Coffee Flavoured Peas

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They look innocent enough don’t they. But what will they taste like when we come to harvest them?

That’s what I’m wondering.


You see…


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They’re back.


Should we be surprised? No not really. It’s been a cool Spring with a fair bit of rain. Suddenly they are everywhere, slip sliding around even in broad daylight. Big ones too. I have once again taken to checking the inside of my wellies before pulling them on.


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Dahlia. Oh dear.


Last year I spent over £40 on slug busting nematodes with less success than I’d hoped for.

So I’d decided to take a different tack. Copper rings. Copper is supposed to give molluscs a mild electric shock. Enough to make them think twice about crossing it. Well that’s the theory. Our slugs must come with built in insulation.


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You’ll have to take my word for it. It was there. Honest.


It’s all very well while the plants are still in their pots. I can look after them with reasonable success then. The cold frames are scattered with slug pellets. Of everything I’ve tried so far, pellets work the best. But just how safe are they when it comes to other wildlife? Even the new ‘advanced’ type? I prefer to restrict their use to protected places, like the inside of the cold frames or underneath the brassica cage, where birds and mammals tend not to go.

After a spell hardening off in the cold frames the plants move out into the open air, waiting for their turn to go into the ground. Every evening I’ll go out and peek under each and every pot. There’s guaranteed to be at least a dozen slugs under there. A quick flick with a white plastic plant label and even a mollusc can fly. My record is about twelve feet, assuming that I manage to find the gap between the trees. Not all plant labels are equal in this respect. The cheap ones are way too floppy and fail to provide the necessary thrust. Even the best ones alter with age.. then they become brittle and more liable to snap. On finding the elusive but perfect flexural strength whatever you do, just don’t let that label go! It’s a bit like you’d keep your best conker, right?


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Iris ‘Jane Phillips’


I digress.

So what if I were to fill the copper rings with those wool pellets? The sort that expand in the rain to form a scratchy surface that the slugs can’t stand? Surely they won’t put up with an electric shock AND an itch?

With the Iris it has seemed to work.. so far. Am I on a roll?


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Echinacea proved a tasty treat too far.


But I’m not done yet. What’s that scattered through the wool pellets, on the outside of the copper ring?

Coffee. Having one of those machines that grinds whole beans, coffee grounds are effectively ‘free’ chez rusty duck on the basis that before I discovered the alternative use we were throwing them away. Slugs, it seems, hate coffee.

It’s early days. But..


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Surviving Cosmos

Not quite 100%, though no worse than nematodes and a lot more economical.


Do you have a favourite method of slug control? If you do, please share it.

With thanks to Matt at Railway Parade (here) and Gill from Off The Edge Gardening (here) for the coffee tip!


2017-10-24T19:32:47+00:00May 27th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. Backlane Notebook May 27, 2015 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    How funny I’ve just typed my next post on slug damage on the dahlias and on copper bands as protection-I’d better post it. In this walled garden it’s not possible to grow herbaceous plants without those blue slug pellets. I scatter them in a tall metal container and then I hunt out slugs and snails hiding under foliage and drop them in on top of the pellets. It makes for a disgusting time emptying the container but does mean plants are saved from total destruction. If I’m out there doing major gardening and if I’m wearing wellington boots I gently crush snails underfoot on the path for the birds to take for supper.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 8:08 pm - Reply

      There are so many snails here I’m forever treading on them without trying. You’re less squeamish than me!

  2. Sigrun May 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    I use slug pellets from the garden market – baught in Britain!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      They do a good job for me, where I use them. I very rarely find slugs in the cold frames these days.

  3. Mark and Gaz May 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Looking forward to seeing your update whether spent cofee ground have been effective or not, and to what degree. We used to get them for free at Starbucks but they seemed to have stopped giving them away.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      Getting enough of the grounds is going to be the problem here I think, we don’t drink enough coffee!

