I think slugs are the worst. That may be a bit blunt, but they have caused me nothing but grief in the past. And now, they are eating every trace of Kale they can find at the Dal Urban Garden! How dare they ! (I’m over-reacting a tiny bit, I realize)
Naturally, I went looking for solutions. Preferably solutions that would keep me from having to buy anything or use any toxic pesticides. And I found some! Now I’m going to share them with you.
Change Your Watering Schedule
According to a few websites I looked at, changing your watering schedule can be very effective at keeping slugs at bay. Slugs do their dirty work at night, and if the soil is nice and wet they are able to do that work more quickly. If you water your garden in the morning, the surface water will dry up over the day and the slugs will have a much more difficult time eating your precious kale!
Diatomaceous earth is made up of the skeletal remains of microscopic creatures. This substance is sharp and can lacerate soft-bodied creatures, which will dehydrate them. Spreading diatomaceous earth over your garden will not harm your plants, but will keep the slugs away. It is recommended to use food-grade diatomaceous earth as it has sharper edges. Also, wear protective gear with this one, it can irritate the lungs and eyes!
Seaweed (something that is abundant here in NS) can be used as well. Seaweed is great for the soil of your garden, and is very salty! Slugs do not like salt. This will keep them away. It is recommended to pile 3-4 inches high close to the base of the plants and the perimeter of your garden bed, but not in direct contact with plants and leaves. The slugs will have to find something else to eat!
Crushed Eggshells layered over the top of the soil have a similar effect to the diatomaceous earth mentioned before and are probably easier to come by. The shell are sharp and will cut up slug invaders, so they will avoid your garden.
If all else fails:
There are lots of commercial sprays and additives that can be bought. Unfortunately, you have to be careful as some of them will also kill helpful insects and birds. A recent study showed that caffeine can be effective against slugs and snails when presented in a spray form at about a 1-2% concentration. This is much higher than what is in your morning cup, but it can be bought commercially. The effects at this concentration are supposedly harmless to plants. I have not tried this myself, but it could be effective.
Good luck and Happy Hunting!
~Landon Getz, External Coordinator