So how do you stop these rather hungry pests from eating all of your lovely vegetables?
Quite often people go for the quick solution of using slug pellets but these have toxic chemicals in them and can kill the very predators, such as birds and hedgehogs, which are in your garden eating slugs or snails.
! Slug pellets are also not advisable for use in schools as they are poisonous !
It is far better to try and achieve a balance in your garden and try to attract those creatures which will eat your slugs and snails and use organic deterrents.
We have included a number of suggestions for either controlling the numbers of slugs/snails in your garden or deterring them from eating your vegetables:
1) Encourage predators - a lot of insects, mammals and birds eat slugs such as:
ground beetles - leave tussocks of grass in your lawn over winter so they can hibernate
song thrushes - try to have a largish stone or piece of brick left out as they will smash snails against it
hedgehogs - leave a dish of water at ground level and they will come and use it, you can also make or buy hedgehog homes to encourage them
2) Try and remove anything which slugs or snails will hide in e.g. bricks and stones, low growing vegetation or piles of pots.
3) Put something around your plants which snails don't like to crawl over e.g. ash from fires, gravel, crushed eggshell, pine needles, lawn sand.
4) Put something else around your plants that they may eat instead e.g. comfrey leaves or bran. In a trial carried out on Gardener's World they found that putting bran around the plants was one of the best methods for stopping slugs and snails because they eat the bran, get full and go home again - hopefully!
5) Plant out more seedlings than you need just in case some are eaten.
6) If you are planting in containers put petroleum jelly around the edge of your pots.
7) It is possible to buy ‘nematodes' which are a parasite which feeds on slugs. This can be purchased form the Organic Gardening Catalogue - www.organiccatalog.com