I followed the advice on the best ways to be happy which included looking after something you've planted so I put seeds in pots and tended seedlings indoors before transplanting to the garden. But they're all gone.
Method 1: Fruity Traps & Slug Picking
Thankfully these traps don't involve digging huge holes, hiding nets under leaves and laying in wait to catch them (yes, I may have watched too many cartoons). Grapefruit skins or half a scooped out melon or orange left like little colourful bumps across the garden make finding the slugs easier as they will hide under there during the day and you can collect them in the evening.
This does mean you have to go out regularly, preferably at night, every night, with a torch and a jar/yogurt pot/tub with a lid that you don't want anymore and pick them up. You'll need a lid or they will just crawl out again. I'd also recommend rubber gloves as I don't care if this report says slugs are good for your hands, I don't want to touch them.
Getting slightly more lazy now, but incredibly effective, are beer traps. Half fill a jam jar with beer, then dig a hole near your plants so the jam jar is set slightly above soil level. They fall in and die so this method works. I caught over 30 slugs with just three jam jars the first night I tried this!
You need to empty the jars quite regularly but I have found they don't seem to mind falling in with bloated 3-day old slugs so good for lazy gardeners like me.
If you're concerned about wasting good beer on garden pests you could ask your local pub for the 'slops' at the end of the night from under the pumps. I'm sure that can be called recycling.
I'm told milk would work as an alternative to beer but I've not tried yet.
Mulches can be decorative, are often used to retain moisture and suppress weeds but there are some mulches that work well to deter slugs.
At Christmas, save the pine needles as they are acidic whereas slugs prefer alkaline. And they are pretty spiky too.
I've heard great reports of used coffee grounds working well. Just rinse your coffee pot around the plants you want to protected.
Broken egg shells are often listed and I was told baked egg shells were best so I saved them all winter and put a lovely circle of sharp egg shell pieces around all my seedlings and then slugs walked straight over and ate the plants so I don't have as much faith in this method any more.
Porridge oats sprinkled around vulnerable plants is a cheap option as when slugs eat them the oats expand and that kill the slugs. Sadly, with a lot of rain it also makes a horrible mess in your vegetable patch. And I watched the slugs crawl over the oats and away so doubt it's always effective against them.
Sharp grit, gravel or decorate slate mulch have some reported success as, apparently, it's all too sharp for their "delicate underbelly" but, sadly, my evil slime-balls just slither all over it.
Methods Yet to be Tested
- Growing French Marigolds between your other plants can deter slugs.
- Use copper rings around your pots or copper strips around garden plants. They react electrostatically with the slug slime and the pests dry up.
- Choose plants with red leaves as slugs aren't keen on them. Apparently, Swiss chard could be planted in a barrier formation.
- Mix ammonia (1 part ammonia, 6 parts water) and spray onto plants. Apparently, plants are left unharmed and slugs dissolve within 5 minutes.
- Pick dead leaves off your plants so nothing is on the soil where the slugs are slithering. Yeah, I'll never get around to doing that one either.
Now it's your turn. Give us your tips for slug deterrents. Or is it cheap beer and jam jars all the way?