cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

For those who missed my detailed history of How I Became A Snail Hunter :wink:--

the first season I planted lettuce, chard, etc. in Berkeley, I harvested very little of it due to snail/slug damage. I thought the slugs were completely gross, and was of course still under the spell of snail shells being mathematically elegant in their whorls. (The shells *are* elegant...but :x)

The second season, I had now worked to make compost, dug it into the ground, carefully selected varieties of lettuce, chard, bush beans, and tomatoes to plant in our itty-bitty plot of earth (in retrospect, maybe 15' x 10'?).

So every single plant was important.

*This* was the time when I decided to be my own judge, jury, and executioner of these gross gastropods ("stomach on feet" is what it means, and boy! is it right). I couldn't bring myself to stomp on 'em, not that year; I used the trowel and then washed it off after every foray.

The third year was Nellie Bar The Door. Stomp, smash w/trowel, keep a running count.

After that, I didn't even count them anymore, not in Berkeley. Just returned 'em very quickly to Mother Nature. :twisted:

When we moved here, I had had a car accident not too long before, so when I tried gardening the first full summer we were here, it was just too difficult. However, I still smashed snails/slugs whenever the chance presented itself from then (1998) until last year (2008), when I was finally able to consider gardening--and Snail Hunting--again.

BTW, I'm not *frustrated* any more about snail/slug predation! :D If I see such damage nowadays, I know that there are gastropods about. I do a Search and Destroy, and I've found them in the weirdest places....but I do find them. (wicked laugh here...)

Oh, yes: 23 snails, 1 slug last night--I've kept a running count in the Snail Hunting thread.

Cynthia

sweet thunder
Senior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:43 pm
Location: Eureka, CA

I'm doing the soapy water bucket right now. I didn't get an accurate count, but maybe 30 or so slugs and snails over the last three days.

Is there any problem with putting soapy water into the compost? I've been dumping it out in the alley.

My garden is like the old one Cynthia describes, small, newly established, and much fussed-over, so I think I'm still taking the slug attacks personally.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Is there any problem with putting soapy water into the compost?
HG, can you help out? I can't find the thread where you talked about soap feeding microbes in the compost. SOAP not detergent, BTW... and you really don't need a whole lot. What I do is when I'm done and have dumped the slugs in the quart container, I put the sandwich container under the faucet and wash my hands at the outside faucet with leftover bits of soap I keep in a nylon net bag (lemons) tied to the faucet. That's it. Soapy water to drown the slugs in next time. :wink:
195 last evening (94) & night (101) PLUS this morning's 77 = 272
Rained all day today... got 45 more = 317
Started to rain while I was out this evening... 219 more = 536

I got 100+ and was calling it quits when I looked down at the clover patch just outside the garden fence. Squatted down to pick up the few slugs that caught my eye... my eyes adjusted to what I was seeing... :eek: :roll:

Cynthia_h, if I didn't have your example to give me courage, I might be tempted to falter. :-()

User avatar
LazyGirl
Cool Member
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:55 pm
Location: Livermore

Cynthia and Appelstar - I'm weak and I caved! I got desperate, folded, and guiltily used an "alternative" slug bait made with iron phosphate. :oops: :oops: :oops:
I tried so hard to be a good organic gardener! :oops: :(

I hate to say it, but it seems to have worked... :lol: ...So how bad is this iron phosphate??? I did some research beforehand, and here is one website, like many others, that leave the subject ambiguous:
https://www.pesticide.org/slugs.html

I tried beer, evening excursions, but in the end I really just got lazy (guess my forum name finally caught up to me!). :lol:

-Tania

User avatar
Rob
Cool Member
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:51 pm
Location: Cottonwood, AZ

Pebbles wrote:Oh, I forgot to ask, how do you all get rid of them?
I'm in arid Arizona, so we don't get a lot of slugs here.

Still, this year me and the kids incubated a chicken egg and got a chicken.

If I let the thing out at dusk it runs around eating crickets and slugs.
So far it hasn't attacked my garden, so it stays (they second it nibbles on one of my Heirloom Tom's it's gone).

Bugs and slugs seem to be it's primary dietary desire.

Just a thought.
What happens in the event horizon, stays in the event horizon.

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Right, Rob: my DH's ex-wife had a pet duck for several seasons. The duck was her slug & snail control! One very happy (and fat) duck!

