Slimy Slugs: Dreaded Garden Pests
Slugs are slow-moving cousins of the snail and are commonly garden pests, especially in humid regions. These yucky little guys are involved in the worst (or at least most disgusting) and most personal garden pest experience that I have ever had. I was enjoying a beautiful homegrown organic salad, minding my own business when, suddenly, my mouth became completely coated with the slimiest slime that I have ever known. I immediately spit out the offending mouthful of food and saw that there was a teeny tiny slug, or at least most of one, in it. The slime coating in my mouth stayed for at least half an hour, despite many efforts to rid myself of it. Just thinking of it makes me shudder and renews my dislike of slugs.
Your organic slug control strategy is threefold: take their homes away, keep new slugs from moving in and kill any slugs who dare to remain. So, on to the first step, eliminating their habitat. Slugs like to live in damp, shady places during the day and awake to forage in your delicious organic garden at night. By removing tall grass or weeds, rotting logs, boards or any plant detritus (including your compost pile) from your immediate garden area you will eliminate a lot of potential slug habitat.
The second slug control strategy is to create a slug barrier around your garden.
The barrier can be made or anything that will poke, stab, dry out or otherwise
irritate the slugs. There are many types of organic slug barriers that you can
try in your organic garden.
The third step and the one that gives you the most extensive slug exposure
(yuck!) is trapping any slugs who persist in calling your garden home. You can
accomplish this by luring slugs with the bait of your choosing. Many people
swear by using beer as slug bait but for the teetotalers among us, there are
various non-alcoholic baits available, either homemade, such as a sugar water
and yeast mixture, or
purchased, such as Sluggo. Slugs can also be trapped
By combining these organic slug control strategies, you will be able to safely keep these pests out of your garden and out of your salad.
For more Information
Some excellent information about slugs, their biology and their habits can be found at: Backyard Nature
An extensive list of slug barrier materials can be found at Golden Harvest Organics
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Tammy Biondi has been growing organic produce for over 10 years. Besides running Blue Horizon Farm, Tammy teaches about sustainable farming at the Central Carolina Community College. She also is a successful freelance writer, focusing on agricultural topics. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.