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Slugs & Snails

Two problems: 1st - should I allow slugs & snails to occupy my compost box, and let them do their own thing, like other insects - there are several stuck inside the lid today, & I have always wondered whether they can be a positive advantage to the gardener, in this way.

2nd: Can slugs to a 'Great Escape', by tunnelling their way thru soil? Last week I removed some from inside one of my raised beds, after attacking the leaves on a type of Beetroot I am growing. This is despite me having 'Enviromesh' netting surrounding it, with batons holding it to the sides, with elasticated luggage straps, holding in the corners. So nothing in the way of gaps, I am perplexed as to how they got in.  Thanks everyone.




    Hi Bob you might find this page useful.  They certainly do tunnel, and the only thing I can suggest is either growing something else close by they like to munch, or using a physical barrier or trap, which is what I do.

    I would certainly not allow them to do their own thing in my compost bin, the last thing you want to do is give them a home.  Pick them out, squash them and then leave them somewhere for the birds to eat.  Although some believe they are part of the ecosystem like any other creature, I don't see any use for them apart from as food for their predators.  If you let them they will eat all of your beetroot leaves.  This year I have lost 2 echinacea white swan that I bought bare root and planted in March as the slugs/snails just kept eating it as soon as leaves developed.  In fact I saved the second one from the slugs by putting a cut off plastic bottle with copper tape around the outside around the plant, but it was so small and pathetic that the recent spell of hot weather finished it off.  I could give you other examples but worry I'd go on for too long!!  In short, there is no positive advantage to the gardener, don't let them get a foot hold in your crops.

  • Bob177Bob177 Posts: 43

    Hi Daisy, thanks for the valuable info, and the link page - very interesting - didn't know the blighters could tunnel. Removed a few more from inside the bed yesterday afternoon, I have yet to go out & check today. When my Beetroot crop is harvested, I will dig thoroughly thru the soil, & see if there are any more (while keeping a regular check in the meantime). I will also remove any from my composting bin, that I come across.  Thanks again Daisy.

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Hang on a minute! Just think for a second about what slugs and snails are doing when they attack your prize plants. They are converting leaves into slug poo and slug poo is  fertiliser in the form of decomposed leaves. In other words, each slug is a mobile compost heap in itself. If you get rid of slugs from your compost heap there will be nothing ( well, fewer things) to break down all those leaves that you no longer want (except you want them to become compost). So you are doing yourself no favours by killing slugs on compost heaps. By all means, if you find slugs and snails in the garden move them off your lovelies but put them on the compost heap where they will work their little socks off to give you beautiful compost.

  • That's about the only place in my garden I haven't had to worry about them attacking. The little horrors. And that's putting it politely. They are single handedly (or the sluggy equivalent since they don't have any hands) eating through whatever they come across in my garden that has anything at all in the shape of a discernible leaf. Drives me mad. I'm with Daisyheadcase when it comes to slugs I'm afraid, don't have a good word to say about them, they're slimy, sneaky, far too hungry clearly and therefore deserve a very bad end! I know that's childish too but I just can't bring myselt to tolerate them and find a good valuable reason for them being in existance at all! And they are surprisingly mobile and high reaching for such flat little things. Can't bring myself to vaseline all of my pots, it gets a little disgusting when they've been rained on, leaved on and had mud splashed up them! Anyway, sluggy rant over, hope you're all enjoying the lovely weather today.

  • You could try copper strips rather than Vaseline, just watch for any bridges they can use!

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,214

    Heather, what lovely weather? It's been overcast or raining all day and is only mildly warm here.

  • Bob177Bob177 Posts: 43

    Hi Everyone, Thanks for all your comments - it seems we have conflicting views on the benefit of leaving slugs & snails to occupy the compost heap. My actions have been varied in the past (Got rid of some, left others), seems I may have give them the benefit of the doubt, when it comes to this part of my garden. I have to say Waterbutts, your comments do make sense. Thanks again everyone, and yes, the weather is lovely.

  • Sorry Waterbutts, couldn't respond earlier, computer died a horrible death image I sometimes forget that the weather isn't the same everywhere! At the time I posted this message, it was pushing 32 degrees, blue skied and sunny! 

  • I used to have slug hunts but one night when I got over 200 in half an hour I realised I was never going to win. I've tried many things which are supposed to stop them eating things but none of them really worked. I have had to learn to live with them, and grow lots of things that they don't like.

    In a way I am fortunate to live somewhere where growing veg is a grim business (quite often cold and wet) and when I added slugs into the equation I decided it wasn't worth the effort and heartbreak, so now my garden is filled with lovely tough perennials and shrubs which slugs don't like. I do have one or two plants which they will eat and I keep those in tubs, on a bit of tarmac at the side of the house. Slugs don't like this as it's rough; while a few hardy slugs may reach the plants they can't call in reinforcements so the plants stand a sporting chance of surviving.

    Sorry I've got no sensible advice, but my gardening mantra is 'don't fight nature', because nature will always win.


  • addictaddict Posts: 659

    None of you slug/snail haters tried this?

    Works a treat unlike previous organic slug pellets/barriers image

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