Snails and slugs move slowly but they can devour a tender garden plant very quickly. These are two slimy crawlers that you don’t want in your vegetable garden, yet they find their way in and have a feast.
There are several ways to keep snails and slugs out of your garden naturally and economically.
Using the right type of mulch, using certain companion plants, and giving them a beer are just a few of the natural ways you can keep destructive snails and slugs out of your garden.
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Use Rough Mulch
Apply a 2-inch layer of any type of organic mulch that is rough to the touch on top of garden soil.
Snails, slugs, and any other creeping or slithering pest avoid going over rough surfaces, so the rougher the mulch, the better.
Organic rough mulch includes wood ashes from a fireplace, tree bark, nut hulls, and crushed eggshells. These will prevent slugs and snails from entering your garden and as the mulch decomposes it will improve the structure of the garden soil.
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Sprinkle a circle of diatomaceous earth around each plant that you want to keep free of snails and slugs. Diatoms are microscopic green algae with a glass-like shell and diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of these glassy creatures.
The diatomaceous earth looks much like talcum powder but it has tiny sharp shards of glassy shell in it that cut whatever crawls across it. The small cuts cause the pest to dehydrate and die.
Give Them a Beer
If it creeps, crawls, and leaves a trail of slime behind, it’s a garden pest that can be caught in a DIY beer trap.
Use a shallow container, like tuna fish or cat food can, that is open on one end. Sink the container into the garden soil up to the rim on the open end, then fill halfway with cheap beer. Slugs, snails, and destructive earwigs can’t resist the yeasty brew and will crawl in for a drink of beer and drown.
Shallow containers of beer can be placed on a patio or porch to get rid of slugs and snails that are infesting container plants. Put these out of reach of children and pets.
Invite The Birds Over
Birds eat snails, slugs, bugs, and insects and help keep your garden naturally pest-free. Invite the birds over to your garden by providing feeders, houses, a birdbath, and plants that provide them food and nesting material.
In return for you welcoming them with all these amenities, the birds will set up residence and feast on garden pests, including snails and slugs.
Get Some Chickens or Ducks
A couple of free-range chickens will make quick work of getting rid of snails and slugs in your garden naturally. The chickens will also provide you with organic eggs and fertilizer.
Ducks are voracious bug eaters that love snails and slugs. And they will provide large, organic eggs.
Plant Rosemary and Thyme
Rosemary and thyme make great companion plants for garden vegetables and they naturally repel snails and slugs.
These two herbs are in the mint family and creeping, crawling garden pests seem to dislike their aroma and will stay clear of the area.
Mint plants are also great garden pest deterrents, however, mint can be an invasive plant and overtake a lot of garden space in a couple of seasons. Plant a mint plant away from the garden, snip off some leaves and scatter them on top of garden soil every few weeks to act as a deterrent.
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Seaweed Soil Amendment
Seaweed is a great soil amendment and it has the bonus of being a natural snail and slug deterrent.
Apply seaweed as plant mulch and the iodine scent will deter snails, slugs, and other garden pests. As the seaweed decomposes it will add nutrients to the garden soil to improve fertility.
Keeping snails and slugs out of your garden naturally is easier done if the plants are grown in a container garden.
Containers are less prone to be invaded by creeping, crawling pests because going up the container sides can be difficult for them, containers are easier to monitor, and if garden pests are discovered they can be picked off by hand.
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