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How to protect your garden from pests naturally

Updated on March 3, 2013

garden slugs

Typical garden slug
Typical garden slug | Source

Slugs-natural control

Slugs are just one of many gardeners nightmares. Keeping chemicals out of your garden is not only a boon for wildlife,its also a boon for ones own health, and the healthy maintenance of your soil.

Using chemicals to kill slugs,ie- slug pellets etc is a nightmare for our important wildlife. No we don't want slugs eating our cabbages and lettuce etc. However slug pellets contain very toxic chemicals. So what happens if we use slug pellets ?-yes the slugs usually die,yes you vegetables and plants won't be eaten by them.- But everything on this earth has a purpose even slugs.

Many species of birds which hopefully visit your garden,enjoy slugs as an important part of their diet. Not only birds our lovely hedgehogs love slugs and really do need them as food.

So what happens when a bird swoops down and grabs a slug who has just been poisoned by a slug pellet.?-well the bird ingests not only the slug but also the poison. The bird -(if its lucky) gets back to its nest to feed its chicks--so now not only has mom or dad been poisoned their babies have as well.

Alternative methods to keep slugs away from your vegetables/ plants.--

Broken egg shells/grit/sand around the base of each plant or group of plants,disenable any energetic slug getting to its destination.

Margerine tubs or jamjars filled with beer ,inset into the soil,with the top level with soil level.The slugs get attracted to the smell go over to investigate and have a taste get tipsy and fall in and drown.

Encourage hedgehogs into your garden-leave a little wild area with broken twigs/leaves,they will eat your slugs.

Encourage more wild birds into your garden to feast on the slugs- Establish nest boxes,hedges ,trees,bird tables.

Establish/maintain a garden pond,to encourage frogs and toads,who love eating slugs.

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    • mactavers profile image

      mactavers 4 years ago

      Good ideas. In Northern Arizona, we also get those nasty horned worms on tomato plants. Disgusting and distructive.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thankyou for your comment mactavers. Those worms sound awful,I suppose some other creature may use them as a food source maybe.How do you deal with them?

    • mactavers profile image

      mactavers 4 years ago

      Horned worms are so large they are easy to spot, and they can strip a plant of its leaves in record time. A friend in the garden club here (Petal Pushers) told me that taking them off with a pair of tongs and leaving them in the Arizona sun in a metal bucket is a "green" way to get rid of them. I usually only have a few tomato and pepper plants, so this works well. On large gardens, it would be harder

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thats interesting,gosh sounds that it could be a daunting task.

    • MercuryNewsOnline profile image

      MercuryNewsOnline 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Interesting article. I use pepper, salt, vinegar, lauindry soap mixture to spray garden plants, apples and pears in our backyard.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thankyou,yes I use warm water with a little soap in ,sprayed on leaves

      to help get rid of green fly, and some other pests,but not heard of use of pepper and vinegar in this regard. So will try that one as well. Do you have a large backyard? Regards

    • MercuryNewsOnline profile image

      MercuryNewsOnline 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Just a small backyard in Toronto enough to grow vegetables, and two fruit bearing trees.

      in the Philippines, I use the same mixture to spray plants and vegetables, plus the use of horse manure from my compost to fertilize plants and root crops. I harvested football-sized sweet potatoes. I also produced tons of squash by manually pollinating the flowers instead of waiting for bees and butterflies early in the morning before going to work.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks ,interesting.

    • Silva Hayes profile image

      Silva Hayes 4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

      That beer-in-a-bowl method works well for getting rid of slugs. I bury a bowl so that its rim is level with the surrounding ground and keep it filled with the beer my husband sometimes leaves in the bottom of the can. Every morning I pick up the bowl, toss out the dead slugs and beer into the flower bed, and replace and refill. Good hub, voted Up and Interesting.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks Silva,for letting me know,and your follow... Thats another wonderful thing about Hubpages,we can all learn off each other,it becomes/is a virtual community..

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Chimney soot also works well if gathered into ridges around your plants. It sticks to the slugs and dries up their slime (so deterring them from attempting to get closer to your plants). Copper rings or tape are another method as they give the slugs/snails a kind of 'electric shock' when they make contact with them, resulting in the slugs and snails not trying to cross the copper barrier.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks,mistyhorizon.....trouble is we have now in UK whats called smokefree zones,so fire burning is disallowed unless one lives on top of a hill,miles from a neighbour, I vagually remember someone using copper when I did voluntary work on Organic farms......