  4. Linda aka Crafty Gardener May 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    Hope the copper rings and coffee grounds deter those awful slugs. Eggs shells are supposed to work too, as they are rough for the slug body. I’ve also read about beer in a little container

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Yes, I’ve heard about eggshells too. I wish we ate more eggs!

  5. Julieanne May 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Viliganced, slug pellets and hope is my method. But doesn’t always work, partly because I cannot always be viligant. I’m blaming the Tory govt for the slugs.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 8:49 pm - Reply

      It’s tricky. What effect will global warming have on the slug population I wonder. Predictions were for a warmer and wetter UK.. oh dear.

  6. Chloris May 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    It does work, I use it too. I have no slug damage at all on my courgette plants or delphiniums this year. I wish I had used it on my French beans they are looking a bit chewed. We only drink coffee once a day so I never have enough coffees grounds for my needs. I wondered whether to buy some instant coffee and water the beans with it. To you think instant would work? Instant coffee is so vile that killing slugs seems to be the best use for it. I hate to use pellets not just because of wildlife but because it builds up in the soil.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      We have three cups a day on average and that’s probably quite enough, especially reading the dire warnings on the BBC website yesterday. And even then I don’t have enough grounds for my needs. Perhaps we should set up a scientific experiment with the instant coffee?

  7. Linda May 27, 2015 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Well… fellow friend and Canadian Linda, beat me to the punch!
    We used to scatter broken egg shells and put tiny containers of beer, just under the surface of the soil…it worked!
    Slugs hold their alcohol like…well….not well! Hahaha!
    They drink the beer…get drunk…and drown…keep the container just above the soil level, so the Beetles,which eat slugs….don’t fall in!
    Best of luck Jessica!

    ps….gonna fill in my info again!

  8. annincumbria May 27, 2015 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    hi Jessica i have used small plastic bottles with a hole cut just below the shoulder big enough for the slug to get through. fill with beer to the bottom of the hole put the lid on so that it dosnt fill with rain and sink into the soil so hole is level with the ground. I put four into my raised strawberry beds a few weeks ago and was amazed at how many were in there when i emptied it. i have now put two in each of the rest my raised beds hoping the veg will survive

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      That is very sneaky.. 🙂 🙂

  9. woolythymes May 27, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    I heard the ‘beer slug solution’, too…..a pan will attract them like crazy (or so I’ve been told). Not sure if they drowned or drink. Inquiring minds want to know should you try this.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:11 pm - Reply

      OK. Cheap beer on the shopping list..

  10. Rosie May 27, 2015 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I was watching an old River Cottage programme recently and the beer or lager solution seemed to be working there. I like the idea of coffee grounds we have plenty of those we can put to good use now it is ‘slug season’ again:).

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      It does seem to be slug season doesn’t it. And the rain forecast for the next few days doesn’t help.

  11. Alison May 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    We have some enormous slugs here too. I just use slug pellets, like Sluggo Plus. And occasional hand-picking when I see them. I don’t fling though, I usually either toss them into our yard waste bin, or kill them outright with a skewer.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Uuuurgh! You are definitely less squeamish than me!

  12. Christina May 27, 2015 at 4:26 pm - Reply

    The slugs here are the very large (Spanish) type. I don’t think they are Spanish but that is the way the British press was talking about them last year. There are toads in the garden and I think they eat slugs but not enough. My dahlias have damage but they will survive I think. Sorry, I don’t have any real advice except that on GQT they always say to put the pellets where the slugs hide during the day rather than near the plants you want to protect because they attract slugs and snails so it can be counter productive.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Yes, I remember the talk of the Spanish slugs. Interesting tip from GQT too, it makes sense. And maybe sorts out the slugs before they go out on the prowl the following night.

