Dealing with Slugs & Snails

It’s been wet, and now it is a bit warmer too, and with lots of fresh, new veg plants going in the ground, slugs and snails will be having a field day. Here are some ways to protect your plants without resorting to chemical slug pellets. Using a combination of these different tactics will make a big difference.

  1. Make sure your plot is as free of slug-friendly hiding places as possible: Remove any big stones, fallen branches, empty pots etc etc. Put watering cans and trugs away at the end of the day. Keep your plot as weed free as you can.
  2. Make slug traps: Sink some old cups/ramekins into the soil in between rows of plants and fill with cheap lager or sugary water. The slugs will hopefully be sidetracked by the traps before they get to your veg.
  3. Use hollowed out citrus shells: juice half an orange/grapefruit/lemon, then take the remaining shells to the veg patch and prop them up with a small stone. Slugs and snails will be able to use it as shelter. You can then do a regular removal.
  4. Use a barrier of something gritty: For the particularly vulnerable plants, like lettuces, brassicas and corn, a barrier of something gritty around the base of the plants is a good technique. Our Slug Deterrent works well for this, and many people use dried crushed eggshells.
  5. Try copper tape around pots – we don’t find this hugely effective, but done in conjunction with a regular check for slugs/snails hiding underneath the pots tends to keep slug damage to a minimum.
  6. Do a dusk patrol: For those of you that really struggle with slugs, you may need to get your hands a bit dirty during a nightly dusk patrol. Grab a bucket, get your gloves on, don your head torch, and gather up slugs from raised beds etc. What you do with the slugs is up to you…relocating them is probably kindest!

Finally, remember that slugs and snails prefer damp conditions, so this is when they will be most active. When rain is forecast during summer, be extra vigilant! During dry spells, it is sensible to water early in the morning rather than evening when possible, so as to avoid dampening the soil at night time.