Slugs eating my lettuce

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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  1. I am relatively new to gardening and the Pac NW, and very new to your blog, so forgive me if you have already discussed this.

    This year I am experimenting with hanging plants. On the one hand, it seems ridiculous because I have a big yard and a garden already laid out, and I am hanging plants all around the patio.

    On the other hand, my plants are all surviving overnight, which never happened before when they were in the ground.

    • That is a great observation and one of the many advantages of growing in hanging (or even containers on the ground) Given the soil is above ground it is exposed to higher air temperatures (compared to underground) so the roots actually are at least a few degrees higher. Last year I did some experiments and planted very similar tomato plants one in the ground and one in one of my homemade upside down tomato planters. Needless to say I only ate tomatos from the plant I grew above ground…the one below ground died off when we had one colder than usual night. It sounds like you are seeing some similair results. When it comes to our mild summers here, growing in some sort of container or planting very late with large plants (one of my strategies this year) are about our only options.

  2. I’m in the Pacific Northwest, in a heavily forested area. I have SLUGS here. I’ve conducted experiments on what works and what doesn’t, and egg shells don’t work to keep the slugs away. Slugs can crawl over razor blades and be just fine!

    I’ve found, like you, that a slug bait is the only thing that really helps. Iron phosphate is the ingredient that you are looking for when you want something that won’t harm anything else. I also found that the prices drop significantly the larger bags you buy. If you can find a landscape supply company, they sometimes have big 50 pound bags. Expensive upfront, but if you are like me, I will be needing to use it throughout my gardening and the price per pound drops by like $5.

  3. So far, here in southwest Missouri I haven’t had any problems with slugs. We’ve had plenty of rainfall with over nineteen inches recorded in April.

  4. Oh no, now all your slugs are going to migrate down the hill to my garden. :( One thing to remember is that slugs can burrow too so go out during the morning and pick them off the plants if they are there.

  5. Great info on how you treated the slug problem. Slugs can be a huge issue with yound seedlings, too.

    They almost devoured my okra seedlings a couple years ago. I used diatomaceous earth around each plant and it worked pretty good.

    I eventually found that they were coming from my firewood stack. I ended up moving it elsewhere and haven’t had any slug problems since.

    Thanks for sharing your remedy!