One of the greatest issues of gardening today is how to deal with the numerous pests that invade our garden on a regular basis. These pests come in various forms and cause us a great deal of stress in our efforts to eliminate them. Our homestead is probably surrounded by fencing barrier of some description in the shape of walls, fences chicken wire and so on. These barriers will keep out most of the four-legged critters like rabbits, deer and other maurading creatures but that’s only part of the solution. The insects and butterflies are always going to invade our gardens and that’s another big problem, that vegetable growers especially have great difficulty in dealing with. We have covered how to organically deal with these in a previous post and today we are looking at slug barriers for raised beds.
If we have pots, containers and or raised beds for the purpose of growing our vegetables, chances are, we would have encountered slugs or snails at some time or other. They are a nightmare for most gardeners and over the years people have tried different ways of getting rid of these, either organically, naturally or any other method that they could use to eliminate these scavengers. Up to approx. ten years ago garden centres only solution for this issue was slug pellets, but this system did not sit well with a lot of gardeners, as this method was deemed rather toxic. It eliminated the slugs immediately, but when birds and other wildlife feasted on the dead slugs, that had a devastating knock on effect on them also. It was unfortunately unhealthy to those animals or birds that feasted on the dead slugs, so as a result people are looking at more garden friendly solutions for this issue.
Slug barrier tape;
One great idea to deter these pests that has been discovered by scientists and researchers is, copper tape, believe it or not. This has been found to apply a mild electric shock to these slugs and snails as soon as the touch it. Apparently the slimey secretions that the slugs leave, react with the copper tape. This shock deters the slugs from going any further and repels them from feasting on our hard grown vegetables. This tape is available at all good garden centres, hardware stores and is also available online.
The tape itself has one side which is adhesive, just peel back the protecting paper and attach to the raised bed frame. It can also be nailed onto the timber frame with little nail tacks if necessary. We can also attach the tape to flower pots and containers, just ensure the surface is clean, dry and free of grit and peel back the paper backing and apply. We can use this solution to any area in general which is prone to infestation from these critters. Areas say like, trees, shrubs, greenhouses, flower pots, raised beds and all of those areas that we need to protect.
Slug bait granules;
We are back to the topic of slug garden pellets, but this time there is a considerable difference. These slug pellets are a safe, natural, non-toxic solution to the ongoing issue of slugs and snails. All that is required is we apply some of this bait material around the soil of our garden bed frame, in between the plants and vegetables, flower pots, containers and all those utensils which the slugs attack. It is completely harmless to our household pets, like cats and dogs, hens, chickens and so on. After applying this bait to our gardens, just sprinkle some water, which activates the pellets and thats all there is. The scent of these granules attract the slugs, they then consume this and are immobilised by this solution.
Like we mentioned above the slug pellets that we used long ago were very harmful in the long term and caused a lot of harm in our envoirnment. Research showed that the pellets killed the slugs immediately, but moles, mice and birds then eat the slugs which in turn killed them, kestrels and other predatory birds then consumed these which also killed these. So this method had a negative domino effect and was harmful to the whole food chain that existed in our back yards and back gardens.
Other natural methods;
When I was small, I remember my grandmother and grandfather had a small little vegetable garden and they used to throw the ashes from the fire onto the garden. When I enquired as to why they did this, they replied that this was a system that deterred the slugs from eating their vegetables. There was a noticeably rough texture to these ashes, like coal cinders etc etc, thus the slugs found travelling over this surface rather difficult and that was a deterrent right there.
Bark mulch has a similar rough texture and this also deters and prevents slugs from our garden. The great benefit of this method is that the coal cinders, ashes and bark mulch will disintegrate into the soil over time and actually adds a little to the soil fertility.
I have listened to gardening programmes on radio for years and invariably, questions about this problem were asked quite a lot. Another method that was used from time to time was, what was known as ‘a beer trap‘. This system was also very successful and was very simple to implement. With a jam jar or coffee jar inserted halfways into the garden soil and half fill then with stale beer. The strong smell of the alcohol attracted the slugs, they climbed into the jar, drank the solution and then drowned. The problem with this method is that we need a lot of these systems in our gardens, if we have a big problem with slug infestation.
Straw is another great barrier and hindrance to these pests and is used on a regular basis for this and other purposes. Like the mulch, slugs find travelling over this cover very difficult and that is another option in our crusade to rid these from our gardens. The straw also acts as a moisture retention barrier when it covers the soil in total and after time the straw will disintegrate and compost down, so it will add a little nutrition to our gardens.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading this interesting post and if you have any comments or questions, do please contact us using the box section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Happy gardening to all.
Cheers Phil Browne.
“Won’t you come into my garden,
I would love my roses to see you”,