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Organic Slug Control

Rita Vail


Joined: Feb 28, 2010
Posts: 57
Location: NW Arkansas
I just now watched the Paul Wheaton video above! Anyone with a large farm/garden should watch this. Get those snakes working for you. Honestly. I rarely see a slug anymore. It used to be a huge problem.
Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: NW MT zone 4/5
    
    1

I watched that video as well.I always include in my garden designs  to have plenty of places for the snakes and toads.Our gardens also trails off into the wild.I have found it is an one of those things with mother nature that when one pest arrives in a natural garden that the predators soon follow.The slugs and snakes were here before we built according to the neighbors.I think it is cool if the snakes are working for others and their slugs,,LOL if they are doing anything for mine it is very limited which is a bummer..
  The snakes have been great for small furry things, however,,,as one can see in my picture album...But they also get into our pond and kill fish or sometimes get killed themselves when the fish they try to eat is to large and it takes them down into the depths and they drown later going through the pump and coming back up as fish food.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/make_me_smile11/3731687688/in/set-72157624533411356

of the
Happy House
Rita Vail


Joined: Feb 28, 2010
Posts: 57
Location: NW Arkansas
HappyHouse - oo-la-la - lovely photos  I can't picture how you are using the copper. I tried it in a small way and the plants were too big and sprawly.

Good discussion, y'all.



Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: NW MT zone 4/5
    
    1
RitaSparrow,
Thank You
  We have tried copper in many ways , since it shocks the slugs if they pass over it I found one needs either a wide patch or two rows of it to be more affective.The stained glass copper is great on containers and planting bags, because it is self sticking which is nice and fast.I use it for my other work so it is around all the time.and cheap.
  Other ways we have tried was using scrap copper to make collars for some of the precious plants however as you  nailed it,.It is tough to be effective with sprawling plants.We have wrapped copper around the straw bales,,LOl that was a joke. But are now looking at taking some of the copper filings which would be nasty to step on barefoot I think I could safely sprinkle them around the perimeters where they would not be a problem.
  We thought adding the sawdust would create an unfriendly crawling area for them but no,,It is the recently hatched who are the hardest on our gardens.Here in Montana last year it was a wet summer that did not help with this.Last year we reseeded  several plantings because of slugs,some never made it through and we improvised by moving them into bag plantings in the garden.It was a drag, cut down our production dramatically which with this garden we usually fill not only our cupboards but all our children,family, friends and the rest goes to the local food banks..It is a teaching garden though so the lessons being taught and learned benefit many others as well.
 
Emily Jacques


Joined: Mar 13, 2011
Posts: 30
Excuse me if someone already said this; I don't have time to read the whole thread, but I have great success sprinkling crushed eggshells around my plants.


Blessings,
Emily
http://thecrunchycoach.com
Dave Miller


Joined: Jun 08, 2009
Posts: 363
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
    
    4
How is the slug density right now where you live?  Here in SW Washington State they are the worst I have ever seen (I have lived here 21 years).  Just wondering what others are seeing.
Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: NW MT zone 4/5
    
    1
So far we are cooler then usual here in the area and very damp.We have only seen a couple who were under a board.So for us that is good, Hopefully the attack plan all through last year and the fall especially has helped.We have picked up some of the organic pellets to put out as it warms hoping to catch any other reproducing sized ones.The cabbage, spinach and such is slug free,,
  Last year was dang hard on our gardens ,,
Eric The Red


Joined: Jan 01, 2011
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
We have had a damp year so far in the bay area, ca and slugs/snails were everywhere for a while.  We seem to be past the worst of it.

Hand picking and a flock of ducks is still the best strategy for a small plot, with the added bonus of better eggs/meat.  In our greenhouse we use sluggo as well  since a few slugs can do a lot of damage, It Does Work Well.  I gotta try wood ash, Thanks
mary beth rew


Joined: Apr 11, 2011
Posts: 12
adunca wrote:
How is the slug density right now where you live?  Here in SW Washington State they are the worst I have ever seen (I have lived here 21 years).  Just wondering what others are seeing.


we've got plenty here on the oregon coast, but not nearly as bad as last year. they are flocking to the milwaukees beast. i read about snakes eating slugs in gaias garden, so i have been attempting to create snake habitat as well (seeing a lot about snakes in this thread- cool) but so far i haven't seen any snakes. it is so cool and wet, it makes me wonder if the snakes are really ever going to find this place habitable. of course there is plenty of slug prey.
Dave Miller


Joined: Jun 08, 2009
Posts: 363
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
    
    4
I have been trying various things this spring which is my worst slug year ever.  I have finally settled on cutting them in half with scissors.  Kind of gross but after the first 200 or so, it doesn't bother me at all  .  It is really fast and you can get the really tiny ones too.  The numbers have dropped off dramatically in the last couple of weeks, not sure if that is because of my scissors or just drier weather.  But I have also seen way more garter snakes this year than ever before so maybe nature is reaching a balance.
Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: NW MT zone 4/5
    
