Saturday, August 11, 2007

Slugs: The battle continues

Slugs have been our biggest problem in the garden so far. We haven't seen any aphids this year, escaped the dreaded potato blight and we only began to get black fly on the broad beans towards the end of their season (tip from a veggie-growing friend, once your broad beans begin to come into flower, pinch out the tops of the plants and this is supposed to prevent black fly..... don't ask me how, that's just what I've been told.)

As we garden organically, we have tried to deter them in the kindest possible way as we are conscious that although they are a real nuisance, they do form part of a food chain and we shouldn't just kill them.

Firstly we used organic slug repellent granules around the base of the broad beans. These are reasonably effective, however they do need replenishing occasionally, particularly after long bouts of heavy rain. We've also tried using nematodes to treat the raised bed known to us as the salad garden, along with copper tape around the top edge of the bed. It appears though that we have some military-style hardcore slugs that can handle the copper tape and get over it.

My next trick is to try a combination of slug defence gel around the base of and around the inside edge of the bed (in case they negotiate their way over the copper tape, which some do) and if they still insist on eating all my young seedlings, a barrier of organic slug repellent granules around the seedlings.

If that doesn't work, I wonder if the urban frog we plan to attract might help by eating them? Do frogs eat slugs?


Liz said...

I don't really have too many problems with slugs on my allotment but in my little garden at home they're a real problem. I couldn't say if this is due to the fact that there are actually more slugs in the garden or if it's because in a little garden, with less plants, you notice more when one takes a hammering.
The best way I've found to remove any possible hiding places and to go out in the garden in the evening and picking off any I can see. I've also had great success with beer traps but these end up meaning you pay a fortune in booze to get rid of them - at least it's a happy ending for them!

Anonymous said...

Hiya, copper tape def. works, nematodes i'm not sure about. I try not to use slug pellets tho as they actually attract slugs - which is never good as some will inevitably much your plants too! Nice to see you making the most of your space.

Anonymous said...

If you need to use slug pellets then use a plastic box or bottle with a hole cut in it and put the pellets inside. Stops other critters eating them but the slugs still do.

Frogs do eat slugs and so do hedgehogs.

If you are a regular at a pub ask for the contents of the slop trays (slugs aren't fussy) for beer traps.