Are woodlice eating my winter purslane? Diary of a Rocket Gardener

Back in late September or early October (time lines are blurry this year!) I planted out my winter purslane. It’s in a raised bed right next to some spinach and chard, planted at the same time. The spinach and chard are doing well, and I have picked the odd leaf for salads, and it should be big enough for fairly good crop within a few weeks. However, the winter purslane is not doing quite so well…The new leaves keep getting munched, right down to the stalk.

I thought perhaps it was slugs and dutifully put down some beer traps, although I can see no slime trails, and the spinach and chard are largely untouched by slugs which is a bit strange. Over the next couple of weeks, the purslane kept on getting eaten. So then I thought perhaps birds, and I asked a friend what he thought. He had a good look and then pointed out that there are a lot of woodlice in the corner of the raised bed, hiding in the wood chip path. He suggested that perhaps they were the real culprits.

I had no idea that woodlice did any damage in the veg patch – my only encounter with them really has been when ¬†they have made little dens in some aubergine fruits that I grew once. Other than that I haven’t regarded them as a pest at all, and always thought they were beneficial particularly in the compost pile. I googled them, and according to the RHS they do occasionally “damage very soft plant tissues, such as seedlings”. I’m not 100% convinced though – I may need to go out there when it’s dark later with a torch and have a look…