    1
Slugs,, ugh are back but much more in control then last year.The wet long Montana spring seems to of helped their population.We are actually back to using the OMRI approved bait as well as the ammonia/water spray.The big ones we scoop for the chickens the little ones which are super tiny we spray.The other day must of been a hatch.They covered the perennial bunching onions flower tops to the point they looked like they were moving with 1/16 inch slug babies, yuk..,,

I have decided that one things slugs are doing for us is providing a nice midnight hour walk in the moon light or I should say flashlight,, heheheheh
Mary,
from the
Happy House
mary beth rew


Joined: Apr 11, 2011
Posts: 12
yes, they are still quite prolific. i've had two happy snake sightings, and between them, the beer traps, and the crepuscular slug stalking (@adunca, i've been chopping mine in half with my shovel, kudos to you for being able to do it with scissors! but i was starting to suspect the ones i dropped in the beer were simply climbing out... supposing i am selecting for beer-immune slugs...) i keep thinking, ok, it's july. they're not going to last much longer, are they?
Charles Wood


Joined: Jul 11, 2011
Posts: 3
New 'spin' on using copper for slug control:  Slug Shields.  They are working for me with great benefit of no chemicals and long-lasting.  Recommended!
Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 136
Location: NW MT zone 4/5
    
    1
I have made forms of these from copper wire before however for us covering about 14 thousand feet and thousands of plants it is not feasible.
On the flip side  we have had a hatch of baby toads showing up in the gardens and more snakes and we have buckled down to keeping the organic slug bait out in the gardens every two weeks.We have also continued our late night spot lighting walks with a bottle of ammonia water.We had to change from using our drip systems to running a sprinkler during the morning and afternoon.The smaller slugs were congregating on and under the drip lines which was causing more problems with them.Now the gardens are all dried out before evening slug times occur.So far this seems to be cutting down immensely on the slimey critters.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14159
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Norris Thomlinson and Tulsey Latoski (Portland, Oregon) show a solution for keeping slugs away from plant starts while simultaneously increasing the amount of water on an urban lot. 

Water comes from the roof of their house.

Water from the moat is used to water the plants.  Excess water to the plants goes back to the moat. 

Mosquito larva seems to not be too much of  a problem.

Mud daubers, dragon flies, duckweed, cattail, wapato ... a possible duck habitat.




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mary beth rew


Joined: Apr 11, 2011
Posts: 12
awesome!!! tucking that idea away for future use... slug moat!
Michael Radelut


Joined: Jan 21, 2011
Posts: 193
Location: Germany, 7b-ish
paul wheaton wrote:
Norris Thomlinson and Tulsey Latoski (Portland, Oregon) show a solution for keeping slugs away from plant starts while simultaneously increasing the amount of water on an urban lot. 


Now featured on TreeHugger:

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2011/09/got-slug-problem-dig-a-moat.php?campaign=th_rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+treehuggersite+%28Treehugger%29

Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    2
Paul and Kelda review Sepp Holzer's Permaculture (the book) in this podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/445-podcast-081-sepp-holzer-permaculture-chapter-1-part-2/

Sepp mentions that slugs are attracted to plants in compacted soil because of the alcohol there. Paul and Kelda talk about possible slug control related to this.


www.thehappypermaculturalist.wordpress.com
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14159
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I have tried on about four previous occassions to get video of ducks or geese eating slugs, but the video always turned out iffy: you couldn't quite see it. Or the ducks/geese go squeemish - so they were so far away you couldn't see them eat the slugs in the video.

I kept trying and eventually ended up with this excellent video footage.

First we hear from Jen Davis, of Portland, Oregon. This is just a tiny bit that she had to say about controlling slugs. She expresses that she doesn't like to kill slugs without purpose. Having the ducks eat the slugs makes her much more comfortable. She talks about how her chickens weren't all that interested in eating slugs. With her current ducks, they eat so many slugs, that she now breeds slugs to feed to her ducks!

Samantha from Woodinville, Washington feeds HUGE slugs to her ducks. We get really good video of the ducks eating the slugs out of her hand.



Zenobia Quambush


Joined: Dec 30, 2011
Posts: 7
I started saving all my eggs shells. I would crush them up and put them in a jar to make slug barriers. When the slugs took a liking to one of my plants, I would simply sprinkle a circle around that plant with the crushed egg shells. The slugs wouldn't cross the eggs at all. Never understood why but it works.
Pam Hatfield


Joined: Jul 07, 2010
Posts: 508
Some people can do things that other people cannot do. To ask me to hold slugs in my hand to feed them to ducks (or to cut them in half with scissors) would be like asking a claustrophobic person to go spelunking. First line of defense here will be a combination of crushed eggshells and copper mesh this year since I can't have ducks where I do have slugs. The big garden area shows no sign of slugs so far; if they turn up there then ducks will be brought in to do battle.

It would have been interesting to learn what sort of ducks these all were and if all ducks relish slugs. Also, if they eat the duck eggs, if a slug diet affects the flavour of the eggs the way some plants will flavour milk. Interesting video although watching her cradle the slugs in her hand gave me the heebie jeebies. Good for you to persevere.
Andrea Casalinho


Joined: Dec 31, 2011
Posts: 2
Location: Portugal
paul wheaton wrote: With her current ducks, they eat so many slugs, that she now breeds slugs to feed to her ducks!





