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Slimy Slugs

By Geri Anderson

I am not intimidated by most garden bugs, but the slug gets to me. You know the slimy critter that is basically the inside of a snail, minus the shell. Their looks bother me. And worse yet—last year slug appetites claimed about a third of our strawberries. Just about the time a strawberry became red, ripe, and juicy, a slug would climb onto the berry to have a feast! It might eat it all, or leave a gaping cavity where it had devoured part of my next fruit topping! Or even have the audacity to be chowing down and attached to the berry when I went exploring for berries under the large leaves. Aaghh!

I know that they appreciate my strawberry bed most of all the spots in my yard because it’s generally damp and there are large leaves and the straw mulch to hide under—since slugs can’t handle direct sunlight or lack of moisture for long.

Here’s my favorite way to rid the garden plot of slugs. Diatomacious Earth. It’s not a chemical. It’s ground up seashells. Ground so that the edges are still sharp against the soft slug or other crawling insect body. These sharp edges cause the bugs to lose their interior moisture and dehydrate.

Works great. Here’s our strawberry bed up close; it’s in a raised bed.


And here’s the product that we got at a local hardware store to remedy the slugs. Last picking of a pint of berries, the slugs had gotten to only two berries. And I haven’t seen a slug or encountered one under the leaves in weeks!

The downside—the powder/ dust does wash off. We normally soak the strawberry bed from a slow running hose laid in the bed. However, if it rains, or if we use a sprinkler to water, then we need to reapply the Diatomacious Earth. We sprinkle a medium coat on the leaves around the edge of the bed and then dust maybe a fifth of the remaining leaves.

There are no chemicals to worry about. But, two cautions. It’s not recommended you breathe the powder and it can irritate eyes, so I sprinkle gently at arms length. And I keep it out of reach of children and pets.

Has anyone else found they like this method?
 

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