Getting Rid of Garden Slugs...Naturally
Slugs. They're slimy, disgusting, and worst of all, extremely damaging to your garden. Although they do some good things for the ecosystem, like eating decomposing vegetation, they also love to nosh on fresh tasty leaves in my garden. I recently found that the leaves of my sunflowers, basil and some pepper plants had holes that had been eaten out of them. Every day, it got worse and worse. At first, I wasn't sure what was causing it until I caught the culprit. A defiant, creepy slug. Based on the extent of the damage, I knew that sucker had friends...lots and lots of them. (And I soon found them.) I had to act fast. Slugs can DESTROY your garden in no-time.
Unless you've got toads and snakes who will take care of the slugs, you're going to have to deal with them another way. I chose a 2-part approach:
- Get them drunk.
- Deter them with eggshells.
See the video below to see how I apply these and read more below.
Beer. It's not just for humans any more.
Slugs like beer. They apparently like the "yeastiness" of it and if you leave out a pool of beer for them, they'll dive right in...and die. (If you feel badly about this, you'll be happy to know it happens very, very quickly.) I use crème brûlée dishes and fill them with beer. I put these out one morning last week and immediately, I saw a few crawling in for a swim. When I got home later, the "pool" was crowded. The only beer we had in the house was Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, so I don't blame them for diving in, (it's a pretty good beer), but I replaced it with a cheaper beer that is still drinkable (at least for my husband), a 6-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you're going to get beer for this, get what you might drink that's not too expensive (in case you have leftovers).
Eggshells to Deter Slugs
The way slugs move, they "slither." If they come across something sharp, like the edge of a broken eggshell, they'll likely turn around. I always save eggshells for the garden. They're a great source of calcium (which tomatoes love) and they're also great for this purpose. I just lightly crush the shells and place them around the base of the stems of the plants to keep the slugs from being able to climb up the stem and eat the leaves. If you're trying to keep slugs out of a container that has lots of plants like my box of basil, spread the shells around the perimeter like this:
Looking for more tips? Mike McGrath, host of "You Bet Your Garden" also has up to 17 ways to get rid of slugs. You can check it out here. I subscribe to that podcast (which is really a radio show). He is former editor at Rodale's and knows a lot about many gardening subjects.