About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

I have to do something about those slugs!

Last time I posted about slugs eating my veg, Mrs Green asked whether I was sure it was slugs? Perhaps it might be voles or mice? Well, we certainly have those, and that would explain why my attempts at slug-deterrence were utterly useless. But...

Caught in the act

... yes, I am sure.

It's clearly time for action. Actually, it's well past time for action - I should have done something about this ages ago. My problem with slugs, apart from the fact that they're eating all my veg, is that I can't bring myself to kill them. This is entirely illogical as I want them dead. I would be very happy if a hedgehog or a toad, or preferably whole families of both, moved in and munched through the lot of them. I just can't make myself deliberately turn a living creature into a dead one, not even the most vile and repulsive creature on the planet that is the slug.

I need another approach. Graham suggested relocating them - that's something I could cope with. At least, I could if I could face handling them. Yeuch! I donned gardening gloves and lined a flower pot with some weeds. There were several reasons for doing this. 1) to close up the holes in the bottom of the pot, 2) so that the slugs wouldn't all be stuck to the sides of the pot when I tried to tip them out, and 3) in the hope that the slugs might be less inclined to escape if they had some nice vegetation to munch on. This last turned out to be in vain.

Urgh, urgh, don't let it touch me!

Although screaming like a big girl's blouse isn't entirely conducive to deliberate action, I had a plan. Along one edge of our garden, there is what must be a pretty effective barrier.

Surely not even the most determined of monster slugs would cross
a railway line in search of carrots?

A dozen or so slugs have been relocated to the other side of the railway line. I will repeat this operation for as long as I see their horrid slimy bodies making for my veg, and hopefully get the population down to a number I can live with. None would be nice, but I'd be happy with any number that allows me to harvest a few courgettes and maybe a pumpkin.


  1. Chickens. That's the answer. As long as you take them away before the main course of the veg themselves. I've already looked over your plot to see where you could put them. That was a couple of weeks ago... ;o)

  2. EEEEWWWW! OK, perhaps there are some advantages to living in a desert climate after all. Slugs are one pest I've never dealt with. I fear I have no advice to offer, but they do look like something birds might like to eat.

    I have a friend who had a real problem with some sort of worm-like creatures. (I can't exactly remember what they were.) She dug them all out and tossed them onto the gravel driveway where the birds gobbled them up.

    Good luck... I don't envy you, that sounds really icky!

  3. I have to admit--I like slugs. I really, really like slugs. They are one of my favorite creatures. I'm a freak, I know!

    Doesn't sprinkling cayenne pepper keep them at bay? Well, surely a railroad will do it. Good luck!

  4. I, my friend, have the answer for you: check out my very old video: http://myzerowaste.com/2009/06/plastic-bottles-slug/

  5. After living in a house with a damp kitchen and, as such, a slug infestation. I got quite fond of them of them in the end. I just used kitchen roll to pick them up to avoid the slimeyness, sometimes they just went in the bin with the vegetable peelings. A little slug hotel before going to the tip.

  6. Secret Sheep, a while ago I wrote about why we don't want chickens: http://growingthingsandmakingthings.blogspot.com/2011/02/chickens.html
    ... the main course of the veg is one good reason! But go on... where would you put chickens on my plot?

    ECL, hmm... hailstorms or slugs? I'm not sure which is worse. At least slugs don't destroy everything (or at least, haven't yet).

    Demandra, I'm glad to hear slugs have at least one supporter in the world :-) Though I'm afraid liking slugs and veg gardening don't seem to be compatible, so I won't attempt to come round to your way of thinking.

    Mrs Green, I do believe you have it! I love your Blue Peter video, too :-) I'll try that for the pumpkin and courgette (if it's not too late for them), though my carrots and onions number into the hundreds, so I'm not sure it's realistic to protect each plant individually. I may yet come to revise that opinion!

    Pink Betty - Hi :-) Another slug fan! My veg peelings go straight to the compost heap and I have been leaving the slugs that live there, since being advised that slug poo (like worm poo) is excellent compost. I'm hoping those living on the heap won't bother going anywhere else, as I imagine a compost heap is sluggy heaven.

  7. Gah - Slugs. I did try removing them a few times. It's very dispiriting to go out with a torch and find two hundred in five minutes though... My mum swears by nematoids - though she doesn't buy the mixes but makes her own. It's not for the faint hearted though..She collects up a bucket full of slugs and roughly chops at them, adds waters and some nettles, mostly covers and leaves to stew somewhere. (gag) Apparently the nematodes (I can't spell this..) are already parasites in most slugs and will multiply in this gank, she then strains (shudder) dilutes and waters the ground with the mix. It's best done in the spring apparently. She does have a remarkably slug free garden. I'm not sure it's worth the price though...

  8. I have to admire your mum. I can't even bring myself to step on them, never mind chop and leave to rot. I love the DIY nature of this solution, though.

  9. Hello from Canada! Do you have any comfrey? Slugs like the leaves, and if you leave some lying around, they'll gravitate to them. Then just lift them and throw them in the compost. It ain't perfect but I've been trying it this year and found it better than squishing. We have lots of toads, too, bless them!

  10. Hi Christine :-)
    We do have comfrey, and it's multiplying fairly fast, so I should have plenty going spare next year. I'll try that method - thanks for the tip.

  11. I'm a bit late replying to your post, but my hens don't much like me feeding them slugs. They DO like snails though. One thing I didn't do last year and will this year is look out for snail/slug eggs (under things,eg, logs, old bits of carpet and sometimes in the ground when i dig) and feed them to my rather fussy hens before they become slugs/snails.

  12. Maybe you can find someone who will lend you hens occasionally (for an afternoon of supervised slug munching)...


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