Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Garden Slugs

I have a very shady yard and lots of hostas.  They're wonderful low-maintenence plants that come in a ton of varieties and do well in dry shade which is one of the hardest places to get things to grow.  

The only problem I've had with them are slugs.  Slugs have been a problem for me in the past since it seems like they can't resist the tasty hosta leaves.  It was such a disappointment to come out and find giant holes in the large leaves of my Sum and Substance plants in particular.  The leaves do not grow back until the following year so once they're chewed up, you're stuck with the sorry state of the plant for the season.  

I have seen a few recommendations for slug solutions - beer and just today cornmeal.  The slugs are attracted to these things and either drown or die from ingesting them.  It sounds like they work as intended, but I would rather not have containers of beer in my garden and I'd prefer not to have to handle a container full of dead slugs.  Yuck!

So, what do I do?  Easy.  Eggshells.

This is actually the perfect time of year to collect them since many of us do the Easter egg dying thing and have lots of egg shells.  We were out of town Easter weekend so we missed out on egg dying, but we eat plenty of eggs.  Also, the hostas are just starting to spring forth with their spikes from the ground and haven't come in fully, so the timing is perfect.  

I just take the egg shells and grind them up as much as I can and sprinkle them around the base of the plants. 

Once the leaves grow in, the shells aren't even visible.  How does it work?  The slugs have soft bodies and don't want to crawl over the sharp eggshells.  I believe diatomacious earth also works the same way, but eggshells are free.  

The eggshells are also good for the soil.  They do disappear so it has to be repeated each year but it's pretty easy to remember with the Easter egg reminder.  This has become my post-Easter springtime routine and with the addition of eggshells, the hostas above should look like this again - no holes!

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