  13. Denise May 27, 2015 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Chickens! Not because they eat slugs – even hens seem to reject these as a food source (well, ours do but then perhaps they are particularly fussy) – but because you can re-use the crunched up egg shells as a shardy barrier. As an added measure I’d paint the shells grey, doesn’t matter what shade. Well, it’d keep me back if I was a slug!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      If I had a resident baker I’d no doubt have enough eggshells, but sadly not! Nevertheless I will consult my F&B colour chart and select one of the numerous shades of grey (50?), just for the sheer pleasure of it 🙂

  14. Amy at love made my home May 27, 2015 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    I hope that at least some of your measures work. Can you bring in a small army of hedgehogs! I wonder what Ptolomey would make of them!! Good luck!! xx

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      Hedgehogs or ducks. Either way Ptolemy would be beside himself!

  15. bumbleandme May 27, 2015 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Sounds like you need some ducks to me! They will go mad for the slugs and shouldn’t go near the plants too much. We’ve got some and they are fab.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      I would love some ducks. Maybe one day.. my fear, apart from the foxes, is that they would cast off on the river and never come back!

  16. Em May 27, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Hello from the Wye Valley WiFi. We use beer traps but I’ll definitely be trying the coffee. I wonder what it is they don’t like. The garden in this holiday cottage is absolutely lovely. Small but perfectly formed. Xx

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Hi! Hope you’re having a great time. Weather’s on your side. Maybe a rainy drive back.
      Coffee? I think it’s the caffeine.

  17. Jayne Hill May 27, 2015 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    I absolutely will not use slug pellets because of the potential for putting poison into the wildlife food chain. There’s also far too great a risk of putting poison into the Daisy food-chain as well 🙁

    I’m probably asking for it by saying this out loud but we are remarkably untroubled by slugs and snails. Don’t get me wrong, of course we have them, but the damage is bearable. I’ve currently got some wonderful hostas in the Coppice (note to self, must take pictures) which are mostly uneaten. I put this down to three ponds, the addition of an abundance of frogspawn over the years resulting in at least 20 or 30 frogs seen mating this year, and loads and loads of birds. Hence the refusal to use poison.

    Or you could have non-Rusty Ducks. Which will be fabulous, especially Indian Runners who (allegedly) don’t eat your plants. But they do poo . . . everywhere :-{

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Having lived with Indian runners for three years I can definitely vouch for the poo. Does anything on earth have smellier poo? I’d have them again though given half a chance 🙂

  18. Pauline May 27, 2015 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    I think I read somewhere that it isn’t the big slugs that do the damage, it is the little fawn ones that live in the soil that are the worst.I use copper tape on cut down lemonade bottles and this seems enough to protect my beans and sweetcorn. We did use coffee grounds for a while, but you need so much! I have found the best way to keep hostas free of holes is to encourage lots of blackbirds, thrushes and hedgehogs into your garden, they work their way through the leaf litter, eating slugs as they go.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:39 pm - Reply

      You would think that a wood would be the ideal environment for hedgehogs but I’ve never seen one. Such a shame.

  19. homeslip May 27, 2015 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    I used to get the coffee grounds from the cafe at the local garden centre, but that supply has dried up unfortunately (friend no longer works there, daughter who used to work there away at university) but it does work and I use my meagre supply of home produced coffee grounds around favourite plants. I don’t use slug pellets at home but I do stamp and squish without guilt and I’m vigilant about checking under pots. I have an ancient container of slug pellets at the allotment that I use very sparingly for newly transplanted plants only where the survival rate can be pretty bad. But frankly slugs and snails at the allotment are the least of my problems …

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      I wish slugs and snails were the least of my problems. Perhaps they are compared to the mice.. or the deer that I found in the garden this morning 🙁

  20. Vera May 27, 2015 at 6:21 pm - Reply

    Chickens! And letting the pigs on to the veg plot ahead of planting time. Well that’s the theory anyway. As for chickens…….the courtyard is saved from slug attack because the chickens live there when they are not having adventures out on the smallholding, but what happens when the chickens finally have their own housing, which will be outside of the courtyard….what then! Slug attacks will; most surely happen again!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      You could let the chickens back in on a time limited basis just to eat the slugs? But by then you’ll have time to sit and drink more coffee 🙂

  21. Jennifer May 27, 2015 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    I wish I had advice. Slugs are a problem here too and I haven’t found anything that works very well yet. I hope you do!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      They get everywhere. How scary is that. I’d have thought in your much drier climate that’s one problem you wouldn’t have!

