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Does anyone know what slugs want?

 
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Hi everyone,
I have the feeling my fall veggie garden will be depraved of brassicas again this year.

So I'm trying to grow small cabbages, turnips, radishes for this fall. They slowly disappear, eaten away by very small bits every day.
I know slugs like those way better than lettuce for example, my lettuces are spotless.
I told myself "why not set up beer traps" in the hope of saving some crops. So I went on tonight with beer in my garden and I found the slug situation is somewhat strange.

Basically there are so many slugs that everything can easily disappear in one night without any problem, however it seems that they only nibble leaves here and there: they are clearly after something else.

It makes me think that slugs might be ok in the garden as long as get what they want. (a little bit like aphids are not a problem for me because the nearby black locust keeps them busy and away from the garden) .
Suddenly I have some hope if only I knew what those slugs want. Anyone knows?

Fred
 
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the ones ive seen are usually in moist places where there is dead or decaying organic matter.

here is one possible solution to slug problem. if salt touches a slug they die
by spreading some course salt around outside edge of garden area, no slugs will enter the area as long as there is salt there. just be careful the salt will not wash into your garden space when it rains. I guess its good for stuff like where you have raised beds or other situations where you can prevent salt from washing into garden .
 
pollinator
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"Does anyone know what slugs want?"

World domination! But we won't let them win!

I feel for you. Last year was freakishly wet and the slugs were horrendous. I would set out piles of straw mulch and rotten boards in the rows, and do battle with a sharp knife. I slaughtered them in their untold thousands. There was no mercy in me. Even my fish complained -- what's for dinner? Slug again? Ugh!


 
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I don't think it works like that. The more food there is, the more the slugs will multiply. I don't know about your environment, but in my place, the slugs prefer my garden vegetables above anything that grows in the wild. They don't like tomatoes, but apart from that, they'll eat almost any vegetable, fruit and salad. Their favorites are obvious cabbages and salads, especially Chinese cabbage. They love horse radish and any perennial that provides both habitat and food all year round. They also love onions.

When I notice that they threaten some vegetables, I put some spoiled vegetables on the ground beneath the plants they are eating. Right now, I put slices of melons that got spoiled on the ground among my green peppers. At night I go out with a torch to pick them by hand. As soon as it gets dark, they all move to the slices of melon and it's easy to find them. The soft flesh of the melons is easier for them to eat than green leaves or fresh vegetables.
 
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I believe most slugs feed on decaying green vegetation. I think there is a balance to find between feeding the slugs so getting a population explosion (which then destroy wanted plants as well) and creating habitat for slug predators (beetles, frogs etc.). I’d like to say that I’ve found just the balance, but it wouldn’t be true.  I just don’t sow many annual vegetables (more perennials), let the slugs be, and they aren’t a problem for me now. They like to graze on the algae on the inside of the polytunnel, but leave my yacon be.
I remember they are particularly fond of french marigolds and lupins and will go after many plants when newly transplanted, it’s like they like the stressed plants. I try and put a collar made of a cut down plastic plant pot round plants when I plant them out which does help somewhat.
 
pollinator
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Slugs eat anything they can rasp away at but prefer soft plants and fruit, but their absolute favorite is... Slug. cut a slug in half and leave it, you can return multiple times and collect it's mates while they eat it.
We have the Joy of invasive spanish slugs here, and there is no wildlife that eats them, they are to big for the native ground beetles and lizards and to bitter for other slug eaters. Ducks will eat them, chickens will not, however ducks are impractical as they are not allowed in vegetable areas and the fencing to keep up a duck "moat" which I quite fancy is exorbitantly priced!
 
fred bleuzet
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they definitely have the upper hand here.
I killed several of them, I didn't find them in the morning: at least something enjoyed them.

So maybe a way to go is to setup compost piles in the 4 corners of the garden and don't plant kale next to it.
Let's try that.

thanks everyone for the useful feedback!
 
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