Slugfest!

This morning while examining my sweet pepper plants I spotted a slug making it’s way toward my lettuce crop; I was shocked, in the nearly (2) months that my beds have been in place not a single slug had been spotted, not the tiniest bite had been taken.

Since this is an organic effort, to the extent possible, I am against using pesticides. I did a bit of research into organic solutions to pestilence such as slugs and discovered that Kitchen Gardeners all over the globe are attacking slugs where it hurts them the most…their weakness for the sweet smell of beer. I placed a quick telephone call to my husband, a beer aficionado, and asked him which beer he thought was sweeter: Carib or Banks? His vote was Banks. So armed with (4) empty soda bottles, a kitchen knife or scissors, some string and a warm, flat Banks I launched an all out attack on the slugs.

So here are the steps for making your own slug traps:

  1. Thoroughly rinse the soda bottle, carefully cut the neck of the bottle away from the bottom; invert it inside of the bottom to create a funnel. Fasten the funnel to the bottom of the bottle: I used a hole-puncher to create a hole in both pieces and then fastened the two halves together with a bit of twine.
  2. Decide where to place the slug traps. Since my lettuces are planted so densely, (4) large heads to each 12″ X 12″ SFG Grid, I would like to think that this has made things difficult for the slugs. The slug that I spotted this morning was moving over nice smooth soil heading in the direction of the lettuce so I decided to place (2) of the traps amongst the sweet peppers, (1) in a small clearing in the lettuce, and (1) near my Bok Choy, as I have heard that this is a slug favorite.
  3. In the spot where you want to locate the trap scoop out a small amount of dirt, the same as the shape of the trap, so that the base of the bottle can be partially submerged at an angle. This will make certain that the beer, and the captured slugs remain inside the trap.
  4. Fill each trap with 1/4 cup of beer or less.
  5. Wait.

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A second more affordable and widely-used, anti-slug, remedy utilizes corn meal. Using a large empty glass jar, such as a mayonnaise jar, add a few tablespoons of cornmeal and place it on it’s side in your garden making certain that the rim of the jar is flush with the soil. The glass jar will keep the cornmeal dry during rainy weather; according to internet lore: once the cornmeal is consumed by the slugs it expands and explodes. Since one bag of cornmeal runs you about $1.50BB I gave it a try.

Finally, it seems that slugs do not like to traverse rough terrain, they prefer smooth soil. To that end it has been suggested to encircle the base of the plants that slugs like with either egg or peanut shells. I was certain that using egg shells was a good idea, after closer investigation into using peanut shells I discovered that they are heavily treated with pesticides, and therefore it probably isn’t a good idea.

I will keep you posted…

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