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Wow, does no-one have house fires as in 'with a chimney' there then?

      Copper definitely does work very well and the tape can be bought by the roll online or from garden centres.

      Eggshells, sharp gravel etc do not work so well sadly (Gardener's World tried those in an experiment a year or two back). Beer traps can work, and of course collecting the slugs etc by torch at night. I suspect sawdust would work quite well as a substitute for soot.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Well yes,they ok if they burn smokeless fuel,but most people gone over to central heating now and gas fires,helping to add MORE carbonmonoxide and (so2)into our atmosphere unfortunately. There are afew small villages in Wales where people still use coal and have my favourite form of heating a good 'ol log fire. Oh wellI am getting unsettled again now as I talk about log fires .I got to get back into the country again...aghhh.. Yes I found eggshells work well and course sand. But I don't eat many eggs now.But the more folk encourage more

      wildlife into their gardens the more slugs etc ,will be naturally controlled, --cycle of life .. and all that. Many regards

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 4 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Gardeners World found egg shells did not deter slugs at all, they just crawled over them lol. They tried (and filmed) about 6 things in a big circle divided into segments with a bait crop in the middle (lettuce I think). On most of the segments, egg shell, gravel etc, the slugs just crawled over them. I would have no faith at all in sand as it holds a degree of moisture on a damp night and is not coarse enough to deter a slug or a snail. Chunks of gorse bush or bramble stems would probably work though.

      If you do use soot I should have added it is best to use wood soot as coal soot is not good for your plants, whereas wood soot is very good for your plants :)

      I am personally a fan of using organic methods wherever possible and try to rely on wildlife, although I do use slug pellets that are wildlife and organically approved when growing lettuces and young beans etc for exhibition and eating purposes.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Depends on how big and dry the pieces of eggshells were and of course one needs a reasonable depth of broken eggshells , like when mulching beds to restrict weed growth you need at least four inches of depth or its virtually ineffective,(although thats a different thing). Thats why I don't use eggs anymore I would have to eat several eggs a day to get enough shells. When I said sand I meant course builders sand which usually contains some course gravel,also sprinkling rings of salt around the plant I found also certainly works. But we also have to bear in mind there are several species of slugs in our country and many more world wide, some small and some quite big so another factor in the equation can be possibly be depending on where we live.

      It would also be interesting to hear also from other folk how they get on with this. Regards

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      I absolutely agree on the importance of controlling pests without using poisons! Pesticides are so harmful to our birds and other wildlife. We have a terrible problem with slugs here, and no hedgehogs to eat them. My husband declared war on slugs last spring and went out every morning to pick them up and kill them by dropping them into a jug of vinegar/soap/water solution. Some days he collected over 100 slugs, but at the end of a couple of weeks, our slug population was under control. I wouldn't be keen on touching them, so I'm glad he took on that job! :)

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Hi Stephanie,I am glad you have got em under control now. Have you got a pond to encourage frogs and toads? And maybe a little wild area

      with decaying branches and some bramble,to encourage hedhehogs. As

      you know they are slug eaters. Regards

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 4 years ago

      I have an allotment and have never used any chemicals on it. I leave a wild area at the boundary fence - brambles etc. and have a nettle patch both for the wild life to reside in. I am as near to growing my fruit and vegetables organically as I can be. I think when you use chemicals on the land or plants you upset the natural balance of nature and on a plot the size of mine it is not necessary. Places like farms have different problems because of the quantity of the same crop that they need to grow.

      I use to net my fruit and then found a young blackbird trapped under the netting. I got someone to free it and have not netted the strawberries since and we still have enough .

      Nice to read about someone who thinks about gardening in this way.

      Re/ slugs I heard that if you put down some whole grain cereals in the garden and the slugs eat it they cannot digest it and they die. I am not sure if that is a fact or fiction though.

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks 2uesday thats interesting,sounds like you enjoy your nice garden..

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      PLease note,any adverts apearing on this hub page,which advocate non-organic methods of gardening /farming such as using toxic chemicals /GM ,I totally disassociate myself from them and apologise

      as most of you may know ,Google often put adverts up which are conflicting to the whole ethos of the articled hub..

    • Frangipanni profile image

      Frangipanni 4 years ago

      I love this hub, thanks for the great ideas!

    • greencha profile image
      Author

      greencha 4 years ago from UK

      Thanks Frangipanni...good wishes....

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