnesses…

  3. August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks – we have appalling problems with slugs, so coffee grounds can now be added to the armoury. Excellent.

  4. Voice of Reason
    August 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    1. Since when do coffee grounds and soap constitute a hazard greater than pesticides?
    2. How about washing a car, bike or toys ‘near’ the garden?
    3. For slugs, try a shallow dish of beer. It might not kill them, but they sleep a lot more.

    • August 28, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      Any particular ale in mind, VofR?

      • August 29, 2012 at 8:23 am

        Anything cheap will do. It does work but seemed a bit pointless this year with all the rain.

        When we have dry conditions, just leave out small pot saucers filled with beer.

    • August 29, 2012 at 7:43 am

      But presumably then pick a fight with the snails?

  5. Watchman
    August 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    It’s not simply about convenience for EU bureaucrats, but a more deep-rooted issue with Europe. Outside the UK and Ireland, and Scandinavia (and perhaps some of the eastern members) I think all the EU operates variants on Roman law. In effect, these work on the basis if it is not explicitly permitted it is wrong (very much a Roman attitutde actually…), whilst Ireland and us use the common law approach of it is not forbidden it is fine. The EU as a whole therefore tends to (but not always…) apply Roman law principles.

    Which might be a defence for the bureaucrats in this instance, but is also a pressing argument for getting out of the whole mess…

  6. meltemian
    August 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Here in Greece tavernas burn coffee grounds to keep wasps away. Doesn’t altogether work though.
    We don’t have many slugs here in August….they can’t take the heat!

    • nisakiman
      August 28, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      I have found that burning coffee grounds (the finely ground Greek variety) is very effective on the wasp deterrent front. They can be a real pest here (the Ionian), particularly when eating al fresco, but the smell of burning coffee makes them scarper pretty smartish. Maybe the afternoon meltemi dissipates the smoke too rapidly for it to be effective where you are?

      • August 29, 2012 at 7:43 am

        I’ve seen not one wasp this summer here. Not one!

        • Watchman
          August 29, 2012 at 10:25 am

          A huge one took up residence in our bin a couple of weeks back, and buzzes menancingly at me whenever I put the rubish out.

          Not sure what it is doing in there (or living on) but it seems quite content to stay there.

  7. Greg Tingey
    August 28, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Wrong in one respect, I’m afraid ….
    It is NOT for the bureaucrats
    It’s a corporate-fascist cosy-up between Brussels & the pesticide manufacturers, with Agro-business in on the side.
    Farmers can use quite a few pesticides (& especially) fungicides that private persons (especially allotment-holeders) cannopt.
    So they can use anything they like, force their overpriced, tasteless muck on us in supermarkets, but we can’t (or find it very difficult) grow our own tasty varieties.

    It’s a market stitch-up

    This, incidentally, was one of the reasons I switched to vehemently anti-EU, about 2 years back, when they started this corrupt caper.

    Have you only just noticed?

  8. Robert Edwards
    August 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    “This, incidentally, was one of the reasons I switched to vehemently anti-EU, about 2 years back, when they started this corrupt caper.”

    TWO years back? Huh? Well, give the man a lollipop…

    • Greg Tingey
      August 29, 2012 at 8:10 am

      Yes, but YOU have only just noticed this PARTICULAR stitch-up, so that makes us even in ignorance &/or vigilance, I think?

    • Watchman
      August 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

      You don’t get a badge for length of conviction you know (indeed, if you are going to claim that to hold the same view for a very long time is a good thing, I’m going to suggest you need to think a bit more).

      • Tatty
        August 29, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        Ok ok ok …unzip and get the tape measures out.

        That’ll settle it… 😆

        • Watchman
          August 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

          I’m slightly concerned about where you keep the tape measure myself…

          Mine is either on the shelf, or occasionally on the floor just out of reach when I need it.

  9. Furor Teutonicus
    August 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    I am really for the high jump then.

    On my Ivy, I use water from an old barrel where I throw my cigar butts. Great against black fly.

    Within minutes they all die coughing and spluttering with second hand somking symptoms….if there IS such a thing, of course…. But THEY will believe it.

    (Been reading too much Leg Iron. 😈 )

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