When spring arrives, it's always the same story.
You are walking through your garden enjoying the reborn nature, when you discover, horrified, that the slugs (and snails) are also out and ravaging the young shoots of your plants and vegetables. To avoid these inconveniences, follow our advice.
Know your enemy
The most common slugs are the garden slugs(Arion hortensis) and the large black or red slugs(Arion ater).
For snails, you will often come across the little grey(Helix aspersa) and, to a lesser extent, thegarden snail (Cepaea hortensis) or thehedge snail (Cepaea nemoralis).
Some characteristics of slugs and snails:
- They mainly have a night activity, even diurnal in wet weather.
- To find them, just follow the traces of mucus on the groundwhich often lead to damp and cool areas (under stones, pots, mulch bark, etc.).
- They usually feed on anything in contact with the ground. But they are still able to climb on your plants to find food.
Fight against slugs and snails
When you know your "enemy" better, it is easier to act. So, the first thing to do is toisolate the plant from the ground: do not leave leaves or fruit lying around when possible. The only access will then be the stem of the plant and it will be easier to protect it.
They will help you regulate the gastropod population. Among them are the hedgehogs, the toads, but also the nematodes, a kind of microscopic worm that prey on slugs.
You can find it on the market as a powder to dilute in the irrigation water.
Plants are also allies
Some plants can act as a natural slug repellant: thyme, the chive, the fennel, the comfrey, thegarlic, etc.
Others, like the chamomile, seem to attract slugs. You can then divert them from your crops.
To protect your plants, you can also use natural barriersto discourage slugs and snails from devouring young shoots. For example, you can use the ashesof your fireplace (if you have one), the coffee grounds, the coarse sand, even the eggshells. The main drawback is that the operation must be repeated at the slightest rain.
More unusual, gastropods hate crawling on the copper(Yes Yes !). So you can use a stripped electrical cable to create a simple and natural slug barrier.
Natural slug and snail traps
Another possibility of controlling slugs and snails is to trap. You then have two choices:
- The gentle method which consists of providing a shelter (a tile, an upturned pot, etc.) to allow the gastropods to take refuge there. During the day, all you have to do is keep unwanted people away in an area where they will be less of a problem.
- The strong (but very effective) glass of beer method. This is because the yeast smell attracts slugs, which fall into the glass and drown. However, be sure to use specific containers that only allow access to slugs.
Note : This article is not intended to teach you how to eradicate slugs and snails from your garden. Like any organism on Earth, they have a role to play and in particular that of transforming plant waste into assimilable elements for your plants.
Photo1 © SilviaJansen, Photo2 © AlexRaths, Photo3 © Simon Lehmann