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#1 RachelF

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 08:03 AM

Sorry, for being so suburban again, but I was horribly slugged/snailed last night, it would seem. I have about a dozen or so pots, mainly vegetables, and there are slime trails in every one. The only thing that was obliterated were some basil seedlings... Annoying but it could be worse.

I have tried many things over the years, but has anyone got any recommendations for anti-gastropod products/methods? It has to be wildlife/pet friendly.

If I took a photo of the silver-strewn 'patio' I could probably sell it as art in Hoxton (or is Dalston the 'it' place now?)

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#2 Willy

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 10:58 AM

I have waging a war against the slug and snail army for the last month or so with varying degrees of success (some of my beans were decimated but I think I'm starting to win now).

So far I have tried:
1) Nematodes - no discernable effect
2) Copper tape round pots - seems to work a treat however one pot did have a snail in it
3) Slug/snail traps - the alcoholic blighters love beer but it doesn't seem to catch al of them
4) Slug pellets - last resort but seems to work however goes against my green gardener principles...
5) A nightly slug/snail hunt - very effective, caught 42 last night alone that ended up in a plastic bag with some salt for comapny.

Hopefully by the time my veg are ready there will be some left for me to eat....

#3 happymundays

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 03:46 PM

Unless you have young children what about a wildlife pond, frog's toad's and encourage hedgehogs that will feed on the slugs into the garden. Biological control keep the numbers down. Calcified seaweed added to the soil apparently keeps the numbers down. Care with slug pellets with wildlife!
I alway's use a big black bucket of Beer to capture them used to get 10-15 you want them to drown not have a pint and sober up down the road.

Good luck

#4 RachelF

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:46 AM

A pond is in the offing. In fact given the drainiage problems we have we will doubtless soon have a self-made one if the weather forecast for the rest of the week proves to be accurate. Of course there is considerable frog loss due to cats, alas.

I will try the beer thing again and I have ordered some pet/wildlife friendly crystals, plus a mulchy thing from Harrod Horticultural. Fingures crossed...
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#5 filmbuffy

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 04:31 PM

having same problems here. So nemotodes dont work? anyone else found that?? I was looking for solutions today and was about to purchase some.

copper tape sounded good also but what about when you plant in the ground.?

I spent the last couple of nights going out with salt. I hate killing things so hearing each one sizzle as they died did make me feel really bad and it didnt seem as fast acting as i thought it would be.
i also half killed one of my tom plants as a snail was in fact crawling up it when i assalted it ... LOL and now the plants wilted very quickly on one side.

first year of trying to grow things here.... its bloody hard work isnt it.

#6 Nanazola

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:28 PM

I know, the salt thing does seem cruel - and graphic! I've thought about it, but now you say you can hear them sizzle, filmbuffy, euurgh I think not!

I've tried putting them as mollusc sacrifices on the bird feeder, but the birds aren't interested.

We've used the beer trap with some success. I just press a few empty Gu ramekins into the soil, so the top is level with the ground, and top up with lager. The only yuk thing is collecting the bodies. I put them in the garden waste recycling bag - do you think that's ok?

#7 filmbuffy

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:59 PM

LOL ...u can put herbivores droppings/bedding in so i guess so( they would break down like other veggie matter) So do they like drown in the beer then?
Have you found that less or no plants have been eaten afterwards??
I have got a bunch of lettuces that are currently in pots but that i want to put out and i know the slimers can eat through a whole crop in a night... surely not every slug and snail will go for the beer option.

also any beer in particular that attracts them? Ale, guiness? i think i would much prefer this method. terrible i know as it is our crops versus snails... but in the old days people relied on those crops so had to be ruthless... i cant bear to think of anything dying slowly.. going soft i think.

#8 Willy

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:18 AM

You can get copper rings to go round your plants that should keep them at bay or you could get some copper piping and fashion a barrier for larger areas.

Nematodes may work eventually but I can't wait otherwise I will have no veggies left.

Slug pellets have sorted them right out, I put some on half the garden and none on the other half, not a single slug or snail on the treated side but loads on the other, apparently the ones I have are organic so are ok for food crops (or so it says on the packaging).

As for beer, apparently the more yeasty the better so some cheap bitter should be fine. I have been treating mine to Stella which seems to work but it pains me to give it to the slugs.

Edited by Willy, 09 June 2010 - 11:19 AM.


#9 filmbuffy

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:51 AM

hi willy, thanks for the info.
i would use slug pellets but arent they dangerous for pets? I have two cats and a dog so would worry if they ate some.( dont know what the likelihood of that is mind you)

I tried san miguel last night( was all that was in the fridge).... no snails found so obviously they are fussy. will have to find a more yeasty beer to try.


You can get copper rings to go round your plants that should keep them at bay or you could get some copper piping and fashion a barrier for larger areas.

