Call me a little off-my-rocker but I LOVE SLUGS. I think they are insanely cute. Their shape, their slime, the way they slowly slink. Ahhh – slugs are just adorable. Until they eat up my garden! Stinkers.
Tiny is a lover of all things garden-pest. Therefore, I am not allowed to do anything that would bring harm to ‘her’ slugs. This is fine. I can scoop them up and rehome them in the field behind us. Eventually it won’t be a field. Someone will be building a house their shortly and I am not too sure what I will do with the slugs then. Maybe bring them to the park? Not sure. Will cross that slug bridge when I come to it.
I realize that my form of slug control isn’t going to work for everyone. Heck, it really doesn’t work for me in the throes of garden season. I just can’t keep up! So, I am sharing some other humane, natural ways to keep your garden area as slug free as possible. I’m not promising that EVERY slug will vacate. Slugs are pretty clever when it comes to seeking out shelter. But you should see a noticeable reduction in the number of slugs feasting on your freshly planted lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and other garden goodies.
4 Natural Ways To Deter Slugs From Gobbling Up Your Garden
Slugs love this easy-to-grow legume. Researchers found that when this alternative source of food was planted next to garden beds, slugs favored it over more valuable edibles. Resilient and hardy red clover grows in a wide variety of soils. While the clover lasts, this method substantially reduces slug damage. After it fades, cut it down and incorporate it into the soil as nitrogen-rich organic matter. I use this brand from my affiliate partner Amazon.
Water your garden in the morning
Slugs love damp and they love the dark. If you water your garden at night, they will be naturally drawn to the area. If you water in the morning, the surface soil will be dry by evening and slugs will tend to skip over the area. Studies show this can reduce slug damage by 80%.
Seaweed is not only a good soil amendment for the garden, it's a natural repellent for slugs. Mulch with seaweed around the base of plants or perimeter of bed. Pile it on 3″ to 4″ thick – when it dries it will shrink to just an inch or so deep. Seaweed is salty and slugs avoid salt. Push the seaweed away from plant stems so it's not in direct contact. During hot weather, seaweed will dry and become very rough which also deters the slugs. I personally have had luck with this brand.
Overturned grapefruit halves, with a stone placed under the edge to tilt it up a bit, will attract slugs. Leave overnight, and you'll find the slugs stuck to the flesh in the morning. Slugs love the scent and the moisture. You can collect the slugs in the morning and dispose of them or relocate them.
Need a more permanent slug solution? Here are 4 ways to humanely kill slugs in garden areas.
I have written about this before in my spider control post. Diatomaceous earth, a natural mineral dust, dries out slugs within days after they come into contact with the sharp prehistoric particles. It isn’t horribly painful but dehydrating until the point of death doesn’t sound too good either. But it does work. All you need to do is sprinkle it around your garden areas. The slugs crawl through, the sharp little particles cut up the underside of the slug, it dries out and dies. There you go. Slug gone. I get my DE here.
Mother Earth News recommends crushing up egg shells and sprinkling them around your plants. The slugs crawl across the shells and like the DE, get cut up, dry out, and die. Obviously the egg shells will also benefit the soil as they decompose… so they provide double the benefit.
Yes, beer. This type of trap works because slugs are attracted to the fermented yeast in beer. Take a shallow container (a repurposed sour cream container is great) and bury it so that it is even with the soil level. Fill the container with beer to within an inch of the rim. The slugs crawl in and drown. Change out the beer every couple of days. The slugs like their beer fresh.
The two I know of and feel ok suggesting are Sluggo or Escar-Go. They rely on the power of iron phosphate. Iron phosphate is an organic compound that is found naturally in the soil, and if the bait is not consumed by a slug or snail, the material breaks down into fertilizer for your soil. Iron phosphate is not volatile, and does not readily dissolve in water, which minimizes its dispersal beyond where it is applied. So slugs it eat and die. The end.
Have you fought the slug battle and won? If so, do share what worked for you!