  22. AnnetteM May 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Well, I usually have a snail cull a couple of times a year with the help of wellies and a torch. Can’t do it with slugs though. I loved the image of them being catapulted through the air using a plant label – I wonder if I could get them over the fence that way?

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      Easily Annette. Given the geography of the area in which I keep the pots I have to catapult uphill and achieve a considerable height. If it weren’t for that horizontal distance would be much greater..

  23. frayed at the edge May 27, 2015 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    When we lived in Cambridgeshire, I used to through slugs over the fence into the neighbour’s (completely neglected) garden, in the hope there would be so much for them to eat there, they would leave my cultivated plants alone! We have bark chips round the hostas, which works. I have read that sprinkling salt on them kills them, as does the beer trap, and I seem to recall someone telling me that a spot of bleach does the trick?
    Perhaps you should invest in some ducks and/or chickens!!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      Apparently to get rid of them completely you have to throw them quite far.. or they find their way back. I don’t think my twelve feet or so is enough. Although they would have to negotiate a five foot sheer drop on the return journey.

  24. Anne Wheaton May 27, 2015 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    I trod on three enormous slugs on the front doorstep last night as I came in and they’re all over the rhubarb bed. Hadn’t heard of using coffee grounds but it’s worth a try.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 9:57 pm - Reply

      It is still working.. (famous last words)

  25. countrysidetales May 27, 2015 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    I’m afraid we use blue pellets, having tried everything else under the sun including egg shells, oats, coffee, copper and beer etc etc etc etc…. I try and pick up any dead slugs before the wildlife has a chance to eat them. I don’t like using them as you can imagine but the plants were all being eaten :o( So far, we have few slugs here (yet). Hope it works for you :o)

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:02 pm - Reply

      I really don’t want to use the pellets either, but sometimes there’s no choice. I worry about the birds picking them up, not just the dead snails. But if I limit the plants to those that survive the slugs it will just be a shrub garden.

  26. Jacquline May 27, 2015 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Having a north facing garden, we have many hostas. We do use slug pellets but, they are Richard Jacksons slug pellets that are safe to use as far as wildlife are concerned. Also, the slugs take the pellets down underground and kill them all. AND …. any that are left break down and feed the plants …. WIN, WIN !! I also think that having a wildlife pond helps { have you got a pond Jessica ? } Our pond is full of frogs and tadpoles …. frogs leave the pond after they have spawned and just eat slugs all day !! I haven’t seen a slug in our garden this year and it is supposed to be one of the worst years for slugs. I do find loads of snail shells but our hostas are hardly touched { just a few nibbles !! } I haven’t tried coffee yet but, an assortment of all these things seems to work. XXXX

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:07 pm - Reply

      It does seem to be a combination of methods that works the best. We did have a pond, now filled in. It was located in the middle of the wood, under the trees, the worst possible location for a pond. I’d love to have another but there’s just not enough flat ground.

  27. Rosemary May 27, 2015 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the tip re: the coffee, always plenty of that around here. Sadly I cannot offer any advice in return Jessica.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:11 pm - Reply

      So far it’s looking good.. I’m finding we need an awful lot of it though. Even drinking three cups of coffee a day each is not giving me enough!

