Friday, May 16, 2008

Slug Retraining Program

Slugs have found the fennel seedlings and quickly chewed two of them down to stubs. The others all had signs of damage like the photo below. Something had to be done. Now, I don't mind having slugs meet their end, but I don't like to put out the poison to do that. I decided to try the same training program I've use with the cats, Dear Husband, and myself, for that matter.

Simply change something enough to make the bad habit less convenient or satisfying, or offer a better option. If the cats start sleeping somewhere I don't want them to be, I put something in the spot for a few days that encourages them to find a new place. By the time the "something" is removed, they've found a new place. It's best not to give a DH example. (See, the training has worked on me too. And removing the cats or DH is not an option!) Ok, sometimes it works, at least.So what to do with slugs? I decided to try coffee. First, I used the coffee grounds from my french press. However, that didn't go too far. So, I coarsely ground up some old coffee beans I had. Now, I don't know that it is the coffee that has much effect on them, but I thought they might not like the texture. Again, the purpose is simply to make things different enough that they decide to go elsewhere. I once used some old sheep wool trimmings around broccoli seedlings with success too.
All but one of the seedlings have new growth now (photo above), even one of the stubs. The other stub might still pull through too. The new growth is not being eaten, either.

If nothing else, I'm hoping the training simply distracts them long enough for Petunia to show up and eat them.


Nancy said...

Good idea there! I think that the caffeine will kill them, while the grounds will feed the plant. All in all, a win win!

Now, I wonder if that would work on snails too? I'm going to have to try.

Matron said...

Or perhaps it will give your slugs a 'caffeine high' and they will go about their business 24/7 !!

ChrisJ said...

I didn't know you could train slugs! We used to put salt on them. You are so industrious. It must be a full time job keeping everything strong and healthy.

Libbys Blog said...

At Starbucks in the UK you can pick up bags of used coffee grounds for free! I get them all the time!!! Work a treat!

Diana said...

What a creative idea! I hope it works for you -- keep us posted.

Sylvana said...

I always used my coffee grounds around any plant that likes acidity, but I hadn't considered using them for pest control! Good idea.