Dealing with slugs -- help for a beginning gardener
posted 13 years ago
HI, Yes I am really a total beginner, and I am hopung i can get help in this first ever thread--about getting inspiration
I DID try to join this 'permaculture network' here, but was left really disappointed. There were only 6, the meeting was extremely boring and cliquish, and i tried to make connections by giving them my details, email etc, but got the cold shoulder. not a good start. so....i have been trying to try get some support online . One forum i have tried, the reponses are very very limited if at all. maybe cause its UK....who knows
OK to business of actual starting out:
I am wanting to try and design permaculture for my little garden. But i have to not run before i can walk. Now......our biggest, hughest problem is S L U G S!!!
Here in Manchester it can be quite damp most of the time, and is slug heaven. some of them look quite big too
I cannot tell you the money thats been lost going to garden centres, and the little buggers eating what i have put in.
So the problem (the problem is the solution?? ) has to be first priority. So can I start asking advice about this for starters please...?
paul wheaton wrote: One of the famous permaculture sayings is something like "The problem isn't too many slugs. The problem is not enough ducks!"
How do you feel about keeping ducks?
It wouldn't be possible in the kind of place I live. Its a very small garden! The house is a semi-detached 3 bedroom house, and the back garden is kind of like in a hole, because its just one house below a hill as road goes round a bend--ie., the road goes up at an incline. So a rockery was built at back with a slim lawn of grass at the top. The two neighbours gardens that adjoin on ours, they are fairly wild scrub and a haven for slugs.........I have TRIED to grow plants (not edibles) in the past and its been the nightmare of having to go out and hunt these slugs, some small, some medium, some big and fat--ALL slimy, and murder them, throwing them in buckets of water. we have buried jars with beer, and they become full , and i mean FULL of slugs. But i just dread all of that. and of course if its raining--and it can do that a lot here, and you dont go out so much they are just as busy eating away at your plants. So this is a serious barrier to my confidence in beginning designing a self-sustaining garden any other ideas? not ducks though
I had some terrible slug problems this last growing season. So I researched this pretty extensively.
The popular solution in organic circles is a product called "sluggo". Very effective. I have done a huge amount of research to determine what the toxicity might be, and while the iron phosphate is perfectly safe, the "bait" portion is something that the company is not talking about and nobody seems to know. Chances are that it is some sort of wheat/corn paste dried and shaped into pellets.
Last fall I noticed that there is a more expensive "Sluggo for organic gardens" that apparently goes after more pests.
I'm a big fan of the copper barrier. Try it sometime: put some pipe/flashing of copper in between a slug and where it's trying to go, and it won't be able to crawl over it, like it's painful or electric or something. But not like torture! They just turn around. BUT I did watch a slug still get past the copper by landing it's little front self on a nail head and then hopping to the other side of the copper. little bugger!! so the copper has to be clean and no little hopping spots. Unfortunately, copper has been harder to get as a scrap resource lately...
I'd suggest a multi-faceted approach. The most successful way of dealing with these types of challenges not to look for the one solution, but to do them all at once. So I would suggest putting out the little beer traps, use the slug bait, set up the copper, and look into biodynamic/radionics solutions. Any one of these techniques might fail, but the more you're implementing the less you'll have problems.
And if you choose to grow woody perennials, you won't have nearly so much to worry about from the slugs once they get established.
Another thing I'd suggest is keeping the lawn mowed tight in the area. Slugs love long grass because they can hide from predators there. If you keep the grass short, it makes a big difference (this would go for the neighbors "jungle gardens" too, unfortunately).
I know it doesn't seem feasible to use ducks, but even a couple weeks during the early spring could do a lot to diminish your slug population (ducks love the eggs). Is there someone you could borrow ducks from for just a couple weeks?
Anyway, those are my two cents on slug control. We have major slug problems too and the ducks make an astronomical difference (they run loose in our gardens during the wet winters and get penned up after we plant in the spring).
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