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How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails In The Garden

The other day, I was talking to my 29 year old daughter about her garden. She was telling me about her cabbage starting to yellow and seeing some holes in it. I immediately thought of slugs and snails. Sure enough, when she looked, there were lots of them! Today I’m going to share some of the suggestions I made to my daughter about how to get rid of slugs and snails in the garden.

snail sitting on cabbage in the garden.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails In The Garden

a brown caterpillar eating a green tomato.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

Ever asked yourself “what can I use to get rid of snails in my garden”?

Or, if you have pets, maybe you thought: “how to get rid of snails and slugs without harming dogs”? I hear you! And I’m here to help.

1. Pick them by hand

a gardener's hand picking a snail off strawberry leaves.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

If you only have a few, go ahead and pick them out by hand at night. It’ll take you a few minutes each evening and you won’t have to try anything else. You might want to involve your kids in this, as disgusting as we adults think they are, kids LOVE playing with snails.

When I was young, we used to sing to them. It’s hard to translate (I’m Romanian): snail, snail, push out your tentacles, go down on the trail to drink warm water. LOL, it sounds weird, but it rhymes in Romanian and we had a blast playing with them. 

Got more than just snails in your garden? Here’s how to keep your garden free from nasty garden pests

2. Sprinkle egg shells (or eggshell powder) around your plants

powdered eggshell made at home.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Save egg shells and use them around your plants in the garden. This will not only keep slugs and snails away but will also help put calcium in the soil, helping your garden thrive.

I save egg shells year-round and make my own powder in the Vitamix. This way the calcium is more easily available to plants, and the eggshells don’t take too much space.

3. Use copper foil tape

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If the slugs and snails are in your raised beds or containers, you can stick copper foil tape around them, and the snails won’t bother your plants anymore.

4. Get chickens or ducks

brown chickens on a roost.
Image credit: Depositphotos.

Chicken and ducks (especially Muscovy ducks) love snails and slugs! Let them loose in your garden, and they’ll have a feast. Unfortunately, they might find something else they like in the garden, so keep an eye on them.

Learn all you need to know about raising chickens.

5. Have a snail beer party

beer trap for snail set in a cabbage row.
Image credit: Backyard Garden Lover.

Place a shallow tin in your garden with beer inside. Or create a beer trap from a milk container for slugs and snails. Works like a charm. They’re attracted to the beer smell, drink it up, get drunk, and drown.

Other methods of slug and snail control people tried

  • destroy their hiding places near your veggies beds
  • if it’s really bad and you ran out of ideas, use Sluggo. It is rated for organic use and is not toxic to birds or beds.
  • Diatomaceous earth  – they hate it, and it won’t harm pets or veggies
  • put down a layer of hazelnut shells
  • get some toads for your garden…..they love to eat slugs. Here’s how to attract beneficial wildlife to your garden.
  • throw a few rolls of pennies into your garden beds
  • add wood ash around your plants

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Weird ways to get rid of snails

Seems nasty to me, but in some cultures, snails are a delicatessen. Here’s a video if this is something that attracts you:

Also, did you hear about snail facials? Ewwww….. but it’s a new craze! Watch this if you’re curious!

Now that you’re all grossed out (or maybe amused), I hope you are equipped to get rid of slugs and snails in the garden. Wishing you success.

FAQ’s about snails

What keeps slugs away?

As mentioned before, sprinkling eggshells around your plants, or adding some copper tape to your raised beds will keep them away from your plants. You can also plant some plants they don’t like, such as rosemary, rue, fennel, or anise.

How do you get rid of slugs naturally?

Sprinkle gritty powders around d your planet: coffee grounds, eggshells, and sand, as they make it uncomfortable for the slugs to snail their way over them.

Are slugs good for anything?

Absolutely! They provide food for birds, earthworms, insects, some mammals and they are part of the natural balance.

What causes a slug infestation?

Slugs need moisture and shade, so weeds, fallen logs, old leaves, and other wet areas will encourage slugs and snails to congregate around. Make sure you clean up the garden to keep them away.

How To Get Rid Of Slugs And Snails In The Garden.
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Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check out her books below:

How to Grow Lavender for Fun and Profit: Lessons Learned from Planting Three Hundred Lavender Plants

How to Raise Chickens for Eggs: A Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens for Nutritious, Organic Eggs at Home

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