Have you ever taken an early morning stroll through the garden on a bright spring morning, preparing to admire the runner beans you lovingly planted out the day before? Or the marigolds you tended in the greenhouse for the last six weeks, and that were ready to spend their first brave night in the great outdoors?
Have you ever stood there aghast at the sight of your once proud plants lying chomped, nibbled, and decimated on the ground?
Have you ever cursed, ranted and raved; vowing to single handedly wipe every slug and snail off the face of the planet!
Hmm... Glad I’m not the only one.
But it’s simply not possible, and developing a certain level of ‘slug tolerance’ while managing the problem is the only way. Believe me, it’s an approach that’ll aid your sanity and preserve your mental well-being. After all, God must’ve had something in mind when he created the slug.
Early season start
Despite owning about 27,000 rasping teeth, slugs prefer their food soft and tender. They love nothing more than the lush growth of young shoots, and this makes early spring the ideal time to firmly take charge of the problem; when the little critters are babies and before your seedlings emerge. Left unprotected, entire rows of young plants can vanish overnight!
Slugs are largely nocturnal, so don’t be lulled into a false sense of security when you don’t notice them in abundance during the day. They need to keep moist to avoid dehydration and death, and are sheltering from the warmth of the sun beneath dense foliage, under stones and flower pots, and buried underground.
Go and take a look now, and collect up all the slugs you find there. Then learn more about slug hiding places so you know where to find even more of the ghastly gastropods.
Did you know...
Up to 95% of your garden’s slug population is nestling below ground at any one time.
As plants mature, leaves toughen and become less appetising, and the plant is also strong enough to withstand a little slug nibbling. Exceptions like lettuce and hostas, however, seem to be a permanent slug delicacy.
Dealing with slugs
Banishing slugs from your garden can follow one of three basic approaches:
- Attack – An all-out offensive, with the aim of trapping and terminating as many of the marauding molluscs as possible.
- Defence – Create barriers to keep the enemy out. These can be physical barriers such as half plastic bottles around single plants, or rough surfaces (eg. broken eggshells), and copper strips (that inflict a mild electric shock!) that slugs hate to cross.
- Covert Approach – Get somebody else to fight your battles for you. Encourage slug eating birds, animals and insects into your garden. Keep the garden tidy, and rid it of slug hiding places. Grow slug tolerant varieties where possible.
Slug pellets (Metaldehyde or Methiocarb)
So you can see, there’s a multitude of methods available for dealing with these slimy pests, and most are harmless to everything but the slug itself. So I can never understand why the gardener’s first (and often only) line of defence seems to be those dreaded little blue pellets.
- How to use slug pellets correctly... if you really must!
Did you know...
Poison pellets are the most used and most abused form of slug control, with British gardeners using over 400 billion of them every year!
Surprisingly, they’re not that effective, only killing around 10% of the slugs in the average garden. However, they do pose a very real danger to the local wildlife, many of whom are natural slug predators. And being of a similar composition to dried cat and dog food, it’s no surprise that so many beloved pets end up at the vet’s surgery with slug pellet poisoning...
Promptly gather up and safely dispose of any poisoned slugs and snails to prevent them from being eaten by unsuspecting birds and animals.
There’s nothing more disappointing than discovering your precious plants have been ravaged by slugs.
Banish Slugs by Jeremy Stratton shows you how to fight back with as many different natural methods as possible; the methods that work and those that don’t. How to make your garden less attractive to slugs, and how to encourage the wildlife that likes to snack on them.
Alan Titchmarsh in the Daily Express says; “These handy ‘Green Essentials’ guides are ideal... easy to follow, and so full of advice.”
What do you want to do now
Unlike snails that hibernate during winter, slugs are active whenever the temperature is above 5°C
by Jeremy Stratton
From the Green Essentials series, this book shows you how to banish slugs the organic way. The methods that work and those that don’t.
Make your garden less appealing to slugs, and more attractive to the creatures that like to snack on them.
Innovative and inspirational solutions...
With a bias towards the practical organic fruit and vegetable gardener.