Seeking to Live in Harmony with Slugs

Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Photo Credit: Wikimedia

I imagine slugs are a problem for most gardeners, they sure have been for me. It is so discouraging to go to the garden in the morning and see only the stalks left on bean plants and other vegetable seedlings. In the “old” days I used to use powdered slug bait to get rid of them. Later on, I used beer to bait them.

I have become increasingly uncomfortable with killing the slugs. Early this year it seemed I had more than ever; especially in my two worm bins. Believe me, good compost and free food can raise some BIG slugs. During the early part of the summer, I relocated them to other parts of the yard and hoped the slugs didn’t make their way back to my garden. Occasionally, when I found them in the worm bins, I just left them there.

Then one day I decided to check out the relationship between worms and slugs. I was very dismayed to discover that slugs EAT worms! I even found videos that showed that happening.

Eating my vegetable starts was one thing, but getting plump from eating my worms was completely unacceptable. From then on I took the slugs to the bottom of the lot behind my house, about 250 feet away from my garden and my worm bins. That area is full of blackberries vines but I pulled up a lot of morning glory plants and made the slugs a soft bed of edibles.

Next year I will make a home for them that is more hospitable, but still far away from things I hold dear.

I will also experiment with other ways to protect my seedlings. For example, I like the gutter planters that my friend Saroja created this year. She didn’t put her seedlings into the garden until the plants were big enough to be of no interest to the slugs.

saroja

I am happy that I have found ways to protect my garden and worm bins without killing the slugs. I hope to be even more successful in that venture next year.  If you have found peaceful ways to deal with the slugs in your garden, I would love to hear about them!

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I found the information in the following articles very interesting:
Fascinating Slug Facts
Slimy Summer Invasion
Earthworms protect against slugs

Article written for PNW GreenFriends Newsletter: August

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25 thoughts on “Seeking to Live in Harmony with Slugs

  1. Live and let live, nicely practised at micro level. Appreciate your concern for those little creatures, karuna. ‘Karuna saagara sayana…’, is a composition in South Indian classical (known specifically as Carnatic music) music. Please listen to it; you will be able to figure out the meaning with your progressive study of Sanskrit…best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I look forward to looking this up. I will definitely listen to it. I am intrigued and also appreciate something new to figure out in Sanskrit! I’m going to a Sanskrit camp next weekend and am really looking forward to it.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. To trap live slugs, then try scooping out half an orange, grapefruit or melon, and lay it cut side down as a trap for the live slug, which will work itself into the hollow. Otherwise, a jar part-filled with beer and sunk into the soil near vulnerable plants does the same job, again without killing the slug.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. They may well drown if the jar is half-filled of course, but all that is required is a few millimeters of liquid Karuna – they’ll get tipsy, but will be fine. Beware the effects of heavy rainfall though.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. hello karuna its dennis the vizsla dog hay troo storry!!! wun time bak in the mithikal land of noo york my brother tucker wuz wawking on a short plank wot formd a bridj from the yard to the woods and he stoppd on the plank to pee and he peed rite on a slug!!! dada saw the hole thing and sez yoo cud almost heer the slug shrieking as it shriveld up!!! so i gess the moral of the story is if yoo ar a slug do not git peed on by a dog wurd to the wise!!! ok bye

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh gee, Karuna!! you are such a compassionate person in every sense of the word…and that is why you are Karuna:) I heard of the beer too but my friend used egg shells. Every spring I would give her my crunched up egg shells she would add hers to her flower garden. It is repels slugs and snails and I just heard that seaweed at the base of your plants which is good for your soil is also a repellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Slugs do not like to walk over egg shells! If you rent them after you use them and place them in a bowl to dry in the Sun they are easy to break up and they will not stink. Put them around any plants that you do not want them to crawl up. Isn’t that eggciting!

    Liked by 1 person

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