Control Slugs in the Garden: Plant Slug Resistant Vegetables

Slugs taking over your garden? Try these helpful tips to keep your garden slug-free all season.

| April 2018

  • slug-resistant plants,
    Plant slug-resistant plants if slugs persist after treatment.
    Photo by Pixabay/Weevinz
  • minimalist gardening, perennial vegetables
    “The Minimalist Gardner,” by Patrick Whitefield, is a great read for anyone looking to maximize production with limited time.
    Courtesy of Permanent Publications

  • slug-resistant plants,
  • minimalist gardening, perennial vegetables

The Minimalist Gardener: Low Impact, No Dig Growing, (Permanent Publications, 2017), by Patrick Whitefield, teaches new gardners how to create a lasting garden. Whitefield shares with readers the right plants and flowers needed for a perennial garden. Find the plants that work best for you and your garden area. This excerpt is located in Chapter 9, “Slugs.”

When we moved into this hamlet, one of our new neighbours said, "The only way to grow any vegetables here is to have a large tub of slug pellets and use them constantly." After our first year’s gardening I could see her point. Even for the wet west of Britain, the spot is unusually sluggy.

Our second season in the west was a notoriously bad slug year over most of the country, so you can imagine what it was like here. Our garden produced little food. Its main yield being knowledge about how to co-exist with slugs.

Of course, there are chemical, mechanical and biological methods of control, some of which we have tried in our garden. But we have also learned a good deal about how to avoid competing with slugs, by choosing the vegetables they least like to eat, and growing others in a way that avoids slug attack. So let’s look at the different forms of slug control available to the permaculturist.



Chemical Control

The use of aluminium sulphate was occasionally accepted by the Soil Association but they have now decided it isn’t sustainable in the full sense, because adding a poisonous heavy metal to the soil over hundreds of years, even in tiny quantities, will eventually lead to toxicity. Any truly sustainable practice must be safe to use indefinitely. Aluminium sulphate’s advantage is that it doesn’t kill anything other than slugs and snails. Its disadvantage is that it doesn’t actually kill them very effectively. It can have a marginal effect on a mild slug problem, but that’s about all.

The Soil Association has also allowed organic growers to use metaldehyde slug pellets in extreme cases, though only round the edges of fields, where slugs have the nearby cover of the hedgebottom. The problem with metaldehyde is that it’s poisonous to mammals and birds as well as molluscs, and they can die, either by eating the pellets or by eating slugs which have eaten them. They are poisonous to the carabid beetle as well which also preys on slugs.

JAMESV
7/8/2018 6:15:23 PM

Slugs will eat anything, including each other's dead bodies. I have brush piles next to the garden to harbor snakes, and I have some pretty fat snakes. I've also had good luck with the iron phosphate pellets, and beer traps. And going around morning and evening squishing the ones I find.


Maui
7/6/2018 12:00:08 PM

I agree with Blenderbender; this article was extremely misleading and a waste of time. I was looking for a list of slug resistant crops.


Maui
7/6/2018 11:54:52 AM

I agree with blenderbender. I’ve not known Mother Earth News to be so misleading, but this article was the worst. I was looking for a list of slug resistant crops, as indicated in the title. You may want to consider renaming this.







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