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.
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!
Article written for PNW GreenFriends Newsletter: August