Tuesday, May 12, 2009

toasting slugs

With all the rain we've had lately, some of you Forge Farmers might have noticed little holes in your salad greens. That would be the mark of the garden slug. Slugs play a useful role in the garden -- they chew up dead plant material, making it available to smaller decomposers, which eventually turn the material into soil. Slugs become pests, however, when they start chewing on your lettuce.

There are ready-made pesticides for slugs, like iron phosphate. But you can easily and safely deal with slugs with a couple of tools that are otherwise used together only when you're looking for trouble: a flashlight and a bottle of beer.

Slugs dehydrate easily -- it's one of the disadvantages of not having a shell. (Their snail cousins seal themselves into their shell when weather gets too dry.) So slugs roam above ground at night, when they are less likely to get dried out by the sun. Go out at night with your flashlight and look for them on your greens. Pick them off and squash them. Kids can get into slug hunting, too.

Slugs are party animals. They like beer. Take a shallow dish and put some beer in it, then place the dish near your afflicted plants. In the morning, you'll find a number of dead slugs floating in the suds. Toss them out and repeat until your slug problem is gone.

3 comments:

Yummy and Company said...

thanks for this post! i was wondering who was eating my lettuce!

JL said...

Also: slugs hate salt. Sprinkle a bit on them, and voila.

Scott said...

True, slugs hate salt, but so do your plants, so be careful with that.