Right up until a raccoon opened its enclosure one night... :cry:

And, if you read DavidTaylor's tale of Success vs. Snails (on the famous Snail-Hunting thread), you'll find that he has some very happy chickens! :D

However...I just spent a few minutes looking up the iron-phosphate snail/slug products and found a link to a label at

https://www.arbico-organics.com/1271105.html

This product (named on the website) specifically is 1% iron phosphate, 99% inert ingredients. NOT ONE of these "inert ingredients" is named.

There are some products on the market (not all of them for gardening) where the so-called inert ingredients are actually more hazardous than the named, active ingredient(s). (In fact, there was such marked concern in northern California last year about the "inert" ingredients in a pesticide scheduled for aerial dispersal over cities and residential areas that the whole project was called off and pheromone-laden trapping instituted instead.)

I read through several MSDS's for iron-phosphate formulations. I found what seems to be contradictory information on them:

--On one MSDS, the user is advised to utilize carbon-filter respiratory equipment, but the product is also listed as not presenting a respiratory hazard or requiring special equipment. :?: :?: :?: These were on two separate pages of a 4-page MSDS.

--On another MSDS, any potential runoff to bodies of water, including storm drains, was prohibited. How on earth is anyone going to prevent eventual runoff from his/her garden, yard, etc. to a storm drain? Storm drains are usually designed to carry water directly from residential areas to creeks, rivers, and other larger bodies of water. The ones in the S.F. Bay Area discharge to the San Francisco Bay.

So this is the chain of probable events if I were to use this "99% undisclosed inert ingredients" product in my garden:

1) I would put the stuff down on the ground.

2) There would be a heavy, late-season rain (as we've had the last two days). OR I would water my plants for their once-weekly deep watering after the weather turns hot.

3) There would be lots of water running off my garden to the street, thence to the storm drain.

4) And into the Bay.

Not what I want to do at all.

And I *really don't like* that 99% undisclosed inert ingredients thing in the least.

Cynthia

User avatar
Pebbles
Senior Member
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:44 am
Location: Lancashire UK

Cynthia_h - you crack me up. You have a good sense of humour with your (wicked laugh).

Rob, seems like your little chick is doing a good job for you. I would love to have chickens but I feel the cats I have might make their lives a misery.

I am trying to take in all the info you are so generously giving. Takes time though when you are learning..

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Rob wrote:Still, this year me and the kids incubated a chicken egg and got a chicken.
Oooh! I SOOO wanted to do that! 3 bantam araucaunas was my intention -- they're small, won't take up much space. I planned an area next to the compost bins and next to the shed where I'd build their permanent coop and had narrowed down to a couple of plans for chicken tractors.... Even located a breeder not too far away. :-()

But we live in a fussily regulated suburban neighborhood where the legality of backyard chicken keeping is questionable, and my DH put his size 14 foot down. :( :roll:

Well, "Drop Back Ten Yards and Punt" ... we'll see what happens next spring. :wink:

It's raining rather heavily at the moment and I haven't had my morning cuppa yet. Feeling rather lazy and sitting on my laurels from last night's big hunt... I'd even caught a "big'un" for the 100th... muttering to myself -- "99, OK, 100, 100, let's make it a good one... ah!" :P

BTW, in-laws were here yesterday. DH told them about my daily forays, and DMIL -- a seasoned slug hunter, told me she'd counted over 5000 one year. :shock:

...

OK, I'm back! :D This morning's catch was 187 AND it started to rain again!
So to summarize the total count for me so far:
Sat 5/2 PM >> (94+101)=195
Sun 5/3 AM >> + (77+45) = +122 = 317
Sun 5/3 PM >> +219 =536
Mon 5/4 AM >> +187 = 723

:twisted:

That 5000+ is starting to look completely reasonable. MIL also told me to look for egg clusters -- she said they look like pelleted fertilizer. I'll have to look up images on-line so I'll recognize them! :twisted: :twisted:

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Yeah, the egg clusters...to me, they look like little translucent pearls stuck together. Maybe 3 mm or so in diameter apiece. Not a large clump but rather small, approx. 1 cm overall. I don't find them too often (it's very difficult for me to examine the bottoms of pots at night--not enough hands!), but when I do... :twisted:

But I don't add them to my count, because there is absolutely no way I'm going to count exactly how many of them there are. They're just a bonus--I eliminated FUTURE slugs/snails! :D

Cynthia

Pypersmom
Full Member
Posts: 28
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2009 5:53 pm
Location: Brandon, Mississippi