  28. Christina May 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    Dear Jessica, yikes, your slugs certainly wrecked havoc on the poor dahlia. Looks like they almost did it in. Gosh, I would be so upset… I have heard about using coffee grounds as a fertilizer, but not as a slug repellent. If that works that would be great.
    I am using a product called Sluggo, I don’t know if you have that in the UK, too. It contains Iron Phosphate as the main active ingredient and it says that it can be used around pets and wildlife. It seems to work reasonably well, but it is horrible expensive and I only use it around some of my very special plants.
    Warm regards,

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      Yes, slug pellets are very expensive here too. That’s another reason I’m hoping the coffee is going to work. And if it acts as a fertiliser as well then that’s even better!

  29. CJ May 27, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    I’m laughing about the flying slugs. I lob snails over the back fence. One day I’ll no doubt hit someone in the lane. I’m sure they come back anyway. I’m sure I heard that if you paint them with nail varnish and take them miles away they still turn up again. The hostas here are in ribbons. In fact one is just a stump. I’ve tried copper tape around the raised beds. Of course it does mean that any slugs hiding in the raised beds are then trapped there and unable to leave… I have a small pond now, and the frog population has certainly increased. I’ll let you know if I find the answer.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      Exactly the same is true of mice. They all have a homing instinct it seems. Can we put them all in a box, I wonder, and mail them to Siberia?

  30. Sarah May 27, 2015 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    I have tried coffee grounds and metal rings with some success. We have discovered so far that our plants are looking more healthy here. The resident population haven’t yet realised that a new gourmet restaurant has opened! We haven’t bought any slug pellets this year. We bought a bag of the wrong sort of cat litter( the mineral one rather than the wood pellets) and I overhead someone recommending that cat litter as a deterrent. I have been putting it around our new seedlings and had no damage yet but maybe they haven’t yet arrived in large numbers! It makes a change from gathering the slugs off the lawn- I always gave up counting a mornings collection when I reached 100! I have also heard cornmeal is good too as they eat it and it swells up inside them. Sarah x

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      Crikey Sarah.. 100! No wonder you moved!

  31. Brian Skeys May 27, 2015 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, I use organic slug pellets and also experimenting comparing grit with the sheep wool product. The problem with the barrier methods as soon as plants over lap each other they travel above ground! I am trying a garlic wash for a second year, (With mixed results) I was given it by a Hosta national collection holder. The mixed results may be due to having to remember to do it every 2 weeks.
    The recipe is: Crush 2 garlic bulbs, add to 2 pints of water and boil for 3 minutes.Cool and strain, make back up to 2 pints.Use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water in a watering can with a rose. pour over leaves in LATE AFTERNOON. Do this every 14 days.
    It certainly smells of garlic!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:26 pm - Reply

      I have a lot of garlic left over because last year I planted it to try and keep the mice out of the potatoes! I will try this. Garlic peas.. could be worse!

  32. ginaferrari May 27, 2015 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    I do wish you luck with your battle against the slugs Jessica… But your post did make me laugh!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      Somehow I think this is one battle you never really win. Thanks Gina 🙂

  33. mattb325 May 27, 2015 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    I’m glad the coffee seems to be working…it does for me as well (I have 2 cups each day so enough for favourite plants). I’ve never seen anyone trial the copper rings and they are pricey – so it’s interesting to see that they don’t really work. The only other tip I have is to put salt on a slug – it causes them to desiccate and die (almost immediately) but I prefer the deterrents rather than the killing….

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:30 pm - Reply

      I’d agree totally. I don’t want to kill anything, just persuade it that there might be a better restaurant up the road.

  34. Sam May 27, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

    Ha ha, love the catapulting. A multi-pronged approach is best, I think – a mixture of squishing (if you can stomach it, although it is hard to squish a slug…), lobbing (trebuchet style) and deterring by whatever means you have. Coffee grinds and beer have worked for us but not always. Good luck. Sam x

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      Perhaps it’s a case of having lots of different things in the armoury so when they get used to one you have something else waiting in the wings. It’s an awful lot of hassle we have to go to though isn’t it.

