Snails and slugs are the biggest threat to your newly sprouted seedlings, but most of the snail baits on the market are poisonous to children and pets. This always makes me wonder about how safe they are when they’re sprinkled around our veggies and watered daily! Controlling their population is crucial for the successful gardener so here are some tips on how to do it in an environmentally and family friendly way.
You need to take a several pronged approach to these pests. Picking them off by hand daily is an excellent start, How you dispose of them is controversial so I leave that decision to you (I used to put them in my horrible neighbour’s yard).
Remove all the dark damp hidey holes from near your veggie garden, but leave a couple of empty plant pots. They love hiding in there, so you can trap them easily.
Home made beer traps are very effective. Simply cut two similar empty plastic bottles in half leaving a door in each half. Join the halves together and add some beer with a little extra yeast. Place them in and around all your seedlings and your snails will die a merry death! Is that controversial too?
Copper tape is an excellent way to prevent slimy pests from entering your potted garden as they sustain a small shock when they touch it. You can buy adhesive copper tape from your hardware shop. Simply tape it around the base of pots or the stalks of other plants. Doing this to a whole garden bed would be pricey, but if you put precious crop in pots it’s a very effective means of keeping pests out.
Snail and slugs hate crawling over sharp things so a good splattering of crushed egg shells will help keep them out of your precious harvest, and if you add some coffee grinds to the mix it’s even more unappealing to them, they hate coffee (strange creatures).
They also hate garlic, and chilli, and detergent. Peel a clove of garlic and slice it like a ridgeback potato, drop it in a spray bottle, add a bullet chilli (cut in half) and leave to sit over night. Spray daily. Alternatively you can use a dishwashing detergent because you know they're safe to eat off.
Good luck keeping them away from your harvest! Happy gardening.
A very helpful article mate. Been having some troubles with these slow fellows in my garden, they just love the silverbeet and basil it seems. I shall attempt the eggshell and detergent combination. Do you know if the soil pH level would turn too alkaline when using the detergent, though?