It's been a bad year for slugs. They've been eating my young hostas as fast as they sprout. They ate half of my lupin seedlings, and every single lettuce that dared to raise its tiny head above the soil. I don't mind a slug or two, but - three separate plantings of lettuce gone? And every morning a new casualty or three among my other plants? This means war!
I found an article on an Irish gardening site, "Slugs ~ 15 ways to deal with them organically". Dee, the blogger, mentions someone who uses my method. I go out armed with scissors, and cut them in half. Sounds terrible, but I think they suffer less than they do with other methods, like salt or boiling water. I've tried eggshells; they only seem to work when there are very few slugs about. I haven't tried drowning them in beer, but that works first by attracting them from farther away; so does commercial slug bait, which I have used.
Tonight, a big slug was taking advantage of the dark to feast on my new hellebores. Not good. I went for the scissors. And, while I was at it, the camera, set on Scenes: Night Portrait.
|Still not full grown; about 3 inches long, and slender.|
|A smaller slug and an earwig, snacking on leftover sunflower seed shells.|
They're beautiful, I know. And normally, I'd let them live. But not this year.
While I was out there, I sat and looked at the flowers. In the dark, they stand out against the black greenery; the background disappears, walling off the pool of dim light, creating a private, intimate retreat. Were it not so cold, I'd still be sitting on my stool, back to the window.
Before I came back inside, I took a few "Portraits" of the flowers.
|Bleeding heart, a white columbine propped up with a stick because a raccoon knocked it over, and astilbe just budding. The slugs haven't touched these, so far.|
|The shy lily-of-the-valley really shines at night. Slugs nibble on the young leaves, but don't usually destroy the entire plant.|
Dee lists coffee grounds among the possible slug controls. (Method 9) That, or spraying them with cold coffee. I think I'll try that next. Repelling them makes more sense to me than murdering them.