Slugs and snails

There are variousorganic methods of dealing with slugs and snails. I've had far fewer problems since I installed an eco swimming pool. The frogs that inhabit it love foraging all over the garden for snails!

Slugs and snails love eating fleshy, green plants – and especially young fleshy, green plants. This is why they make a beeline for our vegetable garden.

The first step for dealing with them is to hand pick them and feed them to your chickens if you have, or to squish them. If you go out early in the morning (especially after rain) you will find them.

But did you know there is something slugs and sails like even more than green plants? Beer! I discovered this early on in my vegetable gardening journey and since then have tried a number of different methods of using beer to trap them and here is the one that works best for me: The yoghurt container beer trap.

Making a Snail Beer Trap

  • Collect some one-litre yogurt containers with lids.
  • Using a sharp knife cut three “windows” in the sides of the containers, just below the top edge.
  • Bury the containers among your plants, especially where you know snails and slugs are active, making sure that the windows are just above the surface of the ground.

  • Fill the containers with beer to about 5 cm below the window.

  • Put the lids back on to prevent birds drinking the beer or rain diluting it.
    The slugs and snails will crawl through the windows and then drown a beery death.
  • Every couple of days, empty your trap. (I use a sieve and a bucket so I can re-use the beer a few times.
    If they aren’t dead yet drop them into soapy water for a day and discard them on your compost pile.

Snail Razor Wire

After going through the whole mission of preparing a seedbed, planting the seeds and watching every day as the little green sprouts grow bigger and stronger, the last thing you want is to come out one morning and find all your hard work mowed down by snails or slugs during the night. Even with beer traps this sometimes happens. It is worth giving seedlings some extra protection.

As much as slugs and snails love beer - they hate metal. For them, touching a strip of copper or brass is the equivalent of us touching aluminium foil to a filling!

My snail and slug warfare includes razor wire made from brass scouring wool (found in the cleaning section at the supermarket).

Pull, tease and roll it between your hands until it forms a long sausage. Lay this in a circle around the entire seedbed. Make sure there are no gaps or leaves hanging over which the blighters will use as a bridge. Pin it securely on the ground using twigs. Snails and slugs won’t cross it, as it will cut their stomachs to shreds. Protect newly transplanted seedlings with a small collar of brass wool around their stems. I keep a bag of ready rolled strips in my shed. It lasts for ages and is re-useable.

Organic snail bait

And if you still aren't winning your war, Biogrow's Ferramol is a natural snail bait which contains no poisons. Its active ingredient is iron phosphate which naturally occurs in the soil. After eating the pellets, snails and slugs lose their appetite and die.