YY Gardening

Black slug
Top Tips on Beating Slugs without Pellets

We don’t like using slug pellets as they are (unsurprisingly) very toxic. Even if you can ensure that wildlife and pets don’t eat the pellets themselves, it is impossible to prevent hedgehogs and birds from eating the poisoned slugs.

So over the years we have developed the following techniques. If you have any more tips to add to the list please comment below!

1. Slug Removal

a. slug at nightGo into the garden when it’s dark with a torch and pick them all up

b. Near your beds place tarp/flat stones or tiles that the slugs will hide under and simply pick them off in the morning


2. Physical Plant Protection

slug collar cropWe’ve tried crushed shells, cut-off plastic bottles and sheep’s wool with little success to be honest (as above photo illustrates!).

However these slug collars have a good reputation and copper tape is meant to be effective while it is 100% intact – but they are both quite expensive.

3. Potions

There are some things you can spray or put round your plants that slugs don’t like the taste of:

  • coffee grounds (needs to be topped up after washed away by rain)
  • Una Dunnett’s Garlic Wash recipe for Hostas: Crush two bulbs of garlic, steam or boil them in two pints of water for three to four minutes until they’re blanched, Strain mixture and make back up to two pints. Leave it to cool, then mix one tablespoon into a gallon (3.8l) of water, and sprinkle on to hosta leaves in dry weather. Re-apply after it has rained.
4. Out of reach

hanging planters 2We’ve had some success suspending planters of lettuce off the ground. These are a couple of old recycling baskets attached to an old sewing machine table base. Simply putting pots on chairs might help.

But don’t forget – when you transplant a plant into a safe new position there’s a chance you’ve taken a slug with it in the soil so check the plants for stow- aways the first couple of nights.

5. Grow plants that slugs don’t like to eat!

We’ve found that the following are safe from slugs: rocket, land cress, nasturtiums – probably because of their peppery taste.  Also our chick pea and potato plants haven’t been nibbled at all.

cress, rocket & lettuce labelled

6. Tasty Traps

You can use beer or make a potion that slugs find irresistible and then drown in. Thanks to PP reader Joan for sharing a Telegraph recipe from a few years ago that really works well:

Mix 2 cups warm water, 2 tbsp flour, 1 tsp sugar and half teaspoon yeast. Pour into shallow plastic container and leave near the affected plants.

Joan makes it in industrial quantities: 80g flour, 20g sugar, 10g yeast and 1 litre of warm water


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