Oh slugs, how I hate you. Really.
Yes, we used to get along. Me, just picking you off and tossing you elsewhere. You, getting some good bites of my veggies. Peaceful co-existence. I didn’t mind a bit of your nibbling on my greens here and there because you knew when to stop.
But no more. You’ve gone too far this time. We are through.
Your destruction tally?
- 9/10 pepper plants
- 4/4 eggplants
- 8/9 varieties of pole/bush beans (each variety had about 6 plants each, all but the 1 variety have been decimated. This was the second sowing/attempt.
- 9/9 varieties of pole/bush beans (again, multiple plants each). This was the first sowing.
- 4 cilantro
- 4 dill
- 2 parsley
- they are starting to get at my strawberries.
I am mad as hell.
I don’t know what the deal is but Seattle seems infested with slugs this year and every gardener I have talked to is having a mammoth problem. Maybe it has to do with the mild winter-wet spring we’ve had. Our large U-shaped raised beds are the hardest hit.
Slug stats (that just might keep you up at night):
- can eat their own body weight daily (this can translate into about 1.75 lbs of your good garden eating in a 20 week period!)
- Slugs have both male & female reproductive organs so every slug can lay eggs.
- A mature slug will lay 400 eggs per year.
- A cubic yard of your garden can contain up to 200 slugs. Umm, gross.
What to do?
Since I am in Seattle and there is no shortage of coffee shops with bags of spent coffee grounds free for the taking, I used up some of my stash and surrounded each seedling with coffee grounds. Supposedly, they don’t like this. Ours crawled over like it was a hand engraved invitation.
I have beer traps all over. They actually work. But not well enough.
I am handpicking them and tossing them to the chickens. The chickens love it. But there are. The tiny 1/4-1/2″ little suckers that are out during day or dusk are hard to pick.
Tonight I went out with the flashlight and met a lot of these:
- Too late to do peppers again by seed so I’ll have to buy starts. Argh.
- There are a few weeks left to plant beans, cilantro, parsley and dill-so I am going to let it dry up a bit (please!?) and do a final sowing.
- I’m not convinced they haven’t decimated my summer squash either so I’ll do another sowing of them.
- I’m going to devise some kind of copper barrier around the seedlings.
- Keep on with the beer traps and picking.
PS – To be fair, not everyone hates slugs though. There is even a poster that makes them seem sort of cool. You won’t ever find this poster in my house.