  35. Julie May 27, 2015 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    The worst of it is that they lay their eggs underground and in the past I have even found potatoes tunnelled through by slugs. We use coffee grounds and sometimes beer traps, but usually they are hurtled into the field behind us. Encouraging as many frogs and toads as possible too.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Yes, I’ve had the potato problem too. With the slugs and the mice I’ve pretty well given up on them now. Not too many frogs here, there’s no still water, only the river, not really suitable for egg laying.

  36. CherryPie May 27, 2015 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    For plants not destined for eating I put WD40 around the rim of the pots they are in. It seems to keep them at bay.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      That’s a good idea, I hadn’t heard of that one before. I’m sure Mike must have some in his shed 🙂

  37. Beth @ PlantPostings May 28, 2015 at 4:23 am - Reply

    Yes, this is an issue for me, too. Especially during a moist spring like we’re having now. I usually put out shallow tubs of beer–which attracts them and then they drown. I don’t want to use diatomaceous earth or other rough treatments for fear of harming caterpillars–especially Monarchs. I’ve recently added sand around some plants. But I didn’t know about coffee grounds. I will try that. Thanks!

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:04 pm - Reply

      The coffee grounds seem to be working, but we’ve got rain forecast for tonight. The slugs will be out in force.. a real test!

  38. Kris P May 28, 2015 at 4:53 am - Reply

    It’s too bad I can’t mail you a raccoon – eating slugs and snails is the one good thing they do for a garden.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:11 pm - Reply

      It wouldn’t like the weather. But it wouldn’t go hungry either.

  39. Island Threads May 28, 2015 at 8:58 am - Reply

    well as I have said many times over the years on my blog and else where I use sand a lot! it scratches their skin and they don’t like it, I imagine the coffee granules are doing the same, the plant that has been eaten despite being in copper and wool, could it be something else, since earwigs arrived in my garden curtsey of a Beth Chatto ligularia earwigs have become a big problem for me, good luck with whatever you try, Frances

    • Island Threads May 28, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

      oophs, as I clicked post I saw Kris P’s comment and it reminded me, hedgehogs, I thought hedgehogs were supposed to be good slug busters down south, though I have noticed you never mention hedgehogs among your wildlife, I’m thinking there aren’t many, could you encourage them in, and, as I said in my reply to you on my blog build beetle habitats they love to eat slugs, and, did you read Cathy’s comment regarding Hosta Halcyon, Frances

      • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:22 pm - Reply

        No, we don’t seem to have hedgehogs, a great pity. I wonder how they can be encouraged in? The tree surgeons built an insect habitat with some of the branches of the trees, chopped up and left in a pile. I’ll be back to check Cathy’s comment.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:16 pm - Reply

      I’m not convinced the wool works, it didn’t when I tried it on its own last year, I had hoped for better success combined with the copper rings. I’ve never seen an earwig here although the ‘something else’ might be any number of things including the mice.

  40. jannaschreier May 28, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

    I am amazed more people don’t use the iron-based pellets. When I bought my house the garden had more snails than I have seen in my life. I have been using the exact same small pot of pellets that I bought five years ago and I now have no snails and just the occasional slug. You can actually see the half eaten pellet attached to the slightly unwell slug so I have no doubt that they work. My take, for what it’s worth, is that using just a few (two for small, five for big plants?) pellets scattered around each slug-tasty plant, early in spring (as soon as you see the first slimy trail), will clear the vast majority of them and because you need so few pellets, I don’t believe they will do much harm to anything else.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:28 pm - Reply

      I think (without going out to the shed in the dark to check) that the pellets we use are iron based. But they’re tiny so we’d need quite a few more. Last night I did use them with some Californian poppy plugs I put out because I’d run out of coffee, probably about a dozen per plug. This morning every one of them was gone and the plants nibbled.

