• Tuesday, July 07th, 2009

With the return of the rain this week many of us will be faced with the problem of slug control, which can be difficult to handle on a large scale.

So it’s no surprise that someone would consider the option of eating them to make good use of this easy supply of salad-munching beast. And after all if snails can be considered tasty in the rest of Europe why not try slugs which are from the same gastropod family?

This is what keen gardener and professional chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recently decided to try in his British River Cottage TV programme.

The first option was to boil the slugs but as the pot was getting increasingly slimy it required a lot of time before they were able to taste them. And the raw cooked product tasted bitter, hard and unpromising.

The second attempt consisted in gutting the cooked slugs to remove the bitter elements of the slug. They were left with thin strips of slug which they were hoping to complement nicely with a strong spicy sauce. However Hugh’s final opinion was that the dish would be better as just the sauce without the slugs!

So if you cannot eat them, what can you do to keep slugs under control in your garden?

  • The hunting technique (my preferred option): I find that early mornings and evenings are the best times to chase the culprit from your garden. They also like to hide underneath stones or bags of compost where I guess they can find the moisture that they need. I simply squash them underneath my boot or use secators to dispose of them.
  • The binge drinking technique: alternatively you may want to try placing in the ground a few small containers containing cheap beer. You should find a few drunk and drowned slugs the following morning. I personally dislike this technique since it is a bit messy to dispose of the beer and drunken slugs.
  • The salty option: apparently dropping salt on slugs is an alternative lethal option which I also don’t find appealing.
  • The chemical option: slug pellets are readily available from any garden centre. However, slug pellets tend to disintegrate in the rain and I believe that they are not so good for birds who in turn eat the slugs. I have only put a few pellets in my greenhouse where slugs seemed to have been breeding extensively as they were protected from the cold in winter.
  • New ideas: copper slug rings are apparently an effective way of stopping slugs in their track and I guess it’s garden-friendly too.

  • If you are still looking for ways of making good use of this garden foe which does not include cooking then why not feed them to chickens or alternatively you may consider nematodes as an innovative biological slug control option.

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