Slaying in slug city: Struggles of an Alaskan gardener.

You have finally found the time to breakaway from everything else and step into your little oasis. Today you’ve allotted 1/2 hour to weed, trim and admire. You bend down to examine a young kale. To your astonishment, it’s covered in holes. Anger starts to boil inside you. You scan the ground around the plant and there’s the culprit, with slime trail in its wake. SLUGS. Gross, disgusting, aggravating to the nth degree, slugs.

I’ve spent countless hours walking around my garden with a cup full of bleach, plucking and plopping all slugs in sight. My husband and friends have even mentioned how my slug obsession has impacted our relationships. I tried to lure husband and friends by wine to help me with my battles. The struggle is real here in Girdwood. Some people may understand my agony while others are extremely lucky to not feel the sadness of a baby kale which was not given its fighting chance to produce, or a precious zucchini demolished over night.

Stalking its prey

Along with many hours of slug hunting came hours of research and talking with fellow gardeners in the area. Its been years since I did this research, so I’ve included a few links at the bottom of the blog for additional information. Here is a handy dandy list of methods. Some that I have tried and some that I haven’t. You will need to find the slug slaying method that works for you. Slug termination is not one size fits all.

Lupine Skeleton

The list:

  • Beer trap- Take a small container with a lid and cut a few nickle size holes on the side, close to the top. Bury so the bottom of the holes are at soil level. Pour some of that gross beer that was left in your fridge from your Uncle visiting. Put the lid on, so rain doesn’t dilute the liquid. Slugs are attracted to the beer and will crawl in and drown. This works if you have a minor slug problem.
  • Copper wire/tape- You can strip some wires, or buy the tape at a gardening store. Line your raised garden beds, or single plants with the wire. I’ve heard from a few local gardeners this worked for them. This was not feasible for my spread out garden.
  • Egg shells- I have lots of these, so why not? I dried the egg shells, crushed and sprinkled around the plant. I found that this did absolutely nothing to protect my plants.
  • Sluggo- You can buy it at any garden store. The main ingredient is Iron Phosphate. You sprinkle it on the outskirts of your garden and repeat application every few weeks or after a big rain. I call them my magic sprinkles. It works really well keeping the slug population down so plants can thrive. People have mixed feelings about this product. I’ve heard that dogs and kids are attracted to eat the sluggo, which may not be safe. So again what works for some might not work for others.

With that my friends I wish you the best of luck and may the slug slaying force be with you.

For more information:

Alaska Extension publication on slugs

Slugs are back. You know what to do. Author Jeff Lowenfels

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