Monday, 11 February 2013

101 Ways to Stop a Slug

I've been thinking slugs and snails.  This is the way I've dealt with them in the past: only grow things which they don't eat.  Full stop. Way back I used to set beer slug traps (resulting in huge pits of revoltingly stinky corpses and a really bad feeling) and tried all the recommended barrier techniques (eggs shells, soot, proprietary deterrents)- none of which has had any effect whatsoever.  Copper tape can prevent slugs and snails crawling up containers, which is fine if you don't have any eggs lurking in the soil, and you can stop them po-going over from other plants.   I don't want to kill them out of principal and respect for all creatures. This may be very foolish of me indeed.

"Vegetarian hippy sucker won't kill me! Heh heh heh" 

So, going back to  things the s&s won't eat, as far as veggies are concerned-  the only foolproof veg I've found are tomatoes, and they will even go for those when little, and will certainly eat the fruit if they can get to them.  Perhaps in a heavily urban area like our garden we have had quite a big s&s problem.

Here are my comments on veg that allegedly don't get eaten:  alliums-  all varieties have been eaten in the past, so we grow them on our flat shed roof now which helps a bit; potatoes- I know there is a slug variety that's supposed to eat the tubers, but we have had the whole plants raised to the ground;  courgettes,and other hairy leaved things- they love those; anything with tough leaves- well they eat spiky leaved flowers so I don't see how that works.  We've had success with growing lettuces, radishes and beetroot in hanging baskets.  And we have it down to a 't' with knowing what herbs and flowers survive.  It took a lot of experimentation and wasted money!

Yes, thanks for the suggestion Dino. I appreciate your input.

So in the new allotment is a hands off approach to slugs and snails realistic?  I've studied lists of veggies that should be fine, and in my experience they aren't (see above)  And though I'm fond of the off-the-ground approach this could be harder to achieve on the plot and will need a lot of watering. Will the greenhouse prove a useful partial barrier? I like the moat and upturned flowerpot approach advocated  for trays of seedlings in Sue Garret's excellent allotment blog  (sorry I can't locate the right post now!)  and Bob Flowerdew's floating lettuce rafts in his massive water tanks (shown on Gardener's World about 20 years ago!)  are quite inspirational if impractical!

I recently saw wool pellets advertised so I thought- ah why not collect sheeps wool as a deterrent?  I like to try to find different approaches to problem solving!   Any ideas?


  1. I think the only guaranteed method is slug pellets, but of course that's out of the question.

    1. Well it's not out of the question- it's just a choice we've made. The guarantee is that you will kill a certain amount of s&s - which can then of course multiply again. I know they are useful around young plants but I don't want to use any poisons as I don't want any threat to the wildlife food chain. And I just don't want to kill anything!

  2. Which is ironic because it's the only one I've used that isn't mine! (It's one that's free to use though!)

  3. I couldn't find the post either Jill. Hate to say it but slugs do find their way into a greenhouse.

    My sister surrounded her pansies with poodle wool which worked.

    I guess next year we will have even more after last year's wet summer - ideal breeding conditions

    1. BY the way - just added your blog to my bloglist. I notice you haven't a followers widget.

    2. Ah thanks Sue that's great! I am such a blogging newbie that I haven't got to grips with any widgets yet, but I really want to. My blog skills are on a par with my photoshop abilities (slugs on Dino took about 3 hours!) I will incorporate more features as soon as I learn.
      Good tip re Poodle wool- I don't know any myself but I think there could be some balding sheep in Essex soon!