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How To Grow Vegetables

How To Kill Slugs

When it comes to garden pests then there can be few that are more annoying than slugs and snails. Indeed they are the scourge of most vegetable gardens. Unchecked they can decimate most vegetable and salad crops literally overnight.

So let us address the most common pest of the two and that is slugs. Slugs just love damp conditions, and as many of us do the sensible thing and water our vegetable plants at the end of the day, thus avoiding any risk of leaf burn that can occur when watering in the morning, then we provide an ideal environment for slugs to come out in and attack our vegetable plants at night.

They attack everything from cucumbers to tomatoes and every vegetable in the alphabet in between.

However slugs are relatively easy to get rid of, you just need a little persistence. Firstly you can use slug pellets but care needs to be taken that when scattering them on plants such as potatoes that the pellets do not get stuck on the leaves, as not only can the pellets effect the potatoes but also to be effective slug pellets need to be on the ground. The simple mechanics are that whilst the slugs will climb up plants and attack them, they have to go across the ground to reach the plants first!

Slug pellets will need putting down every time after it rains as they become ineffective after a downpour of any length.

Whilst slug pellets are highly effective and cheap the only downside is that you cannot really use them if you wish to class your crop as organic, as the chemicals from them will get washed in to the soil and hence they will end up in your vegetable crop.

One solution that is “Organic” is to use slug traps to entice the slugs in to and drown them, you either buy custom made slug traps that come with a powder that you add water to and place in the slug traps. The scent draws the slugs in and then they drown in the trap. Another alternative is to make your own slug traps out of old margarine tubs, they can simply be filled with beer, which is known to attract slugs, and the tubs dug slightly in to the ground.

The slug traps will need checking each morning and emptying of any dead slugs. This disadvantage is that these types of traps will need fresh beer adding on a regular basis after it has rained as an example.

One organic solution that is rarely affected by rain is to place crushed eggshells on the soil around your vegetables, as slugs do not like the spiked eggshells and will not crawl over them. The disadvantage is that whilst the eggshells will keep the slugs away from your plants they will not actually kill the slugs.

Whilst the above two slug killing solutions are practically free, you can choose to place copper rings around the edges of pot plants. The slug actually reacts to the copper and in effect it electrocutes itself and thus they will not cross over the copper.

By using slug traps, eggshells or copper rings then you can still class your plants as organic as none of these slug solutions will affect the vegetables in any way. Of note though is that only the slug traps will kill them, the other methods just deter them.

Table salt is also a very effective way of killing slugs, simply pour it on top of a slug and it will kill them in minutes.

The last solution to recommend for getting rid of slugs is to the method preferred by many serious gardeners and that is to get a torch, some gloves and a jar of liquid to drown the slugs in, and out shortly after it has gone dark and use the torch to highlight the slugs, then use the gloves to pick them up with and drown them in the jar of liquid (Plain water will do but a strong saltwater solution will do the job more effectively). If done nightly over a period of time this will see the number of slugs in your garden decrease considerably.

If you catch slugs then drown them, do not put them in the compost heap or throw them over a fence, as they will crawl back. I hope you found these tips on how to kill slugs most useful.

By Richard Allen -

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