Hubble Bubble Toil & Trouble

Garlic 002 Wm

For those who were interested in the slug repellent recipe*, this is what you do. Break up a bulb of garlic and put all the cloves in a plastic bag. Bash them on the head with a steak mallet or a rolling pin. The plastic bag should stop the bits of garlic flying around the kitchen which is useful if you spent a large part of the previous day cleaning said room.

Close and hermetically seal the door between the kitchen and the rest of the house. Open all kitchen windows and the back door to the garden. A good through breeze is what you need. Boil the crushed garlic cloves in one pint of water for 3-4 minutes, removing them from the plastic bag first. Obviously. The recipe calls for 2 bulbs of garlic and 2 pints of water but I thought that was rather a lot, as you’ll see in a moment. Plus I’d only bought one bulb. Pour the resultant liquid through a strainer to remove the solid bits of garlic. Add more water to make back up to a pint. Repair to an open air location post-haste and allow to chill (the garlic infusion and the chef).

Now comes the fun bit. Dilute one tablespoon of the solution into 5 litres of water and you’re ready to roll. I used a 5 litre pressure sprayer with lance attachment and it was a doddle to apply. Everything vulnerable to slug attack has had a proper drenching: hostas, heleniums, rudbeckia, irises, peas, beans and, much to Mike’s consternation, salad leaves. It’s best done in late afternoon on a dry day and a little does go a long way.

Even with just a pint of the concentrate I had loads left over. But in the course of explaining the process to Mike I had a brainwave. We could freeze the surplus and then I wouldn’t have to go through the whole darn boiling thing each and every time. It has to be said that in spite of my best efforts a less than delicate aroma does seem to persist around the corridors chez rusty duck. Better yet though, I could freeze it in tablespoon sized chunks so whenever I wanted another five litres of spray I could just pop the appropriate measure into water. And how best to achieve this? An ice cube tray.

Mike, who had been paying more attention than I’d given credit for at the time, snapped his head up from the paper he was reading. “Well you’re NOT using mine.” ‘Mine’, in this context, refers to the two bog standard ice cube trays that came with the fridge and whose only purpose in life (up to now) has been to facilitate the ‘clink’ of his Sunday night gin and tonic.

A new tray would have to be purchased to accommodate the garlic infused cubes. There’s always the worry though isn’t there. One can imagine the scene. Mike comes in from the garden, tired after a hard day’s toil and there’s a momentary lapse in concentration. And you can guess whose fault that would be. Even if she was nowhere near the premises at the time. Proceed directly to the Maison du Chien. Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200.

The exact same scenario must have featured in Mike’s mind too. This is the ice cube tray he came back with..


Garlic 001 Wm


Pink. Identifiable. Quite possibly even in the dark.

It should do. Shouldn’t it…??


Hubble Bubble Toil & Trouble..

pin it?


*Original recipe from Bowden Hostas (here).


2017-10-27T09:30:18+00:00May 23rd, 2016|Tags: , |


  1. M. L. Kappa May 23, 2016 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    G&G, anyone? Gin and garlic will be the new drink du jour

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      I won’t be putting money on it.. 😉

  2. frayed at the edge May 23, 2016 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    I’ve just had a look on Amazon ……. they have 15 pages of flavoured gins, but garlic wasn’t featured! However, you can get white chocolate gin, Christmas pudding gin ……. all sorts of flavours!

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      Nope, I think it’s safe to say garlic gin just isn’t going to catch on.

  3. Lady Eve May 23, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Freezing the leftovers is a stroke of genius. And Mike’s choice of ice tray is spot-on! I’d classify all of this as a plan coming together.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Hello and welcome!
      Early days but so far so good..

  4. FlowerAlley May 23, 2016 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Oh thank you. I need this brew.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Don’t forget to close the kitchen door..

  5. cherylwest2015 May 23, 2016 at 2:21 pm - Reply

    A wonderful and most useful post. I thank you. No worries about vampires in your house and garden!

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      No vampires for miles around given how the aroma lingers. Do you think it works for zombies too?

  6. Piddlewick May 23, 2016 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    Fabulous and just in time (and wit great humour). We have been building raised beds (waist height) from pallets to keep weeds, chickens, ducks, etc at bay. But alas snails and slugs are good climbers. This will definitely be tried! Thank you.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      They are good climbers. I found a slug six feet up a bean pole last year.

  7. Sam May 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Good luck (with the slugs and snails and the gin and tonic) 🙂

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      Well so far the plants are holding their own. I might give them another dose tomorrow, just to make sure.

  8. pollymacleod May 23, 2016 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    hi Jessica, I tried this a couple of years ago, it is truly the most disgusting smell but it didn’t work for me.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      Oh no! I had such high hopes.. I was worried that the plants may object to the garlic and I’d see burned leaves or something. So far not, so I shall give them some more.

