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Sunday, 26 September 2010

Slugs and snails

Slugs and snails are not very much lovable among gardeners but they are part of the nature too. It was not many of them this year but lately, they crawled out because it's been raining for days. They make pretty big damage to plant foliage, especially Hostas, lettuce and other soft plants.
I have more problems with slugs than snails especially red  Arion rufus. There are years when it appears in great number and literally eats everything in the garden. In the worst days of Arion invasion, some people used to collect one third of the average bucket of slugs!


Arion rufus

There is no other way but to collect them early in the morning and during the rainy days. It is a rather efficient method though requires persistence and patience. I use to collect them in the morning using an well pointed old knitting needle. Sorry guys, I know it is not very human, but... After you collect them, you can pour boiling water over them.
The dish filled with the beer dug into the ground is very efficient, they seem to like it very much!
I use sometimes pelleted limacide, but only the one from the firm "Unichem"; it is organic. I use lots of others of their products, all nature friendly.

Helix pomatia mating

Sometimes I leave the board overnight in the flower beds and the vegetable garden. Slugs seek the hiding place underneath and all I have to do is to collect them.
They are more active overnight, and love dump conditions. If there is many snails in the garden it is good to reschedule watering the plants and do it in the morning.
Some gardeners use salt or lime to prevent the invasion but I do not like the idea to have salt or too much lime going into the soil and change its condition.

Making the slug barriers is another method to prevent the damage. They seem no to like copper, so you can secure the flower pots by placing a copper tape around them. As they crawl on smooth surfaces try to make it difficult by using crushed egg shells around the plants or mulch the ground with rough hay.
And, if you see Carabid beetles or a hedgehog or in the garden, leave them alone. They and many birds as well are our friends as they feed on snails. Encourage them into garden by gardening organically - exclude herbicides and pesticides, make shelters for them, plant berry shrubs for birds, make some bird baths...

3 comments:

  1. Hi Kalipso, Love your photos. Do you realize that you have been invited to a game? Do check out http://onenezz.blogspot.com/2010/09/gardening-game.html
    Join us if you could find the time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. They are very interesting creatures, aren't they.

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  3. Yes, Arion has beautiful orange colour but, I really do have to kill slugs because they will eat almost everything in the garden. But, snails... I collect them and transfer to another place. (Not into my neighbour's garden!)

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