Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Anti-Slug Movement

The slug population was at a max when we arrived at this new house. No one had taken care of this garden and it was a lush jungle of weeds and happy garden pests. So the minute new plants got planted, the slugs mowed them down.
My mom was very angry after her pickle and another zucchini plant got eaten. Thus began our mission to rid the garden of the booming slug population.
At first, it was a very messy business. I marched out with garden shears in hand and snipped all the slugs into halves. Ewwwwwwwww! (But on the happy side, that's a very eco-friendly and highly effective method!)
Next, my mom took out the slug bait (not so eco-friendly), and some poor slugs ate themselves to death (still a very messy business). She kept the slug bait in plastic containers so that the slug bait didn't get into the soil. I bought the vegetable-garden-safe kind, but I still like to keep it out of the soil when I can.
And now that the slug population is much more manageable, we've found a new eco-friendly way to protect our plants from being eaten - busted pots! My mom had a thin plastic pot that came with one of her tomato plants and it was cracked down the side, making it useless for planting other plants into. However, it's perfect as a barrier for keeping out the slugs.
I cut the bottom off, and divided the pot into top and bottom halves (with those deadly-to-slug garden shears, no less!) . Then I placed the plant in the middle, topped it up with good soil and, voila! The plant is now safe from slugs. Just make sure that the barrier is high enough from the surrounding soil that the slugs won't decide to scale the wall.

Well, hopefully your garden isn't as slug infested as mine. I think I'll still be slug-hunting with the garden shears for a while (ugh!), but at least I can plant things into the garden now without having to worry that they'll be missing come morning time.

Who would have thought that gardening could be such a frighteningly violent past-time, huh?

Have a happy, slug-free week!


Joyce said...

my dad captures the slugs and drop them into our fish tanks. very nutritious organic fish food :) said...

No way!!! That's ingenious! I have a HUGE fish tank! I wonder if they will eat them... hm... I'll have to look this up now! said...

Hm... apparently people feed all sorts of insects including slugs to their Oscar fish. The big Koi goldfish eat them too!

But I read that you have to watch out for insecticides and pesticides because the slugs and snails absorb them easily. So avoid feeding them to your fish if you have pesticides in your garden or in the vicinity.

Some of the people on the forums bred their own slugs and snails to feed to their fish so that they could avoid pesticide exposure.

Oh, and apparently the slime can get on your plants and stay there for a bit so it can be messy - ewww! So maybe stick with little slugs.