  9. derrickjknight May 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    The Head Gardener may find this interesting. Tell Mike that garlic flavoured gin may help prolong life 🙂

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      Garlic is supposed to be good for the heart. Ours. Not the slugs.

  10. Ann @Ann Edwards Photography May 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    hoping it works!

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:40 pm - Reply


  11. AnnetteM May 23, 2016 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Very amusing post – I do hope it works for you. Do let us know. I am having some degree of success with sheep’s wool. Some of it is just fluffy wool that my friend has left over from her spinning and the other is in flat sheets that we get wrapped around food deliveries. That is easier to use. It certainly works initially as it smells quite ‘sheepy’ and so is good until plants get going. I don’t know if it will work in the long term once it has lost its smell a bit. Anyway anything is better than slug pellets and this doesn’t cost us anything.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      I’ve seen fewer slugs around but it’s got dry again so maybe that’s why. And the rain washes the garlic off so then I’ll have to go round spraying all the plants again. I wish I could find something that I could just put down and forget about. Sheep’s wool sounds interesting. The shocka mat is the nearest I’ve tried so far but not totally effective. Slug pellets are the only thing that’s ever worked for me but I agree, best avoided.

  12. Elizabeth Neal May 23, 2016 at 4:39 pm - Reply

    The same magic brew stops damping off of seedlings in its tracks. I must remember to freeze some next year as you’re right you don’t want to cook it up more than you have to.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Elizabeth and welcome.
      Very interesting tip for seeds, I’ve certainly no shortage of the stuff now. 🙂

  13. Denise May 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Well, who’d have thought, eh? Probably best concocted when one has a cold, I reckon.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:56 pm - Reply

      When everyone in the household has a cold.

  14. Kris Peterson May 23, 2016 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    I giggled my way through this entire post. Your pink ice cube tray should do the trick but you may want to avoid inviting visitors into your kitchen to help with drinks preparation in the future. The garlic concoction sounds like a lot of trouble so I think I’ll stick to my off-the-shelf remedy – and beer. You’ve just reminded me that’s one way to use up the beer bottles I have cluttering my pantry cabinet.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      It’s not too much trouble and at least it’s quick. But the aroma did linger..

  15. Wendy May 23, 2016 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    I hope it works! I’ve tried a garlic-infused, witches’ brew before and it does pong. But I did keep telling myself it was the best solution because it was all natural stuff. It sounds a great idea to freeze and put into pink, ‘don’t touch’ ice cube trays.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:03 pm - Reply

      We had our first tentative taste of garlic drenched salad leaves today. After a good wash they seemed OK. I do hope it works.

  16. Freda May 23, 2016 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Do you have to reapply every time it rains? Sorry!!

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:06 pm - Reply

      You have spotted the Achilles Heel. Sadly, yes. It must have been an east coast person who thought up this solution..

  17. Bonnie May 23, 2016 at 10:28 pm - Reply

    I’m questioning the ice cubes: a) Beware, they may make your whole freezer odiferous; and b) Over time, being frozen will dilute the same eye-watering smell that you want to share with the slugs. I’m thinking of the effects of freezing on my ice cubes of intensely flavored pesto: its flavor tends to wane over time while frozen. Will be eager to hear what you learn, consider it a science experiment!

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Bonnie and welcome!
      Two good points. I can maybe counter the first one by putting the tray in a freezer bag once the water has frozen, but you’re right the effectiveness will lessen over time. At least freezing extends the life of each batch by a little. Spring is when the worst of the slug damage occurs, when the new growth is at its most appealing and vulnerable. If it works I shall be using a lot over the next few weeks, especially as it rains frequently here. Definitely an experiment!

  18. Linda May 23, 2016 at 11:34 pm - Reply

    Re Bonnie’s comment: try it in month and again after that.That way if it dilutes you won’t have it sitting around for a year. I had a friend who boiled garlic and drank the water as a way to ward off colds. Only her really good friends continued to talk to her!

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm - Reply

      I think I’d rather have the cold!

  19. bittster May 24, 2016 at 2:54 am - Reply

    Good luck with this, you need all the help you can get with those slimy beasts.
    Maybe the garlic-kissed gin and tonic will catch on?

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      Maybe it will and I’ll make a million. Lottery odds are probably better.

  20. ginaferrari May 24, 2016 at 7:21 am - Reply

    Garlic G and T? Maybe not…. But you did make me laugh. I’ll be interested to know if it works as I’ve not managed to grow lettuces for years. Although I suspect the pigeons as much as the slugs.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:22 pm - Reply

      Yes, the pigeons are a problem here too. And the mice. If garlic works against the mice as well I’ll be in seventh heaven.

