Snails and slugs can be a real problem in any garden. They can cause lots of damage in just one night and are especially problematic in a new garden but what can be done to help protect your precious plants?
We garden without chemicals in the Old House garden. When you have pets and a resident hedgehog as well as slow worms, bats, pond life and birds, gardening with chemicals is just not for us. We want to encourage this wildlife and using chemicals is not an option. If you have young children you should think very carefully about using chemicals.
Here are my 5 Top Tips for fighting slugs and snails in your garden without using chemicals:
1. Encourage Wildlife in
The best way to get on top of snails and slugs is to encourage animals into your garden that will eat them. Make homes for hedgehogs, leave a wild patch, make homes for insects and make a hole in your fence so that hedgehogs can get in and out. By creating a more wildlife friendly garden you will also encourage animals to come and feast on your slugs and snails! Building a wildlife pond will encourage frogs and toads into your garden and their favourite food are slugs and snails.
2. Raised beds and gravel
Making it trickier for slugs and snails to actually get to your precious plants is another way to help prevent slug and snail damage. Gravel around raised beds is uncomfortable for slugs and snails to move across. Ensuring your plants are as healthy as they can be will also ensure they are not so vulnerable to pests. Use mulch, make your own compost and water your plants reguarlarly (using water from your water butts of course!)
3. Beer traps and crushed egg shells
I have tried both beer traps and crushed egg shells with varying success. Last Spring, I planted delphiniums that are a particular favourite of slugs and snails! I surrounded some with egg shells and others with beer traps. The ones with beer traps did not work at all but the ones with egg shells did. It has to be noted that these plants were in a bed near a wildlife pond so that may have helped too. Beer traps had more success surrounding my vegetables. To make one, put some beer into a pot. It has to be deep enough so that the slugs and snails can’t get out. The slugs and snails like the yeast in the beer and will choose this over your plants (well that’s the theory!). When the trap is full, I tip them into my compost bin.
4. Using coffee or cardboard
I have also had some success with using coffee grounds surrounding plants. You can also try sawdust, ash or sand at the base of your delicate plants as the slugs and snails don’t like the feel of them on their foot. Some people swear by this method. Strips of cardboard around raised beds may deter the pests but I have never found that this does as they just cross the cardboard. You can smear the cardboard with petroleum jelly as the snails can’t cross the jelly. Again, I haven’t found this particularly helpful and it is very time consuming!
The only other method I have found to be useful is to actually go out at dusk and pick off the snails and slugs and pop them in the compost bin! It’s time consuming but it does work! Last year, I tried Slug gone.These amazing pellets made from sheep wool really worked on keeping my vegetables safe! It may have been also due to the very hot summer we had but I will definately be using these again.
I hope you found this post useful! Do let me know if there are any ways you have found work in your garden.
A blog about the renovation of our old house and it’s garden in the English countryside. I also blog about interiors, general gardening tips and visits to glorious gardens.