I use a variety of organic slug deterrents on the plot with varying degrees of success…. and much to the amusement of our long standing plot holder neighbours who are not so organic shall we say!
Organic slug pellets haven’t seemed to work for me in the past and incidentally these also raise the loudest laugh from said plot holders but I just can’t bring myself to “go out at night with a torch and snip them in half”. That said, during my recent trip to River Cottage I learnt of a professional brand which contains the magic ferric phosphate so I may give it a go.
Either way I need to find a way to deter the many slugs sliding up the stems of both the lettuce and cabbage and then camping out all year getting fat.
Until that time the jury is out on the rest but these are what I use in no particular order:
Egg shells – are too sharp for the slippery molluscs to manoeuvre over and most effective early on in the growing season by surrounding newly planted seedlings (particularly lettuce) 1-2 inches all the way around. You need quite a thick layer of small pieces too. I’ve seen some people just sprinkle large pieces of egg shell around and this is completely futile as it’s the texture not the scent that’s the deterrent. For me this method works really well.
Nemaslug – yes they are expensive and yes we do have heavy clay soil which can reduce the success rate of these microscopic slug munching machines but I think they do help to keep the population down on our plot. Principally aimed at the small black keeled slugs which remain underground and enjoy nothing more than devouring a bed of potatoes or root veg! Use a fine rose head on your watering can and apply where they are going to be of most value!
Wool pellets – I’m using these again this year having bought a bulk lot at the Edible Garden Show which worked out a bit more economical. The pellets swell when wet and work in the same way as egg shells making for a scratchy journey to mollusc nirvana aka. the lettuce/cabbage bed. I’ve applied a thick layer and they ARE working!
Coffee grounds – work for me. I pick up free bags of used coffee from my local high street supplier and it goes on both the beds and compost heap. Slugs and snails neither like the scent nor texture so tend to keep away but you need to be a little careful as to how much you apply as it can up the acidity level of your soil. You would have to use quite a lot to have this effect though!
Slug repellent – slugs are repelled by the taste. A bit like the awful stuff you can paint on your nails to stop biting them. I’m trialling it on my seedlings in the greenhouse.
Beer traps – guaranteed to kill all that fall into it! I use 1 per 8 Sq. meter bed. Absolutely disgusting to clean out though!
Wildlife – toads are revered as mollusc hovers and birds will also happily feast so to encourage both, we installed a pond and bird feeders. Fingers crossed they move in and enjoy getting fat!