How to control slugs and snails in your vegetable garden

Jul 3, 2016 | Garden How-Tos, Insect Control, pest control, Vegetable Gardening

Pest control is important in vegetable gardens to keep slugs, snails and hungry insects from feasting on your vegetables and fruits that you have toiled so hard to grow. Spraying your plants with pesticides that contain harsh toxins often leave chemical residue on your produce. The good news is that is not the only resort, there are other ways by which you can keep the snails and slugs away and enjoy that perfect strawberry or tomato from your garden without having to worry about what you are ingesting . In this blog we will go through a few steps you can take to control snails and slugs in your garden.

Slug damage to plant leaves

1. Modify your watering schedule:

Water plants in the morning


Snails and slugs are most efficient in damp and moist conditions. Avoid watering your plants in the evening, instead water them early in the morning. That way the surface soil will dry by evening and will deter slugs which love moist environment and are mostly active at night.

2. Use a Beer trap:

Beer Trap For Slugs

Beer trap for slugs and snails

Yum.. Leave some left over beer in a small wide container and bury it at the surface level in the soil in an area infested with slugs/snails. Make sure there is enough space between the rim of the container and the beer so the slugs have to crawl to get in. Slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer, will gather around the container and eventually drown in them.  Beer does the trick, you will be surprised at the number of sloshed slugs you will find in the morning.

3. Hand Picking:

Hand picking slugs and snails

Hand picking slugs and snails

Have you ever gone snail/slug hunting? If not, it’s never too late to explore the nooks and crannies and roll out your troops. Kids love to participate in this fun activity so equip yourself with a flashlight and do a night patrol. Slugs and Snails love to go munching at night. After all who doesn’t love a late evening snack. 🙂  They love feasting on leafy greens, cabbage and radish leaves.Don’t try to pick them up with your hand, they are slimy and will usually slip out.  Either scoop them up with a plastic spoon or use tweezers. They both do the job very well.

4. Use slug baits that contain Iron Phosphate:

Slug bait iron phosphate

Slug bait iron phosphate

Simply scatter the iron phosphate pellets and granules over the soil surface where the snail and slugs feed.   Iron and phosphorus are minerals that are naturally found in the soil, if it’s not consumed by slugs/snails it breaks down and act as fertilizer for your plants. It is absolutely safe to use around pets.

Avoid any slug bait that contains metaldehyde. This is not safe around kids and pets and is not safe for you and the environment.

5. Copper Strips:

Snails and slugs usually avoid going over a copper strip placed on the ground. The fluids they secrete react with copper and give them a mild electric jolt. Make a copper barrier or fence and lay them or peg them in the ground. Ensure there are no leaves hanging over these strips that snails/slugs could use as bridge to climb over and cross. This works great as barriers around containers and raised beds.

So we hope you enjoyed today’s post and to see all this in action, don’t forget to check out our video below:


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