Slugs & Snails

Slugs are probably a problem for you if you live in a moist climate especially if your garden is in a moist and shady location. Spring is the time where they start moving as the moisture and new plant growth attracts them.

  • Description
    Adults are worm like, soft bodied animals; they have no shell whereas snails have a coiled shell. They can measure 1/8 inch up to 3 inches. They can be black, greenish yellow or gray in color. They leave a trail of mucus on the ground and on the plant.

  • Plants affected
    Almost any young transplant or new sprouted seeds can be affected. The most common vegetables affected in my vegetable garden are lettuces, spinach, beans, peas, and brassicas.

  • Problem
    They eat leaves, chewing large holes in the leaves and stems. There is shiny slime or mucus trail on the foliage. You can find tiny gray ones in the base of your mature lettuce plants so check them once harvested.

  • What to do
    For me the best way to control this pest is to take the time to walk through the garden at dawn or dusk and kill them. I use the edge of my shovel chopping them in half, or you can pick them up and place them in salt water so they drown. Moving them to another area will not work as they can travel a great distance in one day.

    Placing some beer in a dish will attract them and they drown themselves in it. You can also leave out pieces of wood during the day and they will hide under it for shade. Turn the piece of wood over and then destroy them.

If you have a problem with this pest it is important to take the time to destroy them as they can damage your whole garden bed in a matter of a few nights. A lot of people can be squeamish about touching these pests but it is important to keep them out of your vegetable patch in order to give the young plants a healthy start.

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