Slugs and snails are amazing creatures, and cute too, until they are decimating my lettuce or making lace out of my spring flowers. While I don’t want them around, I shy away from anything chemical that will kill beneficial insects or make my garden toxic, so here are some tips for getting rid of your unwanted slimy slugs naturally.
Put on a Buffet
Nature takes care of its own, so set up a bird bath or bird feeder in your garden. Birds love eating slugs and if you attract enough of them to your garden, slugs will be a thing of the past. A small pond will attract frogs, salamanders, newts, toads and turtles who also consider slugs a delicacy.
Throw a Party
Bury a small container so that the rim is ½ inch above the ground. This will allow the slugs to go over but will prevent slug-killing beetles from getting caught in your trap. Now pour a little beer in the bottom. Slugs are party animals and will throw themselves into this beer pool with wild abandon. Check the trap each morning for drowned slugs.
You can also lay a jar on its side with a little cornmeal in the bottom. The slugs will eat the cornmeal and die when it expands in their stomachs.
Have a Sleep Over
Slugs are very active at night, but they look for cool, damp places to hide during the day. Keeping your garden free of debris and leaves will help to discourage infestations, but you can also use this to your advantage. Create little slug yurts with empty orange and grapefruit halves. Place them (open side down) around your garden. In the morning, turn the peels upside down to see if you have caught any slugs.
Your Daily Grind
Slugs hate coffee! Sprinkle used coffee grinds around all your favorite plants to keep the slugs away. Coffee grounds will decompose and will add a little acidity to your soil which is great for berries.
Slugs don’t like strongly scented blooming plants like lavender, sage, begonia, nasturtium, rosemary and hydrangeas. Plants from the onion family like onions, leeks, garlic and spring onions will also repel slugs. Planting these in between your vegetables or around plants that get regularly eaten by slugs will deter these little slime balls.
Diatomaceous Earth is great for fending off slugs and other pests. Simply buy food-grade diatomaceous earth and sprinkle it around the base of your plants. Slugs don’t like crawling over the ragged edges.
If you don’t want to harm the slugs, pick them off by hand and relocate them. Use gloves, chopsticks or clothing pegs if you want to avoid slimy fingers. Another idea is to create a little slug and snail fence. Just run a wire connected to a nine-volt battery around the perimeter of your garden. This won’t kill the slugs, but it will give them enough of a shock to send them packing. Get a tutorial on how to make a slug fence here.