I've only seen one so far.... it was godzilla sized :shock: ....... but luckily it was not in the garden :D

User avatar
LazyGirl
Cool Member
Posts: 65
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:55 pm
Location: Livermore

Cynthia - thanks so much for the info. I guess I am really gullible with the whole "inert ingredients" thing - it never dawned on me that the sneaky ingredients could be described that way! I don't think I'll be using that stuff again, at least not until I can get a confirmation of the rest of the ingredients. :? The sound of prohibiting the addition of iron phosphate in storm drains doesn't sound good either. If it is not allowed in the water system, it probably shouldn't be used in the yard.

Off to do some more research... :wink:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Yeah, EPA has a list of inerts... some very nasty stuff sneaks in under that banner. Good call Cynthia...

Iron phosphate isn't too terrible by itself... just stay away from the heavy metal cures, but plants will utilize iron and phosphate...but what are the inerts... :?:

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

138 this morning! Drizzling again, too. :?
Total = 861

Soap in the compost -- I do remember when I bought the new washing machine, the sales person insisted that we follow the CLEAN WASHER instructions because of the low suds enzyme "detergent" required for the machine. "Because THAT'S what they eat you know!?" "Do you ever get ring around the bath tub? SOAP SCUM? MOLD!" he yelled at me. :roll: Throwing his hands up in the air -- "PEOPLE DON'T FOLLOW DIRECTIONS, THEN COME BACK TO ME!" -- thump! on his chest -- "COMPLAINING ABOUT MOLD!" -- hands held out at me... :lol: What can I way, he was unique... and entertaining.... I only had to step back once, mostly for volume control. :lol:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Soap (NOT DETERGENT) should be fine and digestible, and yes, fungii will likely play a role... it's all good...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Yeah, sorry. I think the guy was talking about the ENZYMES. Anyway, let's just say it ONE MORE TIME in case there was any confusion:
SOAP, NOT DETERGENT
:wink: :lol:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Everybody has heard the beer advice, but few have heard that beer calls slugs from up to three hundred feet away...get the NEIGHBOR to put out beer, THEN flick the slugs over the wall...
:twisted:

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
!potatoes!
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1899
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

i don't know if our drought has broken here or what, but the frequent rains so far have already dubbed this the 'summer of slug' around here - on the third planting of some things. diatomaceous earth is on the shopping list.

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

applestar wrote:Tues: 138 this morning! Drizzling again, too. :?
Total = 861
OK where was I? Right, 101 Tues evening, 108 this morning, and 85 this evening = 1155 :eek: It would've been 86 but my back gave out while I was reaching over the fence and I lost it. The bugger did the now maddeningly familiar "slime down the grass stalk act" :x

By the way, I can make it rain. Honest, I can. I go out slug hunting and as soon as I catch more than 75, it starts to rain. Hasn't failed yet since I started counting slugs. :roll:

elevenplants
Senior Member
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:23 pm
Location: alabama

I've been having a little problem with slugs on my head lettuce, so I checked out this thread first thing this morning...I have found some good advice, but mostly had a supersized laugh to start off my day! You guys are hilarious, especially applestar and cynthia!

Thanks for the chuckles. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Rebecca

Curly
Full Member
Posts: 35
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 7:02 pm
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada

I can't believe I'm reading this, while munching my sandwich, hmph. Anyway, I hate squishing and squashing things, but fortunately I don't have to. I was envying all of you for living in warmer zones, but now I can see one great advantage of our climate - no slugs and snails!
We have an invasion of stupid woodticks though, they are the grossest thing. I drown them in the execution jar after picking them off the dogs (or myself, shudder)!

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Total as of this morning is 1456. I'm losing enthusiasm -- maybe it's just the headache talking. :?
Yesterday, I found the mother-of-all-slugs under a lettuce leaf in the New Kitchen Garden where until now, it was slug-free. Then when I was rinsing off the lettuce I'd harvested, I found a cluster of eggs! MOTHER indeed. I really should've taken a picture, but I disposed of them in a panic and didn't think of it until later. :roll:

This morning, I'm seeing these everywhere. Are these slug eggs too? They're cream-colored rather than white with a dot like the other ones from yesterday, and somewhat smaller. In the closeup photo's they look like tiny mushrooms rather then spherical to me. But if these are slug eggs, I'm in major trouble because they're everywhere in the Veg Garden. (Sorry the focus is a little off)
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4123.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4124.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4126.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4127.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image4128.jpg[/img]