Would be very interested to know how she goes about breeding slugs.

We get very few slugs around here, but the ones we do are gigantic. The chickens are far more interested than the ducks are.



www.casalinho.com
Peter Mckinlay


Joined: Aug 30, 2011
Posts: 182
    
    1

Hello People,

The most organic slug/snail killer is good old beer, just a saucer full. Leave it the ground so it is accessable. Wont harm any other creature. But the yeast in the beer is deadly to slugs and snails and they both love beer.

Cheers Peter
Ivan Weiss


Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Posts: 152
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
I live in slug heaven. I just hand pick the slugs and feed them to the chickens. To a chicken, a slug is a sirloin steak. I topdress a lot with wood ashes in the spring, around the seedlings that react well to ashes. The wood ashes are said to repel nematodes, too.


Pastured poultry, pork, and beef on Vashon Island, WA.
Raven Sutherland


Joined: Nov 09, 2010
Posts: 128
Location: Massachusetts
my female mallard was trained to eat all bugs underneath "duck boards" i called them
that lay between my garden rows....these i'd flip over to reveal potato bugs (sow bugs)
and mostly slugs and a few worms...an ear wig or two.. plus that's where i'd throw
a sprinkle of mash or cracked corn if there were no bugs at all to condition the duck.

the boards provide a place for the bugs and slugs to hide in the shade. My duck got
so used to eating all the bugs using this method that it was easily 50% of its diet
and she would nip at my ankles if i wasn't flipping over the duck board fast enough.

the boards also provided me a place to spritz off with the garden hose as a smooth hard surface
to wash off any duck shit and so i could still walk barefoot while tending the garden.

One day i hiked and swam in a canyon that had many pools of fresh very clean water
and kept seeing tree frogs quite camouflaged laying on the rock surfaces and decided to
take a dozen back home with me.

As an experiment i held one by the legs for my duck to just
see wondering if they ate them. She grabbed that frog and ate it quicker than a dog eats
a piece of turkey...and i said: well that answers that question....so i re- released them
in a wet canyon nearby that had no tree frogs at all. the very next spring we had Peepers singing.

but my favorite thing to do was watch the duck slowly walk down the duck boards stretching
it's neck into the foliage with one eye looking up at the underside of the leaves of broccoli and one eye
looking down on the soil for bugs.... simultaneously realizing that this is the best pest control ever!


Digging around on a piece of ground in my home town
waiting for someone or something to show me the way.
Angela Fowler


Joined: Jan 05, 2012
Posts: 1
The lowest-maintenance my yard has ever been--and there was a full garden, too-- was when we had 1 duck and 2 geese. Geese are herbivores and won't eat the slugs, but the one duck took care of all of them. The geese kept my yard very well-groomed, thick and healthy, not to mention weed-free, since anything that remotely resembled a dandelion was a real delicacy and got eaten first. I ended up selling our lawnmower, because the geese did a better job without me. Completely effortless yard and garden, and the grass was always the right height and super thick. There was a little poo buildup in summer and dry season, but that was easy to remedy with a hose. It just fertilized the lawn.
The only problem I had was when we ran low on slugs--even with just one duck it does happen eventually--and the fowl started conspiring. I don't know how this started, or who's idea it was, but the goose would walk up to my "round on the ground" vermicompost bin with the duck, bump the bottom of it so that some of the red wigglers came out, and stand there waiting as the duck snatched them up!
Charles Wood


Joined: Jul 11, 2011
Posts: 3
If you haven't stumbled upon them yet Slug Shields are a neat and effective way to control slugs organically throughout the season.
Patrick Mann


Joined: Dec 06, 2011
Posts: 155
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
These things are the ultimate physical slug barrier I've come across - of course not available in the US

http://www.biogarten.ch/KundenUpload/CMS/ABG/docs/SchStopp%20THD%20e.pdf
Suzy Bean
steward

Joined: Apr 05, 2011
Posts: 940
Location: Stevensville, MT
    
    2
Paul and Kelda continue reviewing Sepp Holzer's Permaculture (the book), chapter 1 part 5 in this podcast: podcast

They talk about predator balance to slug control.
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14159
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Deborah Harr


Joined: Mar 10, 2012
Posts: 16
I use two organic methods for slug control.

1. Chickens, they love the things. However, I can't allow them into the garden beds as they will eat all of the goodness.

2. Little pixie cups, get the paper ones that you can toss into the compost bin. They love beer, up here in the north they love a good lager or Guinness (though the husband calls this a beer foul). Bury the pixie cup up to the rim in the ground. Pour in beer, they will come running, drink and die. All I do from there is either fish them out with tweezers, or leave them there if the plants are being turned under for green manure. Pixie cups come in plastic, paper, dyed or natural. I use the 2 ounce natural ones with no coating on the paper. They will hold the beer if you walk around them carefully for about 6 days before they fall apart.
 
 
subject: Organic Slug Control
 
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