Slug Wars – 10 Ways to fight slugs organically.

Fridays will now be Snippets of the Garden – updates on the Garden, Veggies and my constant battle with pests.

As I have called this “Slug Wars”, I should have probably left this post until May the 4th*but the slugs are in battle mode now and so am I.
Being an Organic Gardener I don’t use chemical warfare or light-sabres, besides the various organic reasons, I have pets that I wouldn’t want eating it by mistake. 
So I have spent many a long evening pouring over “Green” ways to deal with the little blighter’s and even got re-tweeted by the BBC over my plea for help with my slug nemesis, yes my twitter went viral over SLUGS of all things and here are a few methods I have tried with varying success.Thanks to all the Tweeters out there that helped.

* May the 4th is International Star Wars day for the “non- nerds” out there – I am proud to be a big nerd 🙂

1. The good old fashioned bear trap – it kind of works but you need to top it up regularly , empty it daily and you definitely need more than one it seems but I do have two in my raised bed. They are jars which I half fill with beer or cider, because they can fill with a lot of water if it rains as much as it did last night !!

2.  Egg shells – I use a lot in the garden and crushed egg shells are suppose to deter them as they don’t like to crawl across them. I use them with limited success – I found two slugs on a plant surrounded with them but hey at least I know the egg shells give nutrients to the soil.

3.  Coffee Grinds – Which apparently work because slugs are not big into caffeine and it can kill them in strong quantities, which was great when my husband loved coffee and drank it all the time but last year he gave up coffee and only drinks tea, so a lack of coffee grounds is currently hampering that little experiment. Although it did work quite well when my husband was a coffee fiend and it helped my raised bed last year.

4.  “The Distract them technique”-  I put out small piles of peeling or banana peels or an older chopped up apple in the late afternoon and that night , my trusty torch and I go out and find all the slugs that have been attracted by these rich pickings ( the neighbours must thing I am nuts !! ) but the slugs can’t seem to resist. Plus, the leftovers of veg can go in the compost the next morning.
Works very well – Slugs are stupid and I always catch a lot this way.

5. Nematodes – Theses are little roundworms that love eating slugs and other nasty bugs. I actually plan on getting some next, they aren’t harmful to pets, your veg and are good for the soil. They can be expensive though which is a big draw back and being a living being they need to be stored and added to the soil correctly if they are to grow and kill off the slug population. I will let you know how I get on but gardeners rave about them so fingers crossed.

6. Copper tape – I actually used it my first year and unfortunately it didn’t work for me but that could be down to the raised bed design. The theory behind it is the slugs don’t like to cross it as it gives off an electric shock. Let me know if this one works for you ?
  
7.  Predators – Encourage animals that like to eat slugs, like birds and toads and frogs. We actually had a frog in the back garden a couple of years ago and is still a bit of a mystery how he got there !! Especially considering as he was not harmed, so unlikely to be the cats prey. He lived there for couple of weeks with a makeshift pond but I took him down the the river to find a mate in the end because it felt cruel.
Encourage birds eat your slugs – by putting out bird food and not having three cats would help a lot.

8. Cornmeal trap – A bit like the beer and the veggies slugs seem to love cornmeal and if you put out jars of it they will eat it but they can not digest it and die. Put it in a jar on it’s side and the slugs will crawl in eat it and can be remove in the morning. Keep meaning to try this one just haven’t picked up cornmeal from the supermarket.

9. Sand –  Which is a cheap option for your garden, pouring sand on top of the soil will provide a rough barrier that slugs can’t tolerate sliding over. Pour the sand thickly around your plants, being careful not to mix it in( which is nearly impossible) . This will work wet or dry, and can be replenished when necessary. Have to get some sand but worry it might alter the soil. Anyone tried sand ?

10.  I came up with is last one as I sat thinking about the sand idea and although we had no sand I did have sand- paper. I had heard of collars for plants before and thought if I could cut some collars out of sand paper I might give my lettuce seedlings a fighting chance. So I got out my biggest paper punch and cut a pile from the grittiest sand paper I could find, and placed them around all the plants.

It actually worked incredibly well the first night, I could see where the slugs had crawled up to the sandpaper but stopped – the main issue came the second night ( the night of the big rain !!) The collars got saturated and of course were not as effective, so you would have to have a steady supply and be willing to change them.

So my Gardening friends how do you fight your battle with slugs, what is your weapon of choice?

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