Slugs are not the most popular creatures in the garden. In the garden and the vegetable garden, they can indeed do a lot of damage. After a few unwanted nibbles on lettuce and young plants, we quickly get used to getting rid of these pests. However, how to chase them away around the plants without pesticides and other not very ecological chemical products? You can of course use organic repellents based on ferric phosphate (or ferric sodium). However, there are also 100% natural methods to scare away slugs that we usually already have at home.
By the way, remember that slugs are more active and harmful at night. To avoid attracting them with wet soil, get into the habit of watering in the morning. This simple and very effective gesture will limit a large part of the damage in the garden, all without any toxic product or special effort from the gardener! Indeed, the soil will have time to dry during the day and will seem less hospitable.
1) Simply pick up!
Roll up your sleeves, get your courage up and pick up slugs to release them away from your vegetable garden. You can also use a grapefruit half, a wooden board, a piece of cardboard or a tile. Place them directly on the ground. There is also a more aesthetic solution: place a flower pot upside down, leaving an opening for them to pass through. The slugs will take refuge underneath before daybreak. The next day, just turn them over to harvest.
2) Bait the slugs to get rid of them
First of all, there’s the famous beer trap to distract. Take a cup and fill it with beer. Simply place it next to the plants you want to protect. Change the container every 2 or 3 days. However, this classic solution is not always popular, because it sometimes attracts all the slugs in the neighborhood… even those that had not planned to come to your garden! In addition, the slugs’ enemies (carabids and staphylins in particular) also tend to come and drown. Otherwise, you can attract them with piles of fresh herbs, potato slices or bran. Once attracted, you can pick them up and put them somewhere else.
3) Useful slug powders
First of all, you can spread coffee grounds around the young plants. Snails and slugs hate caffeine. And in addition to having a repellent effect, it serves as a fertilizer for the garden. Alternatively, pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into a jar and place it on the side of the areas where they are found. The cornstarch will swell their stomachs and kill them. Of course, this is not the solution we recommend most, as it means killing an animal. However, you may have to go through this in case of a big invasion… To kill them, it is also possible to sprinkle salt on them. Again, this is a last resort, especially since salting the soil too much is not good for the environment.
4) Grow plants that repel slugs
In addition to adding to your garden (and your plates), certain plants are real repellents for these little beasts. For example, choose ginger, garlic, chives, mint, endive, kale, broccoli, etc. In fact, you can use garlic from the garden to make a homemade repellent. To do this, carefully blend 2 large heads of garlic. Then pour the puree into about 15 liters of water. This repellent is to be applied to the plants to be protected from slugs as well as aphids.
5) Invite their natural enemies into your garden
As said earlier, surround yourself with carabids (a kind of beetle). This natural predator will chase them away in no time. You can find their larvae in garden centers and introduce them into your garden in early spring. Also, call on birds: robins, jays and other common species enjoy slugs. You can also adopt a chicken or a duck that will be happy to get rid of slugs. Toads are also great slug eaters. To attract them, create a dark shelter and possibly add a pond without fish (they could eat the tadpoles). The hedgehog is also an effective predator. To attract them to your garden, make branches and dead leaves available for them to make a nest. Finally, there are also thrushes, scented staphylins, glow worms, millipedes…
6) Make the soil inhospitable to slugs
They do not like to move on a soil that scratches or that bothers them … So, do not forget this detail when you seek to get rid of them. Here, there is no lack of organic solutions!
-Of course, there is ash, which can also be beneficial for the garden, but you can’t abuse it so as not to harm the plantations in the long run.
-On the other hand, it is possible to scatter coarsely crushed eggshells all around the vegetable plants. These crumbs of eggshells make an “impassable” border for the slugs and they are good for the plants of the garden.
-There are also wood chips or sawdust, coarsely crushed fresh eagle ferns and pine needles. Note, however, that the latter acidify the soil and promote the appearance of moss in gardens and vegetable gardens.
7) Last natural solutions to chase away slugs
Abrasive and rough, diatomaceous earth can be mixed with water and sprayed on the soil and the attacked leaves. It will scare away these little pests and many others along the way. For the same reasons, lava rock can also be placed around the plants to be protected. In addition, you can make a natural mulch with a good layer of seaweed. Salted and dried by the sun, they are very unpleasant for slugs. Finally, invite copper into your garden. You can install a copper strip on flower pots and stockings or put a copper wick on the stems of plants that are under attack.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.