KevinFrom the Garden, Vegetables8 Comments

This is not a complaint. Every time I feel like I want to complain about this year’s inundation of slugs, I consider what my yard was like before when it was an expanse of lawn, with zero life in or near it. Or I think about the west coast with their huge slugs the size of your index finger – these look big, but only because of a 100mm lens. And I’ll take biodiversity over convenience. I ran into a friend who farms veg organically who described slugs as an urban problem – in a cultivated field there’s too much soil for them to cross before they arrive at a plant. In cities there’s lots of habitat. A con to urban ag perhaps? A manageable one, if so.

These things are seedling mowers. It took me a while to figure out that the house sparrows kind of nip and shred seedlings once about an inch tall, but slugs will make baby seedlings a few days old disappear. I had a patch of beautiful seedlings, went on holidays, came back and they had vanished. So I declared war. I tried the beer trap thing, but failed epicly, so I resorted to good, old-fashioned picking. With tongs, because you only have to try to scrub slug slime off your hands once before figuring out that’s something worth avoiding. It’s kind of like the goopiness of nasty fish slime with the tenacity of evergreen sap. Picked a hundred or so a day the first few, then it dropped into the dozens, until a week or two in I’m only finding a couple every morning. I can live with those numbers. I also can live with getting used to bugs. These things grossed me out before. Now my 5 year old and I hunt them in the morning like they’re easter eggs. Well. Kind of like that.

8 Comments on “Slugs”

  1. TaraZ

    Have you thought about renting a snake, duck or chicken? Apparently they eat slugs.

  2. Sharon in Surrey

    Honey, we have big yellow banana slugs the size of well – bananas – here on the Wet Coast!!! And you really haven’t lived until you step on one in bare feet – need I say more??? Forget the beer trap – sprinkle a little sharp sand or ashes in your garden – slugs won’t cross. I’m sure slugs’re good for something besides feeding geese & ducks, they just love slugs.

  3. Marg

    Crushed egg shells work as a slug deterrent. I put my egg shells into an empty container on my kitchen counter and after I have collected quite a few I whirr them in the food processer and sprinkled them around plants that the slugs have been feasting on. While it is not 100% effective, it is free, harmless and good for your soil.

  4. Deb

    I have got good with chopsticks, even branches I find in the yard that are close to chopstick size. I go out at night with a head lamp when they stretch themselves out on top of the plant, making them easy to lift from the plant to a bag of salt. I live on the west cost (Everett Washington USA) I hate to leave ANY because they lay so many eggs, none of which seem to fail. We do have huge slugs on the left coast BUT it is the little gray slugs who do all the damage in the vegetable garden. I call them plant lice. You can sprinkle all the salt and eggshell you want around the edge of your garden, but if you buy plants to put into your garden or (I suspect) use bagged starting soil, you will have slugs in your veggies. The big guys seem to like my compost.

    I do not hunt for them as often as I once did. They began to invade my dreams, causing me to clench my teeth which in turn caused me to crack an expensive implant. The result is a new kind of cabbage…….Swiss Cheese Cabbage (or maybe holy cabbage).

    AND “Sharon in Surrey” they are “good” for something other than bird food. The eat dog poop……at least the big ones do (another reason I do not want them on my food).

    Debs of the Toy Box Suburban Farm

  5. Calgary Gardening Adventures

    I find most of the slugs in my yard chomping on dandelion leaves in the lawn. So there is a trade-off. I usually let them be, as they don’t seem to bother the garden much, likely because I water intensively leaving a barrier of dry crusty clay soil around the garden perimeter.

    I too have struggled with things nibbling on seedlings, and have been shifting to more perennials to make the annual seedlings more manageable. I also plan to experiment with row covers, but never seem to get around to it.

  6. Ami

    I recently heard that epsom salts are good for the garden. Dissolve a few tablespoons in water, and spritz on your plants. Not only does it deter slugs, but adds magnesium and iron to the soil.

  7. Erin Klassen

    I burst out laughing when I read you go slug hunting with your 5yo because we did the EXACT same thing every morning the past 2 months. My boys & I would hunt them down (along with the gazillions of mushrooms) and I’d trowel them into an ice cream bucket.

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