Thursday, July 21, 2011

Slugs in the Home Vegetable Garden

When I say slugs in the home vegetable garden I am not talking about the crabby old man around the corner that constantly wants your fresh fruits and veggies. I am talking about that annoying shell lacking gastropod mollusk that wreaks havoc on the plants you are growing.

Slugs will eat just about everything you grow in the garden and the carnage they leave behind to look at isn’t pretty. Who would think something so small could be so bad right? Well they are.

Slugs thrive in areas where there is plenty of moisture. Some common areas would be in gardens that have plenty of mulch or under potted plants that get regular watering's and areas of the garden that have become overgrown.

Predators to slugs make for great slug control however for many home vegetable gardeners attracting such predators may be too time consuming or near impossible. If you are lucky enough to attract some toads then you are business, but for me, in the suburbs, it doesn’t work out too well.

If obtaining some predators is not a viable option then one method that has worked well for many is putting out a tin pan filled with beer. Yeah I know, such a waste of a good drink, but this method truly works. It attracts the slugs and they eventually drown in it.

Another method that works great that I picked up from my grandfather many years ago was pouring salt on them. Since slugs need moisture, the salt dries them out, killing them. This method works well when you can get right at them and pour the salt directly. It doesn’t work so well when you blindly dump salt in areas that may or may not have slugs.

Along with beer traps and salt, diatomaceous earth, crushed egg shells, coffee grounds and copper also make for great slug deterrents.

As one friend of mine said previously, `if you have a vegetable garden, you have slugs`. This statement rings true. If you don’t have slugs consider yourself lucky or your vegetable garden is underwatered, but that’s a topic for a whole other conversation.

About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the owner of Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC, the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club, which has appeared on NBC, ABC and MSN Money as a great way for consumers to save money.

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  1. I have tried lots and lots and lots of organic and eco-friendly methods, but the only thing that works in the long term is nasty blue pellets I'm afraid. It seems they get too clever and wise to all the other methods :(

  2. I applied DE last year about three times during growing season. I had zero slug damage. Unfortunately, I also had very little earthworm casings and beneficial bugs either.
    This year, I used crushed egg shell around my hosta's and it worked well till it washed away from watering and rain. Then I ran out of them. =( So my hosta's now look as if I hate them =( Plan for next season is to spend fall and winter collecting more egg shells for next year so I don't run out again.