Five for Friday: Slugging it out

23:52, Apr 26 2012

I've just come in from the garden armed with my torch, a plastic container with a lid, and my gardening gloves. I've been on slug patrol. It's been a week since my last slug patrol, and the slimy devils have been having a party, nay, an orgy out there on my plants. 

Getting rid of slugs might be one of the most talked about subjects in the gardenosphere (look at that, I just made a word up), so here are my five cents', or bullet points', worth on the battle against slugs.

1. My preferred method of dealing to slugs is to manually pick them off and put them into a container for the chooks to eat in the morning. You can also kill them by putting them in salt water. I use my gloves because there is no way in hell I'm touching those things. They gross me out with their gelatinous, hideous yuckness. 

2. Beer traps are a common organic way to catch slugs. Take a saucer, pour in beer. In the morning, find dead slugs. You could even rig up a fancy trap like the one pictured. But, in my experience, beer costs a freakin' fortune. And a saucer will last two nights tops before it's full of detritus blown into it by wind, or rain, or just dried up. Yes, even with a little roof on it. I have also witnessed with my own eyes a tonne of slugs attacking brassicas while a few drunkards head for the beer. These traps are better than nothing though.

3. Sister Loyola, who took out NZ Gardener of the Year a wee while ago, uses pine needles on the paths around her beds, and eggshells around new seedlings to deter slugs. I've tried the egg shell method and found it, I'm sorry to say, ineffective but the plants benefit from calcium in the shells so it's no biggie. But I'm willing to try the pine needles on my paths. 

4. Amy, a reader from the US, gave me this link to her rigorous testing of traditional organic slug deterrent methods. Wood ash, copper, diatomaceous earth, all the things that are supposed to be unpleasant for slugs to slither over; she's tried it all, and it all failed. 

5. I heard from a friend that orange peels scattered around the garden are like crack to slugs. They can't get enough. You lay the bait, pick them up and dispose of them by your preferred method. However, finding enough orange peels might be a problem, but again, I'm willing to give it a go. Stay tuned.

Have you done battle with slugs in your garden? Have they been vanquished, and if so, how? And what have you tried that has failed miserably?

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