I mentioned in my last post that my garden is currently a slug habitat. With all the wet weather in Queensland this summer we have perfect conditions for slugs and its got so bad now that I can’t plant any seeds directly in the garden as any new shoots are eaten as soon as they appear.
bean seedling attempting to grow
silver beet full of slug holes (still ok to eat though)
We have chickens and a dog that eats anything, so I’ve been trying organic/natural solutions. So far I have tried:
At first, when there weren't many slugs, I tried picking them off the plants as I found them and squishing them between my fingers, but now there are far too many and I would be out there all day!
Small tins of beer buried in the garden: This had success at first, but I had to keep topping them up due to the rain diluting the tins and although they were always full of slugs there were plenty more in the garden. I think this would be a good solution for minor slug infestations or if you have a good supply of tins and beer!
Small tin containing beer to trap the slugs and eggshells to deter them.
Egg shells: we have plenty of eggs so I had no trouble sourcing egg shells and crushing them as a protective barrier around each sensitive plant. I’m not sure that it worked though, maybe they just find a way to crawl through the gaps or maybe they were just really hungry slugs.
Coffee grounds: I don’t drink coffee myself, but my work goes through a heap, so I’ve put a container in the kitchen for everyone to donate their coffee grounds. I’m not sure that the low concentration on caffeine in the grounds is enough to deter the slugs, but it can’t hurt to add some more organic matter to the soil. More info here.
Last resort - Iron phosphate bait: I didn’t really want to spend money on this problem, but its got so bad I had to go to the local hardware and buy some slug bait. Iron phosphate bait is safe for dogs and wild animals (there’s no way I was going to use anything that contained metaldehyde!). I’ve sprinkled the bait around the garden as per the directions and I’m waiting to see if it has any effect.
last resort - low toxicity slug pellets...
If anyone has some good slug remedies or stories, please share!