For the first time in my gardening career I am facing a slug invasion. Slugs can be a problem when it comes to plants and vegetables. Many gardeners have been reduced to near tears after seeing the fruits of their labor eaten by slugs. If you’re gardening organically this makes the task of getting rid of slugs that much harder.
This is my first year gardening at our new homestead so it would appear that slugs may be a problem in our new location but so far I am having success keeping them under control. Well, that is after they destroyed pretty much all of my green bean plants. Lesson learned. I am encouraged that if I stay on top of the issue they won’t cause me to much angst.
There are some things you can do to get rid of slugs from your garden…
Build a barrier – If your vegetables and fruit are planted in raised beds this is quite easy. Simply attach a barrier that the slugs won’t cross and get into the border. The best material to use is a strip of copper all around the sides of your borders. Slugs don’t like copper and so it will be difficult for them to enter.
Make it bumpy – Slugs don’t like bumpy or rough textures as it is difficult for them to crawl on it. Add crushed egg shells or spiky rocks and pebbles around your vegetables to make this task difficult. Mulch is not good as slugs are attracted to rotten decomposing material. It is the same with straw, they are thriving in my straw bale garden but I can add rocks and eggshells around the individual plants.
Build a trap – You make your own traps very easily. Bury a small plastic cup in your vegetable patch….kind of like a slug swimming pool. Fill these traps with beer. As the slugs crawl into the traps they will fall in the beer and drown. It really does work. I fill a beer trap every evening and in the first week I got dozens of slugs each night.
You can also make a trap with human hair. Just brush your lovely locks and grab the tufts of hair left behind and place them near your plants. The slug will get tangled in the hair.
Use your hands – This is by far the most time consuming way of removing slugs but if all else fails it’s good to catch them at dusk (this is when they tend to be out) and remove them one by one from your plants. Also avoid watering at dusk and do it instead in the morning. They like the cooler dusk temperatures and moist soil. By keeping things dry you make things less hospitable for them.
Sprinkle cornmeal – Slugs love to eat cornmeal but it expands in their stomachs after they eat it, resulting in dead slugs. Sprinkle cornmeal liberally around your garden to feed the slugs what YOU want them to eat and end up with fewer slugs in the long run.
I hope that one or more of these tactics will help you conquer the slugs in your own garden!