Previously I did an entire post on deterring slugs from your garden, but I was so excited to get these romaine lettuce plants out of my grow box and into the garden I put off the slug prevention a little too long.
As you can see these guys are pretty little but they still can do some serious amount of damage in a short period of time. There are many methods to prevent slugs in your garden, but I went with methods based on materials I had on hand.
First I started with some Slug and Snail bait, this is more environmentally friendly kind which will not kill off the cats, dogs, birds in your neighborhood but when the slugs get a taste it will eliminate their appetite and/or encourage them to forage for food elsewhere.
After picking of the chewed on leaves which removed the slugs chewing on them from the garden, promotes a healthier plant, and gives the hides the evidence that this attack never happened. I also removed some of the leaf mulch around the plants to give the slugs a less optimal hiding place. I topped all of this up by sprinkling a 1/4 cup of egg shells around the plants which irritates the slugs delicate undersides to hopefully encourage them to look for lunch elsewhere.
I see many blogs showing pictures of pretty flowers and cute little animals, when I was going on a nature hike today with my youngest daughter I came across some things that were interesting but not exactly beautiful which deserved some recognition.
The word is slugs are supposed to hate garlic, guess no one told this guy. The reality is they do not like the bulb underground apparently the garlic leaves are delicious. Appears that I need to step up my war with the slugs.
8.8 years ago slugs
Living in the Pacific Northwest there is no way to get away from these slimy creatures. Last year I only saw a few of these creatures but apparently my veggie plot must have been identified and they told all their friends since I am currently planting my second set of cilantro and lettuce seeds since they ate up my little seedlings.
Now how do I deal with these creatures? The first thing you should do is take care of your plants remove any dead/dying/diseased leaves to not give those slugs a tempting meal and a place to hide. In late spring make sure you turn/rake your soil this will disturb hibernating slugs and expose eggs which should be picked up by birds and/or killed by the first fall frost, which should start your garden to a better start the following season. Until then, here are a few methods to help free your garden from slugs this season:
Copper: Not going into the science but when a slug touches a path covered by copper they will get a tiny electrostatic shock which will deter them to go elsewhere. Now given my garden is surrounded by cinder blocks so attaching copper tape around my garden would be very difficult. The copper strips also can have sharp edges with is bad for slugs but also for me and my little one’s fingers. I have seen copper rings that attach to the underside of pots to prevent them from climbing up, which seems like a viable option if slugs find the contents particular appealing. It may very well be cheaper to throw a few handfuls of shiny pennies around but probably not the most attractive mulch.
Abrasive surfaces: Slugs have very sensitive undersides so laying and abrasive material blocking their path can kill or annoy them enough to head off to another direction. Some choices are broken egg shells, Epsom salts, ashes, coarse sand, and diatomaceous earth marketed for this specific purpose.
Slug traps: There are many methods to bait and kill slugs. Probably the most well known is the beer trap where you poor some beer in a shallow container at ground level where the slugs come in for a drink and drown. Couple others to try is corn meal and grapefruit, apparently they love them but after ingesting it will kill them.
Poison (Snail/Slug bait): Now in many cases this is the most effective method but definitely not the best option for the environment. Most “Snail/Slug bait” contains an ingredient called metaldehyde which a small dosage (around 200 mg per kg) can kill neighborhood cats or dogs as well as birds which are a very effective means of controlling slugs.
Slug deterrents: There are many baits that contain iron phosphate instead of metaldehyde which can also be very effective and actually sweeten your soil at the same time, so be sure to check your labels. One product that has worked for me is “Worry Free Slug and Snail Bait” (similar product to “Sluggo” or “Escar-Go”) the stuff does not kill the slugs directly and is safe for your vegetables and your neighborhood animals. You simply spread the granules around areas your slugs are visiting and after the slugs have a taste they lose their appetite and leave your garden or dies of starvation.
Become a slug exterminator:Though pretty gruesome you can simply hand pick and destroy the slugs yourself. Now this is very effective method but definitely not advisable for the squeamish. Some methods are impaling, bisecting, throwing in boiling water, stomping, salting, spraying with ammonia, or use your imagination. If you have problems finding them try going for a late walk in your garden with a flashlight or lay some carpet in a portion of your garden and check under it every few days.