Nematodes may work eventually but I can't wait otherwise I will have no veggies left.

Slug pellets have sorted them right out, I put some on half the garden and none on the other half, not a single slug or snail on the treated side but loads on the other, apparently the ones I have are organic so are ok for food crops (or so it says on the packaging).

As for beer, apparently the more yeasty the better so some cheap bitter should be fine. I have been treating mine to Stella which seems to work but it pains me to give it to the slugs.



#10 Nanazola

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 06:29 PM

Yes filmbuffy they drown, and I like to think they have a happy ending. I guess it does stop them eating plants - I haven't done it this year and my clematis is looking distinctly raggy.

Persevere with the beer. I used the very cheapest cans from Sainsburys and they seemed to like it.

#11 Ziwa

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 07:12 PM

LOL ...u can put herbivores droppings/bedding in so i guess so( they would break down like other veggie matter)


Snails aren't plants! They are meat, like you and me, like cows and sheep (which eat plants and poop out plants+gutgunk but are not therefore plants).

I expect the beer treatment is the nicest way for them to go. Crunching them underfoot is the fastest, and grossest way for them to go. I'd opt for popping them in the freezer, then putting them in the trash. Its also pretty humane.

Salt is plain mean.

#12 filmbuffy

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 07:39 PM

all right. all right ziwa, i just thought they were more squishy veggie substance than meaty. a length of sludge is not what i call meat. anyway there must be tons that make their way into the garden recycling bags so i think their carcasses would be fine.

Urghhh.. crunching them is not an option.. im the kinda person that tiptoes around in the rain for fear of doing so. thats horrible. I dont know if salt is meaner then beer though... i mean drowning takes a while im sure.. suffocation... i wouldnt want to go that way.

I wouldnt want them in my freezer either... oh there must be a nicer way...

#13 Axean

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:25 PM

Eat them, they were commonly eaten in the UK not too many generations ago.

You have to feed them for a week to make sure they haven't eaten any poison, but I suppose its a way to recycle you left over veg.

Here's one regional recipe found on the interweb

Mendip Wallfish Recipe

Collect snails, Helix Aspersa, the common brown garden snail.
Put into a container in which they can be kept moist and can breathe.
Feed them on bran or lettuce or cabbage leaves for 7 to 10 days. This cleanses them.
Put in a sieve and dunk them in boiling water for a few seconds to kill them.
Take the snails from the shells with a small fork, wash them off and then cook.
To cook about a 100 you need a pint of water, ¾ pint of cider, a large carrot and an onion cut into pieces.
Make sure the snails are covered in liquid.
Bring to the boil and simmer until tender for about an hour – it may take a little longer.
Rinse in hot water to clean off the bits of vegetables.

The snails need to be fed lettuce for 7-10 days
Meanwhile put the empty shells in a saucepan with salt and water and bring to the boil.
Boil for a few minutes then rinse in cold water.
Do this 3 times more to make sure the shells are clean.
Dry shells in the oven.

Now to the snails.
You will need a pound of butter for 100 snails.
If the butter is salty you will have no need to add any more salt to the recipe.
½ teaspoon of each of the following,
Chervil, Dill, Fennel Seed, Basil, Sage.
1 teaspoon Chives
3 teaspoons Parsley
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper.
You can use dried or fresh herbs for this.
Grind up all the herbs together and add them to the butter and mix in well.

Take a snail shell, put a little bit of the herb butter into it, then a snail and seal off the shell with more herb butter.
To serve, put the snails on a tray and put into a hot oven.
When the butter bubbles they are ready to eat.
Serve with cubes of bread to mop up the herb butter.


I really hope someone on here gives it a try and reports back

Edited by Axean, 09 June 2010 - 11:27 PM.


#14 RachelF

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 06:58 AM

Can you really eat garden snails? I am pretty sure that the ones you get in France aren't of that variety. Does the boiling get rid of the slime?! Some guy in Australia nearly died a while back from eating a raw slug as a dare.

I am trying out a gel-like slug barrier, But it doesn't seem very cost effective when you have tons of pots and a couple of raised borders, but so far has worked and was an emergency attempt at a solution.
I am also going to try this:
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If the worst comes to the worst, I get a nice, expensive, and not terribly useful hessian bag.

And I might order some copper tape too.

And try beer traps.

The gastropod war has been declared!
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#15 filmbuffy

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Posted 10 June 2010 - 10:28 AM

LOL rachel.. look on the bright side huh.
actually i got something similar from the 99p shop.... pet and child friendly etc...it did seem to work.wasnt from ceramics though. it was more gravelly stuff but whatever it was it did turn to sludge after raining... so thats the only prob. unless i create a cover for the plants and then put this around the pots etc.....
i think if itworks. copper tape ( good priced ones on ebay) for the pots and gravel for the little ground plants... and see how we get on. better then killing them all painfully i say.