This year more than any other I can remember, our modest garden has been affected by the local molusc community. It appears that almost overnight a healthly display of blooms has been reduced to a scene resembling a wasteland by the appetite of these nocturnal visitors. After surveying the scene following a second re-planting something has to be done! The question was – what?
For many gardeners, getting rid of slugs has long been a back – breaking task, involving picking them out of flower beds at night using rubber gloves and a torch. So what about a commercial approach? Some of the more traditional products such as those based on metaldehyde have been found to be toxic and potentially harmful to pets ( and fatal to earthworms!). A good number if the newer commercial products come with extravagant and scarcely believable claims on their packaging. So what then about alternative more natural remedies? Here are a few that were put forward:
CORNFLOWER – put a tablespoon or two of cornflower in a jar and lay it on its side wherever there is slug activity. The slugs love this stuff but it immobilizes them.
BEER – dig a hole approximately 4 – 6 inches deep and place a disposable plastic cup inside the hole. Fill the cup about 80% full of beer and check daily. Empty out the slugs and refill with beer as often as needed. The slugs are attracted to the yeast and barley in the beer.
USE SALT – spread salt on the surface of the soil surrounding the plants. However, if you’re not careful higher salinity levels can very easily disrupt the soil and plant growth.
EGGSHELLS – and other rough material such as sand will also deter slugs. Place finely crushed shells or rough sand in a perimeter around the plants you are trying to protect.
COFFEE – by chance, scientists have discovered that coffee is remarkably effective at repelling the creatures. They say slugs, and indeed snails, hate caffeine. Simply sprinkling coffee grounds around the edge of the flower beds might be enough to put them off.
So perhaps my next visit to the coffee chain will be to ask for a bag of their waste!