The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Slugs and Snails and all things nice......


Hi all! Went to WHSmith yesterday and bought Alan Titchmarsh’s bookazine, “The Gardener’s year” £7.99.

I wanted to share with you an article he wrote about “controlling slugs and snails organically”. This is a subject close to my heart, as I get sad whenever anyone resorts to using slug pellets.

For those who don’t know, birds and hedgehogs eat the slugs that have eaten the pellets. These poor wildlife animals then die a horrible slow painful death. To avoid this there are several other kinder methods to innocent wildlife instead. This is what Titchmarsh says:

Slugs and snails have a taste for tender edible crops, and besides reducing the plants to lace doilies, mollusc-ridden vegetables are not very appetising. Even if you’re prepared to turn a blind eye to slugs and snails in the rest of the garden, the veg patch or salad bed is the one place you need to do something to keep them under control. These days there is a wide range of organic barriers, traps and deterrents available at garden centres and from specialist organic supply catalogues. Nothing is 100 per cent effective, but none will harm other forms of wildlife.

Yucca extract: sold as a spray, which you apply to the ground as a barrier that molluscs won’t cross. Use it around individual plants, the base of containers and growing bags, or around the edge of entire beds of vegs.

Mineral barriers: Various makes are available, using granules that slugs and snails hate to cross. They work by asborbing the slime exuded by molluscs, which literally sticks them to the spot and the sun dries them out.

Physical barriers: Spread a 2.5cm (1 in) wide barrier of really sharp grit around at risk plants or the edge of vegetables beds to deter slugs and snails.

Traps: There are various manufactured traps that you fill with milk or beer (in taste tests, it’s been found that slugs actually prefer lager that’s been left to go flat). Alternatively, make your own traps from old saucers filled with the slugs favourite tipple. Don’t sink jam jars of lager into the ground, as they also trap and drown beneficial creatures such as black ground beetles.

Copper tape: Acts like a tiny electric fence fixed around the edge of vegetable beds. Copper rings have the same effect. Molluscs won’t cross because the copper houses a tiny electrical charge they evidently don’t care for. Available from specialist organic gardening catalogues.

Biological Slug control: Beneficial nematodes are one of the most effective ways of saving plants from slugs, including species that live in the soil such as the keeled slugs that bore into potatoes. Nematodes have little effect on snails.

Natural predators: Hedgehogs, blackbirds, frogs and toads all feed on slugs, and thrushes crack open snail shells on “anvil” stones in prominent points around their territories. Even foxes will take snails if they’re hungry enough – a big snail contains a fair bit of meat.

A final addition, is my own. This is to go into your garden at night with a torch and hand pick the critters off your plants etc and then dispose of them how your conscience dictates. My daughter used to love pouring salt over them!

More blog posts by craftnutter

Previous post: My nests for wildlife insects.....

Next post: Honey Fungus panic!



Thats exactly why i don't use pellets as the birds etc., eat the poisoned snails. Thanks for that good advice

18 Apr, 2009


Good advice, thats why i don't use pellets we get hedgehogs a lot round here (loads of snails thats why!!) I'd hate to think i'd killed one or a bird, good blog Craftnutter
sorry am cracking up put comment on twice and i can't get rid of one of them!!! LOL

18 Apr, 2009


Haha! Oh, you've put a smile on my face sewingkilla, just when I thought it'd never happen again! night night!

18 Apr, 2009

Add a comment

Recent posts by craftnutter

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    5 Apr, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 Mar, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    20 Jan, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 Dec, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    4 Jul, 2008