  41. suefrombrampton May 28, 2015 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Unfortunately Sluggo seems to be attractive to something other than slugs (I suspect mice) as they disappear without trace as fast as I replace them under the broken clay pots that I use to coceal them. An expensive way to cultivate a race of super strong mice from these iron based pellets!…..and the slugs are still munching my plants.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      You could be right about the mice. The pellets disappear pretty rapidly here too (see reply to Janna above). Super strong mice doesn’t bear thinking about.. I’d like to think at the very least they’d have a tummy ache. For sure they’ll never be anaemic.

  42. Jo May 28, 2015 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    I’ve never used slug pellets but I’m getting so fed up of losing precious seedlings that I actually considered it this year. I haven’t succumbed….yet. I’m waiting to see what happens as so far so good, but then I haven’t planted that many things out. Hope you’ve found the answer with your coffee grounds.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:41 pm - Reply

      It’s soul destroying Jo, when you’ve put so much work into raising seedlings. Like my Californian poppies last night. I could have just sown the seed direct, but thought putting out larger plants would give them a better chance. Some hope.

  43. Sue Garrett May 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Slugs hoovered up our carrot seedlings! Poodle wool has some effect but when my sisters poodle visits and smells her ex-wool she isn’t happy and it is a bit intrusive. This year we are spraying host as with a repellent – time will tell whether this will work.
    Forget welly wanging let’s have a mollusc wanging competition.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:44 pm - Reply

      I hope you report back on the hosta repellant, I’d be really interested to hear how it works. I’m tempted to try garlic spray.

  44. Christine May 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    I think your problem with copper rings may be that the plants overhang. I have seen slugs (long ones admittedly) manage to reach up for plants and their weight pulls them down. Once they are onboard they can go wherever. I too suffered from slugs and snails on dahlias so now grow them in pots under glass until they are big enough to put outside (still in the pot). Once they are large the slugs and snails seem deterred. Dahlias can also be planted in pots into the ground and succeed well like this (something that the NT does, I believe as it makes for easier lifting in the autumn/winter). Beer traps are to be recommended rather than slug pellets and we have had success with nematodes in the past.

    • Jessica May 28, 2015 at 11:54 pm - Reply

      Hi Christine and welcome to rusty duck.
      That is an interesting point and explains why the iris has survived. I’ve also noticed that the copper works for a few days, presumably until the plants grow and the lower leaves overhang. But it’s easy to remedy too, so I’ll be out with the scissors tomorrow!
      I like the idea of the dahlias in pots in the ground. Makes life a lot easier.

  45. Annie Cholewa May 29, 2015 at 1:57 am - Reply

    Beer traps always worked here but we stopped using them the day the dog drank the contents and got high on beer and fermented slugs!

    • Jessica May 29, 2015 at 7:45 am - Reply


  46. Suffolk Pebbles May 29, 2015 at 10:11 am - Reply

    we don’t have a huge problem with slugs in the garden and are hoping when the tadpoles turn into frogs in the allotment pond that they will feast on them …. I salute your heroic attempts!

    • Jessica May 31, 2015 at 11:00 am - Reply

      I feel I am fighting a losing battle sometimes but of all the things I’ve tried coffee (so far) seems to be having the most effect. Although, as it is raining and has been all night, I haven’t been out yet today.. I am just praying that the coffee is still holding back the hordes!

  47. Suzanne May 30, 2015 at 4:11 am - Reply

    Hmmm…… Have you tried diatomaceous earth? It works for a lot of pests like ants and snails?
    Interesting about the coffee. I wonder if deer and rabbits would dislike that too?

    • Jessica May 31, 2015 at 11:02 am - Reply

      I hadn’t heard of it before, so looked it up. It seems that we can get it here from a few specialist suppliers. My biggest hope about the coffee is that it will also deter mice!

  48. Marian St.Clair May 30, 2015 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Cheap beer is the chosen method here. Also, if you eat grapefruit (cut in half), you can put the rind in the garden and they will collect underneath at night, and then next morning you dispatch by your method of choice!

