Organic Garden Update: Dealing with the Pesky Slugs! (Guest post)

Urgh, garden pests- the little blighters. Oh well, they’ve got to eat, but I’d really rather that they didn’t eat my salad... In this article I’m going to talk about one in particular- slugs- and show you a few solutions that you can use to combat them when growing plants organically.

One method safe for use in organic gardens is beer traps. These are plastic containers that you fill with beer. The slugs- who seem to love the boozy brew- are attracted to the beer and fall into the trap. You can buy beer traps, or you can make your own using a plastic bottle. The downside with this method is that the slugs do tend to drown in the beer. Change the beer in the trap and remove dead slugs regularly. 

Sharp sand placed around plant pots

The methods that I prefer don’t kill the slugs, but make it less appealing for them to tackle your plants. For instance, copper tape or rings can be put around plants or plant pots. The copper reacts with a substance in the slime of the slug, and gives them a small electric shock. This makes crawling over the tape/ring really unpleasant for the slug. Similarly, you could try placing sharp materials such as crushed egg shell, sandpaper and sharp sand around your plants.  This makes it super-uncomfortable for the slugs to crawl on over to your plants- so they are likely to slope off and look for an easier meal. I’ve also heard of diatomaceous earth being used, but it’s very powdery- so be really careful that you don’t inhale it (I’d strongly advise using a mask to be on the safe side).

It is possible to buy commercially-produced organic slug pellets, but I’ve never used them. I’m a bit of soft touch and hate killing them. The other thing that stops me massacring slugs is that killing large numbers of them can deprive other garden visitors-such as toads and hedgehogs- of a vital food source. As hedgehog numbers in particular are declining rapidly, it’s something to think about.

You might also want to check out my earlier post on spring planting:-

'Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting One':

'Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Two':

'Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Three':

'Organic Garden Update: Spring Planting Four':

'Organic garden update: Dealing with the Pesky Weeds!'

Happy (and hopefully slug-free) gardening!

Love Becky x

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