This may seem like a totally silly thing to talk about, for some of you. But seriously, here in Vancouver we're pretty much rain-forest wet for the majority of the year and slugs are pests!! Major, make-me-swear-and-stomp, frustrating pests! I worked crazy hard on my first garden this year - everything started to grow and look gorgeous and suddenly - bam! - eaten. Every leaf of everything.
I'd completely forgotten about the slugs.
Or vastly underestimated them.
A slug *just* hid under the soil from me and ate my basil plant until it was nubs.
I found out that they get onto something and it's pretty much a goner: you can kiss your juicy green leaves goodbye! They ate all of my edamame leaves, lettuce, the tops of my radishes, and tried for my peas for a few weeks last month. I attempted to catch them daily before they ate anything else to no avail - needless to say, I now get suuuper mad when I see one even remotely close to my garden! Know your enemy, I say:
Here are some ways to keep those a%6*%&#'s out of your garden:
Fend Them Off:
- Rough surfaces keep slugs away: cement, sand, bark chips, etc.
- Spread eggshells around the perimeter of your garden: slugs won't crawl over the sharp-edged shells. Just keep a bowl in your kitchen and collect them for a few weeks, wash them in warm water, and crumble them around when they're dry
- Like eggshells, try using other natural deterents: ginger, coffee grounds (which dehydrate them), or crumbled seaweed around the base of plants keep slugs away. Pine needles would also work the same way: too scratchy for the little buggers to climb over! Sprinkle the deterent in a circle around the greenery a few inches away from its leaves/roots.
- Dilute coffee with some water in a bottle and spray it onto big leafy plants: it shouldn't harm the plant, and the smell will keep slugs away
Even when you put up one or two of these anti-slug defenses, you'll probably need to keep checking for slugs - at least until you know your method works. They don't like the sun, so hunt for them in shady spots, at dawn & dusk, or hiding under big leaves or in the dirt during the day. And they are not usually just 2-4 inches, there are super small under-an-inch-big slugs, too.
You can skip this step if you think it's cruel.
I usually try to avoid it now, myself, since it's yucky!
**Instead of killing them, maybe you can skip this and throw them in your compost heap? They are rather helpful with that part of things.
- Put out some bait: slugs like beer! Pour a little bit of fresh beer into a container/old soup can and put it outside at dusk. They'll crawl right in there and drown! They also love dog food or a leafy green - you'll find them collected there in the morning, but you'll have to kill/dispose of them.
- You can literally melt slugs by pouring salt on them. Or vinegar. It's gross, yeah, but it feels pretty good when the 10,586 one invades your baby plants. lol.
- You can also kill them with a 'slug poker' or soapy water.
- Copper 'electrocutes' slugs. I've never done this, but I heard that when they contact copper tape or pennies their wet bodies react with the copper in a negative, sparky way. You can put stripes of tape or pennies around your garden's perimeter, or on plant pots to discourage them from climbing up.
Annnd - that should about have them running for cover.
So far, I do a quick check in the morning and as the sun goes down for any slugs, still - because they're trying to get past the eggshells and coffee grounds I've sprinkled around the perimeter of my garden: vigilence! Yay! :)
What do you do to fend off your garden pests? Please share!