For slimy creatures, snails and slugs are actually kind of cute! However, when these pests start to eat your spinach leaves or attack your pepper plants, they quickly become unwanted guests.
Land snails often leave behind slime trails. On the other hand, slugs drop traces of silvery slime on chewed leaves on the ground. You will also notice holes on huge foliage and leaves of seedlings completely consumed.
Although they look small, these snail slugs eat a lot of leaves. And it means danger to your beloved plants. So before they eat most of the leaves of your plants or wreak havoc on your entire vegetable garden, think fast and find a way to kill slugs and snails.
We all know driving them away with chemicals may seem harsh. Not only to these pests, but also to your plants and animals that could get near to the area. With this, you need to think on how you can naturally get rid of snails and slugs.
At first, you may think that organic slug control spells trouble and extreme difficulty. Worry not as we came up with easy slug and snail control. You don’t need to become an expert when it comes to pest control for the safety of your plants.
How To Keep Snails and Slugs Away Naturally
Below are some natural ways to keep snails and slugs away from your garden.
1. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (a.k.a DE) is a white powder naturally occurring from the fossils of diatoms (a type of algae found in the beds of rivers and lakes). If you sprinkle a circle of DE around your plants which are being attacked, this will deter snails and slugs.
Why does this work? Well, for these creatures to crawl over diatomaceous earth, it would be like us walking over broken glass on the beach… ouch!
However, one thing to keep in mind when using DE is that for it to be effective, you’ll need to reapply it often as it loses it’s effectiveness when it gets wet.
2. Get Yourself Some Chickens and Ducks
Free ranging chickens don’t only eat grass, but slugs and snails too. Chickens and ducks will roam around your garden and find the snails for you. Ducks do eat snails, but they prefer slugs over snails.
3. Pick Them Off By Hand
This method may seem quite time consuming and tedious, but it can be quite effective. Snails are most active in the early morning or at night, so this is the best time to go snail-picking. Put the snails in a bucket or container to move elsewhere. Just ensure you wash your hands with soapy water afterwards.
To make the process quicker, you can put an overturned pot or bowl in your garden or near the area where you’ve seen the snails. The snails will likely hide under the pot, which makes it easy for you to find them.
4. Don’t Water Your Garden in the Evening
Snails and slugs are more active at night because it’s cooler and the soil is often more moist then, which is important for them as they need a moist environment to survive.
If you water your garden in the evening, this will make your garden even more attractive to these creatures as it becomes a sort of haven for them. By the following morning you’ll see the devastation they’ve left behind on the leaves of your plants.
By watering your plants in the morning, the daytime sun will help dry them out before nightfall and make them less attractive to slugs and snails.
5. Crushed Egg Shell
Like diatomaceous earth, crushed egg shells will help deter snails and slugs due to its abrasiveness on their soft bodies.
Now, egg shells are not as effective as diatomaceous earth, but they do have the added benefit of providing calcium and other nutrients to your garden soil as they break down. Plus, water doesn’t effect them as much.
Used coffee grounds are another option you can use to keep snails and slugs away as the caffeine in coffee negatively affects snails. So they’ll tend to stay away.
6. Put Chopped Mint in Your Soil
Consider adding pieces of mint to the soil around the plants being attacked as snails and slugs are repelled by the smell.
7. Plant Rosemary or Thyme Bushes Nearby
Rosemary and thyme are also part of the mint family, so like other mint plants (including peppermint and spearmint), these plants deter slugs and snails with their natural aroma.
8. Put Seaweed in Your Soil
Next time you’re at the beach, collect some seaweed and chop it up to create mulch. Mix the seaweed into the top layer of soil around your plants.
The iodine smell can deter snails and slugs, with the added bonus of providing nutrients to the soil when it decays! This includes many trace nutrients that are challenging to get into your garden soil through other means.
9. Remove Moist, Decaying Debris from Around Your Garden
Snails are very attracted to moist, decaying organic matter, so they’ll likely stick around if you don’t clean up often. Some things you can do are remove dead leaves from around your garden, etc. It can be a good idea to check your yard and garden for debris at least once a week. Be sure to remove these items and place them into your compost.
Keep in mind that a compost pile is going to attract snails too (as it’s a moist environment with a never-ending supply of food for them). So make sure to place it far away from your yard and garden.
10. Recycled wool waste pellets
Shoddy, wool waste is a by-product of the wool manufacturing process. This is turned into pellets that you spread around the plants as a barrier.
They swell up and reveal nasty little fibres that are irritant to slugs. Over a period of time the pellets degrade and act as a plant food. I’ve used this one and it is effective when protecting newly planted seedlings and emerging perennials.