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Slugs - help

 
Aisling Hurley
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Hi there

I am new to the group and have found some great posts here. I am having awful problems in my garden with slugs, for example they are burrowing their way into my daffodil stems so that the daffodils can't stand upright when they flower. I was going to try Advanced Slug Killer. Has anyone used it and how do you find it? I also work and have a large garden so I need something that's going to work. Feeling a bit disheartened at the moment. Thanks.
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Advanced Slug Killer
 
Burra Maluca
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It's apparently certified for organic use and the active ingredient is Ferric Phosphate, in case that helps anyone who's used something similar but with a different brand name.

I keep ducks, which take care of the few slugs we get.
 
R Ranson
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I second ducks. Definitely ducks. The muscovies are obsessive slug hunters and mute (they don't quack) if neighbours are an issue.

Beer traps work incredibly well for me. One per every 10-20 square feet should do it. It's about the only thing that non-alcoholic beer is good for (in my opinion). The slugs like it better than real beer.

The other slug prevention method I use, is to create an environment the slugs don't like. I don't use mulch anymore because the slugs love it.

Look up what predatory bugs live in your area - for us it's a big black beetle that eats slugs - and create an environment that is favourable to that predator.

Sending you good, slug-free thoughts.
If you do use the stuff in a can, let us know how it works for you.
 
Aisling Hurley
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Thanks so much for your advice. They are wearing me down, almost bought the "hard stuff" Friday! Have tried several of the old wives tales which didn't work and as I also work I just don't have enough time to devote to that system.

As far as I can make out William Sinclairs Growing Success range seems to be the best brand for permaculture and organic type gardening/farming? Do you find this? I am totally new to this way of life and could do with the advice.

Thanks very much much in advance.
 
Galadriel Freden
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Hi Aisling, last year I had the worst case of slugs imaginable. Every seed I sowed in the garden was eaten by slugs. Every plant start and seedling I planted out was completely destroyed. The only plants that managed to hang on by a thread were those in planters on my patio--and even then I was going out at night with a light and a pair of scissors (so gross!). I tried beer traps, coffee grounds, bran, crushed eggshells--nothing worked. So I completely sympathize. I was not willing to buy the "hard stuff" though my neighbors do--and we discovered our resident hedgehog dead because of it, with her little baby wandering around looking for her. So slug poison is the worst thing, in my opinion; I value the lives of our hedgehog friends more than my hostas.

But I digress. In the end, I had to write off the vegetable and annual flower garden for last year. It was a bitter pill, but in the end I accepted it. However, it also spurred me to set up preventative measures for the future. I built a small ornamental pond for frogs and toads. I let my flock of ten chickens range through the entire garden, to find and eat slugs (normally they are confined to their own section of the property)--I let them do this right up to this spring when I started planting again. I planted more perennials: some ornamental, some wildlife-attracting/bird-friendly, and some edible, but none that slugs like (no hostas!). Last year I still had a fruit harvest, as the slugs did not touch the berry bushes or fruit trees. I also still had eggs every day, and I still had flowers from my roses and other shrubs. So my garden still produced a yield, even if I didn't get vegetables or my usual cut flowers.

And I just have to accept that there will be slug damage. It is not something I will be able to stop, and slugs are a useful part of the ecosystem: they're food for many different species, like the above mentioned frogs and hedgehogs. In fact, when weeding next to my patio this morning, I noticed several slugs hiding out; I left the pile of weeds on the side with the slugs exposed, and went into my kitchen, and almost immediately a blackbird swooped down and began pecking them up. So in the end, I have changed my view of slugs, and am building my permaculture garden with the aim of not eliminating them, but living with them.
 
Paul Andrews
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I cut slugs in half with a scissors and I am thinking of putting the corpses on a bird table to let the birds know that my plot is thee place to come for juicy slugs. Then put some on the bird table and some on the floor below the bird table to encourage the birds to explore for slugs.

We now have a pond with 1000s of tadpoles for both toads and frogs. Before they metamorphose I am going to build in a lot of habitat for them so they stick around on my plot. this will also attract slow worms and maybe grass snakes.

I don't like using cure all solutions for things like slugs because if you kill all of your slugs in one go you will drive away slug predators and the slugs will come back unchallenged next year.

When I build my aquaponics system I am going to see if the fish like slugs

paul
 
Michael Cox
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An interesting observation from my parent's place last year.

My mum was determined to clear a few large patches of nettles from some pasture, and was out with gloves and some tools cutting and digging. She made a heaped pile of nettles about 3ft tall, 6ft around. The following day we had a heavy dew and the heap was totally covered in slugs the following day. The heap was acting as an enormous slug magnet. They were on every outer surface and in the inner layers as well. I happened to be having a bit of a bonfire, clearing up some brash from a a fallen tree, so a burned the nettle pile, slugs and all.

Take home from this; if you build a slug magnet of your own you can rapidly make big dents in the local slug population. Some slug magnets I have tried:

Wooden boards laying flat on the ground near your veggies - lift them during the day and pick the slugs off.
Layers of chop-n-drop mulch material - chop it and come back 24 hours later to pick of the nasties

You can also train chickens to eat them - cut them in half before you throw them in and they will soon learn that slugs are food, despite all the slime!
 
Aisling Hurley
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Hi Galadriel, Paul and Michael.

Thanks so much for all your help. Definitely something to consider there. I really am into wildlife etc and particularly take great joy from my little smallholding. I'm not sure I'd be able for the scissors though! The nettle heap seems very interesting, I might try that and see what happens. And today I bought 3 baby ducks which we are hoping will help the situation eventually. You're all such a lovely helpful bunch.

Aisling
 
Burra Maluca
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Woohoo - a duck convert!

Some people train their chickens to eat slugs too...



Also, depending on where in the world you are, mulch can be either a good thing, or a slug breeding paradise. In Wales, I couldn't use mulch without everything becoming over-run with slugs. Now I'm in Portugal, mulch is my best friend and we don't really get enough slugs to be a problem. It might be worth having a think about why you have so many and tweaking your system accordingly. Until the ducks get themselves established!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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