    • Jessica May 31, 2015 at 11:06 am - Reply

      I’ll try the grapefruit for sure. Now that we have free passage between the lawn and the level below that is where many of the slugs end up!

  49. Chel @ Sweetbriar Dreams May 30, 2015 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    We do tend to use the beer here, but with you saying coffee, I remember being in Starbucks last year and they were giving away used coffee grounds by the bagful for the garden. I will go along and take some this year to see how this goes. Good luck xx

    • Jessica May 31, 2015 at 11:08 am - Reply

      So far so good, but I’m not counting my chickens yet. The weather is supposed to get warmer and dry after this next week. That will help the cause.

  50. bittster May 30, 2015 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    Good luck in your battle! I’ve had slug damage here, but nothing like the slug destruction you see. I suspect most if the summer is too dry for their liking.

    • Jessica May 31, 2015 at 11:12 am - Reply

      The south west of England is one of the wetter areas of the UK and slugs really thrive. Having a mostly shady site doesn’t help either. It really is a battle!

  51. snowbird May 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    I do hope the ground coffee works! I have thousands of snails too……we need more frogs!xxx

    • Jessica May 31, 2015 at 11:22 am - Reply

      Or thrushes. Our last garden had at least one pair and I was constantly hearing the knocking of snail shell on stone. Not here though, it’s a real shame. Although here slugs are far more numerous than snails.

  52. hb June 1, 2015 at 1:19 am - Reply

    Severe drought is 100% effective. Also highly successful here is an invasion of rats–rats love slugs and snails.

    I don’t recommend either method.

    • Jessica June 1, 2015 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      A rat upended a whole load of the pots awaiting planting the other day, that explains what it was looking for. It doesn’t make it any more endearing I’m afraid. The trap is still out.

  53. elaine June 4, 2015 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Slugs – the eternal problem. Slug pellets are my friend. Hope the coffee grounds work.

    • Jessica June 4, 2015 at 9:17 pm - Reply

      After a week or so of experience I’ve discovered the coffee loses its potency after 3 or 4 days and needs topping up. Even though we drink a fair amount of the stuff I’m still struggling to get enough grounds. And a 30 mile round trip to Starbucks..

  54. Nerida @ Crooked Cottage June 19, 2015 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Slugs and snails are universal problems! I have tried the beer traps with some success. But my fail safe method is hunting them out and pouring on table salt. Mind you, I have a very small garden so I can go on nocturnal slug hunts, get rid of all the slugs and be back in the house in half an hour max. I like the sound of the grapefruit trap – might try that too in spring. Good luck with your copper/wool/coffee traps!

    • Jessica June 19, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

      Thanks Nerida and welcome to rusty duck!
      After three weeks or so of experience I’m finding mixed results with the coffee, OK at first but the slugs seem to get used to it or the temptation of the plant within just gets too much! Best so far has been the copper rings combined with wool pellets. But as Christine says above, as soon as a leaf droops on to the soil it forms a bridge over the copper and the slugs move in. It’s harder to prevent than you might think! But I battle on. I’m thinking about the grapefruit trap too.

  55. pollymacleod July 6, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Sorry for being so tardy Jessica, I’m struggling to catch up with all things blogging. Quite a while ago – probably March/April time I was removing some invasive shrubs that were close to a fence. Tucked inbetween the shrubs and the fence was a huge colony of snails, large, small, adult and babies. I collected the lot and put them in the weelie bin, where they climbed to the top but they couldn’t get out. I would like to think that I was in the right place at the right time and eliminated an entire dynasty! but since then I haven’t seen many lurking around. I will try the coffee test though, I don’t have a percolator but I do use coffee pods.

    • Jessica July 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      No worries about tardiness, I am losing the battle to keep up at the moment. That is summer for you!
      I hope you managed to get rid of the snails. Before they start to breed is definitely the right time.

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