I went out to the garden early this morning and they were all over the kale and turnip, chomping slimily away at the foliage. Yuck! They emerged from their hiding places after yesterday’s rain, while we were sleeping, and began their destructive visit.
I got back at them, though. I filled a dish with some salt and, using a tiny stick, pushed each slug from the plant into the dish. Slugs hate salt, and it turns them into a gooey orange blob (as shown below at right) before they die. Double yuck!
But that’s only an after-the-fact solution. The time-honored way to deal with slugs is to put out little dishes of beer, which causes them to summon their inner college student and drown in it. The best way to use beer is to put it out right after it stops raining, and last night I missed that opportunity. Another way is to put beer cans with some liquid left inside on their sides; this attracts the slugs without letting rain in. I suppose beer is better than salt because it allows the slugs to die happy.
We have a lot of beer that we inherited when my father-in-law died 18 months ago. Before then, I would go to a liquor store and say, “I want some of the cheapest beer you’ve got!” Then, feeling sheepish, I’d say, “It’s not for me; it’s for my slugs!” “Sure, buddy.”
Last year we bought some Sluggo, a product that contains iron phosphate and attracts slugs from their hiding places and kills them. I’ve been sprinkling it around the garden beds that are most vulnerable to slugs, and it seems to work. I must have fallen behind in using it. Betsy worries that Sluggo may disrupt the ecological balance, but Organic Gardening magazine approves of it.
A great way to deal with slugs is to keep backyard fowl, who regard these tiny mollusks as rare delicacies. But alas, we don’t have chickens or ducks right now. Betsy wants to know if we could saute them in butter and garlic as the French do with their cousins, snails. Triple yuck!
In case you’re wondering, I feel even less remorse about killing slugs than I do about killing woodchucks!