Public Enemy Number One

by Cynthia

Slug on Daylily

The evil little monster you see above has returned with a vengeance to my garden yet again. It has been a very wet first week of spring here in Northwest Oregon and my number one garden menace is in its element with the perennials that are cautiously emerging. Note my poor daylily and it’s chewed on leaves.

Slug Damage on Daylily

Normally I patrol the garden with a bottle of iron phosphate in hand, liberally shaking it in and around our gardens. Iron phosphate is an organic way of controlling slugs and snails and is safe to use around pets and children. It works by the slug (or snail) ingesting it which causes the slug to stop feeding and in return die. Not very humane but neither is the ole salt trick that my 10 year old always encourages me to do. Nor was the way I handled all the millions of snails I dealt with in our California garden. They were taken care of by me simply tossing them into the street!

The slugs I must deal with up here seem to number in the billions! I am quickly finding out that my normal sprinkling of iron phosphate is adding up fast when it comes to hurting the wallet. However, I know of two other organic methods of slug and snail control that I have been wondering if I should try out.

The first method involves saving egg shells that have been washed and dried and are then crushed into a powder. You then sprinkle the powder around your plants that are being nibbled on. The slugs and snails will supposedly not cross the powdered egg shells.

The second method has to do with the leftover coffee sitting in your pot that has grown too strong to drink. Instead of dumping that coffee down the drain you can spray it onto the slug which is supposed to repel the slimy little pest. Some people claim that sprinkling coffee grounds around the plants also help in repelling them but some studies I have read state that it is the actual brewed coffee that is suppose to do the trick.

Both methods are worth trying and seem a lot cheaper than repeatedly having to go out and buy the container of iron phosphate. I also like how both the egg shells and coffee grounds have an added bonus of boosting the soil’s fertility and organic matter. If they also help rid my garden of those slimy buggers than they are all the better in my book!

Does anyone else know of anymore organic tips for ridding the garden of slugs and snails?

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