Also, I've discovered that the slugs are climbing my little Cherry trees and eating the leaves. They're newly planted last fall, to be fan or free-form espaliered, so they're only knee high. I knew something was eating the leaves because the budded leaves on one fan-limb were slowly disappearing but I didn't see the slugs until today -- found 10 all together on the Cherries. :evil: Immediately checked the Apple trees located by the fence on the other side of the garden and found tell-tale chewed up leaves. Took a bit of searching but I KNEW it was there -- finally found the slimer at the top of a dandelion fluff that toppled over and was touching the trunk. :x

Oh, they're all over the peppermint leaves too. :roll: :?

cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7501
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

Time for some diatomaceous earth, for sure. The little bumps in the photos don't look like slug eggs to me, but I'm not sure I can tell slug from snail eggs. The eggs I have seen that I *know* are snail eggs are translucent and jelly-like, in a small mass, and not individually placed.

Cynthia

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

I'm with Cynthia; those look more like [url=https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3086/2562460753_65ec2b18e2.jpg?v=0]fungal sporangia[/url] than [url=https://www.meades.org/photos_from_the_garden/slug_eggs.jpg]slug eggs[/url], or fruiting structures. I'm a little concerned about the ones on the lettuce; that would mean this isn't strictly sapprophitic (only breaking down dead tissue). I might let things dry a bit, and I would use my milk spray (1 to ten with water) to knock down the fungus, and I would really not feel bad about iron phosphate (AS, with the kind of issue you are having, you need some help). There are down sides to every answer. Cynthia's [url=https://www.ghorganics.com/DiatomaceousEarth.html]DE[/url] looks good, but only if you are using the right stuff; the pool grade stuff is highly silicate, so it will kill most insects, including earthworms. Hand picking has no chance of collateral damage, but the time investment in the kind of numbers AS is putting up must be pretty prodigious. You have to pick a line not to cross, and for me the iron phosphate is still on my side of the line. But that's me...

Organics doesn't have to be pesticide free, as long as you are using safe products in a safe manner with some forethought, I think that's fine. For instance, iron phosphate should NOT be used right near water as it can cause algal blooms (that's why they are testing iron fertilization for atmospheric carbon storage in oceans). But it is a generally safe product (while Cynthias's warning on inerts is still a valid point). This breaks down to two very common and usable elements, and the laws concerning listing so called inerts needs to change, but in the meantime, AS needs help...

HG
Scott Reil

a0c8c
Greener Thumb
Posts: 706
Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 7:00 pm
Location: Austin, TX

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Everybody has heard the beer advice, but few have heard that beer calls slugs from up to three hundred feet away...get the NEIGHBOR to put out beer, THEN flick the slugs over the wall...
:twisted:

HG
I was gonna use beer for my snail bait until I saw this. I don't want that many slugs, or snails. lol!


Oh, and I've seen OMRI Slug bait and it's active ingredient was iron phosphate, so I think it's perfectly fine. Just as long as it's not from a company like Miracle Gro, and your use it the correct way.
Home Gardener from Austin, TX; by way of Iowa.

garden5
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3062
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:40 pm
Location: ohio

I guess I'm kind of lucky in that I don't have too may slugs bothering my garden......at least early on in the season. Last year, I planted some crops in the summer for a fall harvest and had a really poor germination rate. I planted the same seeds this year and they all came up, so I'm guessing that it's the slugs that hit them last summer.
There's something new growing in the Helpful Gardener Forum! Become a part of it here!

slugkiller
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed May 19, 2010 11:44 am

I found 10 slugs the other night. Not too many though my garden is quite big. I have placed out some beer traps and copper wires, and these are very effective.

User avatar
kimbledawn
Senior Member
Posts: 225
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:18 pm
Location: Memphis

I read this thread and two night ago went out jokingly to find slugs :P I had my flash light and nothing else because I didn't think that I would find more than 5. I could get outside good before I was screaming like a madwoman and scooping slugs in a bucket. 45 :shock: Some of my peppers are 3in tall because of these buggers :twisted:

Apple.. I will never doubt you again..From now on sensei I am your humble slug hunting student. :D
"Organic gardeners always know the best DIRT!"

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27905
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

:lol: Welcome to the club :lol:

Return to “Vegetable Gardening Forum”