springtogarden(6)July 4, 2013

I have a plot rented in a community garden and we are 100% organic. I am learning as I go. A fellow member told me that there were some slugs lingering near our compost bin which is about 70 feet away from my plot. She said to go ahead and set some beer traps. My question is, if I am not having an issue yet with the slugs do I still need the set the traps? Or will setting the traps bring them over to my plot possibly causing me problems? For a plot that is 4x20, how many containers should I set out? I have some medium sized yogurt containers that I was going to cut down for the trap. Thanks in advance for your advice and happy 4th!

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I recommend a walk through your plot to see if you can find any... in the mulch, whatever... and handpick the little devils. How do you feel about organic iron phosphate pellets? If you're okay with that then I think a good sprinkle of that all around your borders is a good idea. I've never found beer traps any good, unfortunately. Slugs multiply at an evil evil rate, so by the time you start seeing damage it can be bad already.

Personally I use the iron phosphate pellets and do lots of handpicking. Lots and lots.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 5:20PM
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Thanks, Newskye, I will look into that. The plot is on city property and they have a lot they won't allow because it is near city water so I will ask about the organic iron phosphate pellets. I like the idea of the pellets as beer traps seems like a lot of work and if they don't even work it's not even worth it. I haven't personally see them but I will pick them up with gloves :). Do you flush them down the toilet to dispose of them?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 1:05AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Cut them in half w/ your trowel, then push into the soil -- a mini-compost.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 1:49AM
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Stale beer in some kind of container will draw slugs because of the yeasty odor it produces. Properly installed the beer traps can be quite effective if slugs are a problem. An organic garden can provide a very suitable habitat for slugs to live and reproduce in, cool, moist, well protected from sun, but that can also provide a suitable habitat for many of the predators of slugs, although many people in an attempt to control the slugs eliminate the predators as well.
"Conventional" gardeners will often take a proactive approach to insect pest control and pour poisons around and kill off even the insects, and other critters, that can help control the pests. Organic growers should not do that.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 6:50AM
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Beer traps certainly lure and kill slugs and snails but my experience is that once there are a few dead slugs in them no more will enter. Hence they need emptying and refilling every day in my climate. I don't use them any more.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 12:36PM
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I've handpicked nearly 4000 slugs and snails in my little garden this season... beer traps are futile with this.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Slug "predators" are not nearly as numerous as one would think and in a public allotment/community garden, going to be much less of an acceptable alternative to baiting or trapping than most would prefer.

FWIW, the use of iron phosphate or beer traps or copper tape - all acceptable and effective natural slug controls - are targeted specifically towards these pests and are not attractive to any beneficial creatures.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2013 at 4:45PM
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Great advice everyone! I think the pellets sound best. I am worried that I will put out the beer, it will invite a bunch of slugs over, a few will die and other will bypass the traps right along to my garden. I can't visit the garden every single day so changing the traps might not work if they get too full. I am going try those pellets. I love that they are harmless to everything but slugs. I will get rid of any I see. Thanks for all the tips!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 7:44AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I have used beer or yeast traps, organic iron phosphate pellets, and an ammonia solution. All work reasonably well, but I use the organic pellets most of the time, such as Sluggo, Slug Magic, and Es-cargo, whichever is the best deal. I plant out a lot of seedlings which would become slug food very quickly without the pellets. Once the seedlings become 12" or so, they are less vulnerable to foliage damage by the slugs.

I've also used 10% ammonia/90% water in a sprayer which was recommended on the Hosta forum. One year the Hostas (Royal Standard mostly) were getting very holey from slug damage, and so I went out at night to spray and it dissolves the slugs instantly, and apparently doesn't bother the plants or any other critters at all!

My Hosta Royal Standard and Gold Standard are getting eaten a bit this spring too so I might have to mix up some ammonia solution. Supposedly a white vinegar solution works too, but I haven't tried that yet.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 4:39PM
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That's another great idea, terrene. I haven't heard of the solution with ammonia. If my community garden doesn't allow it, I'll try the pellets. Thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 8:17PM
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I have seen mixes of 50/50 Ammonia to water to 1 part Ammonia to 10 parts water, but everything I have seen indicates this is effective only of the spray hits a slug. Apparently once dry the Ammonia has no residual affect.
Cold caffeinated coffee has been a good deterrent for slugs in my garden beds.
The best method of slug control is to change the environment so it is not one of their liking.

This post was edited by kimmsr on Thu, Jul 11, 13 at 6:25

    Bookmark   July 11, 2013 at 6:24AM
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Thanks Kimmsr! I recently changed over from watering every other day to once a week deep soaking. Keeping my fingers crossed that drying out a few top layers will stop it from being inviting to the slugs. I did find a radish that was finally not eaten away for the first time ever this year (not sure if slugs were responsible or not for past radishes). I will try the coffee idea too. I need to go up there at night to check out if they are there in force. Since it is a community garden instead of a home garden I haven't yet been able to get their at night due to my schedule. I tried looking for them today in wet, hidden areas but didn't see any.

This post was edited by gardengal13 on Sat, Jul 13, 13 at 21:53

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 9:50PM
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