Last year we tried to grow peas, beans and tomatoes, but unfortunately lost most of them to slugs! So this year we set ourselves the task of trying to deter the slugs naturally and without harming them.

We bought some copper tape and put that around the planters, as slugs are not meant to like copper as it gives them a mini electric shock. I need to research this further.

We also tried a barrier of cress around the pea plants in the hope that the slugs would eat that instead.

Unfortunately neither method worked, although the gap in the copper tape might have been the main problem. I also found one slug happily making his way across the copper yesterday, so maybe the fact that it is tarnished is a factor too.

We are going to try coffee grinds next.

The children seem to be rather fond of our army of slugs. I found my 23 month old crouching down next to one yesterday telling him he was ‘cute’, and my 5 year old timed how long it took one to crawl across a path. Its a shame about the beans though.

Do you have any ideas for us?

There are 18 comments

  1. Mary

    Slugs can be a nightmare in the garden. I’ve often lost entire crops to the blighters and have tried just about everything going to stop them! Using cut-off plastic bottles over tender young seedlings until they get big and robust enough to survive slug onslaught works for some things, like lettuces. This year I have discovered organic slug pellets that are basically high dose iron. They are animal friendly so pose no risk to pets or hedgehogs, birds etc and are slower acting than conventional pellets so don’t leave big piles of dead snails and slugs all over the place. They do work though – which is fantastic. Here in Spain they are called Ferramol,am not sure elsewhere.

  2. sarahelisabeth

    We struggle with slugs too. This year, with all the rain, I’ve been sorely tempted by slug pellets but so far have resisted! We’ve lost a fair number of little plants to slugs. We’ve taken to removing slugs from plants in the evening and disposing of them-probably not good if the children are fond of the them. There have been rather large numbers each time and still the potatoes seem to be taking a hit.

  3. Louise

    Slugs slide along, so they need a surface that allows sliding. Smooth and nearly smooth surfaces do this. Would that be about surface tension? Fluids? Forces and motion?
    Construct a barrier that does not allow the slugs to slide over it.
    Some sand will do this, but you could experiment with adding water to the sand. Sawdust apparently works too, but that may be something to do with the way sawdust smells when damp. Coffee grounds are gritty and reputedly work. Experiment. Gravel? Bark chips? Egg shells? Chop bones? Scrunched paper? Pop stick fence? Cardboard fence? Masking tape? Oily boards? Doggy poo? Feathers? You could ring individual plants and label them with the deterrent. Photograph daily. Make a chart and display findings.
    If it is a success then you have all the illustrations and information for a children’s reading book or Christmas gift for family members.

  4. catherine @mummylion

    this year’s been terrible for slugs for me too.copper tape (wide) seems to work around my plant pots, it’s saved my lettuces 9though i did fiNd a snail on the wrong side of the tape once)but they’ve made mincemeat of my sprouts and mangetouts, in the ground.

    ive put broken egg shells round my sweet potato plants now to see if that works but ive used organic slug pellets too but they seems to dissolve after a while.

    i may have to get nasty and buy pellets but ive got a dog and small child so i’m reluctant. better luck next year maybe?

  5. Katie Furber

    Have you tried nematodes? They are natuarally occuring in the soil and completely harmless to pets, wildlife and humans. 95% of slugs are underground so any deterrents put on the soil only get 5% of the pests, whereas nematodes go down into the soil. A little more expensive than some other slug control products but definatley the most effective!

  6. Jami

    I spray my seedlings with “Critter Ritter” It’s a pepper spray. I don’t usually have a problem with slugs and bugs eating my plants. Perhaps, the pepper in the spray has a similar effect as salt? I really don’t know. But I do have to respray a couple times a week, especially if we get a heavy rain. I stop spraying when the plants get too big to cover with my bottle of spray.

    Also, the slugs love our dog food. Perhaps you can set a tray of dog food out to deter them from the plants? However, that might just provide a more suitable habitat to encourage an increase in slug population.

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