  21. Susan Garrett May 24, 2016 at 9:25 am - Reply

    It will be interesting to see how effective it is – sounds like one for an outdoor camping stove as we do for picallili

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      I did think about that.. and wish we had one!

  22. wherefivevalleysmeet May 24, 2016 at 10:34 am - Reply

    I look forward to knowing the outcome of your garlic infusion – with all of the rain this year I have been surprised that there have not been more slugs around, and happily all the red lily beetle seems to have gone AWOL too.

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      It would seem all the slugs have moved down here. A couple of days ago I found seven on one plant 🙁

  23. Cathy May 24, 2016 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    Yes, we all want to know how effective it is!

    • Jessica May 24, 2016 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      I will report back. Early days..

  24. Alain May 24, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    I am also waiting for a report on how effective it is.

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm - Reply

      So far so good. But it’s raining tonight. Which is a worry..

  25. dina cuthbertson May 24, 2016 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    Haha….so glad you sorted those ice cubes! Sounds a good remedy, I’ll see if yours works then have a go!xxx

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Well it had been working really well. I shall do another round of spraying tomorrow, the rain will wash it all off. I wish I could find a safe solution I could just put down and leave.

  26. Peter/Outlaw May 25, 2016 at 5:24 am - Reply

    We love the “fragrance” of garlic coking in the kitchen so I may just try this myself. We all await your effectiveness report. Added bonus, this also repels those pesky Vampires.

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      I like the smell of garlic cooking too. But then it’s usually just a clove or two and in oil with maybe other ingredients. Boiling up a whole bulb is a completely different ballgame, believe me.

  27. Amy at love made my home May 25, 2016 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Hee hee!! Too tempting! Hope that it works for the hostas and other things. Sounds like a good idea!

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      So far so good on the plants. The tricky time will be Sunday evening. Gin and tonic time. I shall be sticking to wine..

  28. Sue May 25, 2016 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Brilliant system, but alas no good for me here in Wales with the amount of rain we get, although inside the polytunnel would be a good candidate for this very eco friendly slug repellent 🙂

    I hope Mike’s G&T’s remain un-garlicified 🙂

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      It’s the eco friendly (especially wildlife friendly) aspect that appeals to me too, so I really hope it works. Yes, the rain is going to be a problem for me as well. But with the right sprayer it really is so easy. If I can keep my plants protected I really don’t mind wandering around the garden after the rain and reapplying it. Remind me I said that..

  29. kate@barnhouse May 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing the secret if rather smelly recipe, I shall certainly give it a try. Collecting yet another pailful of snails early this morning I found myself wishing I knew a few good spells to keep them at bay ….

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:41 pm - Reply

      Isn’t it odd, I see very few snails, it’s the slugs that rule here. Shame really, because snails are easier to throw.

  30. hb May 25, 2016 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    If the brew doesn’t work, you won’t have to ever make it again, unless you need a husband repellent. And since he waits for you patiently at plant sales, you don’t need that.

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      I can vouch for its effectiveness as a husband repellent, should that ever be needed.

  31. Sarah May 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    I was already imaging Mike with a garlic flavoured gin and tonic a long time before you I reached the end of your post! Hope the smell doesn’t presist in the deep freeze too! The big question is has it put the slugs and snails off too? Sarah x

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:45 pm - Reply

      So far so good. It’s only been four days but I’m cautiously optimistic. Except that it’s raining tonight..

  32. CherryPie May 26, 2016 at 12:47 am - Reply

    Now we await to see if the garlic concoction repels the slugs and snails 😉

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      Oh I do hope so. But if it was that easy wouldn’t someone have patented it by now?

  33. Marianne May 26, 2016 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    How about a hot plate outside to boil it all up? One of my favorite curry recipes takes 3 hours to cook almost a kilo of onions. That kind of smell does not belong in the house – it doesn’t leave for days. I love rogan josh. Answer: portable hot plate.

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:49 pm - Reply

      If it works (and I make it again) I might have to invest. The smell certainly does linger.

  34. karen May 26, 2016 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    thanks for the recipe. I’m boiling some now. Even the cat and the dog have evacuated the kitchen. What a smell! Hope it works.

    • Jessica May 26, 2016 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      Good luck. I’m still hopeful. No new nibbles in four days.. can it last, that is the question.

  35. thredspider May 27, 2016 at 7:46 am - Reply

    Laugh out loud post. And my under gardened laughed when I read it to him too! Thanks for that for that as I just found 4 out of 5 Iris flower stems on a favourite plant chewed through by slugs. There will be garlic wars here too…..followed by g&t!

    • Jessica May 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      It was the same tragedy here that prompted me to act. I only had two flower stems on ‘Jane Phillips’ and one of them is gone.

  36. Chloris May 27, 2016 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Brilliant, I hope it works. My hostas are in shreds as I used to break my no- chemical rule for hostas, but can’ t do that now as my daughter’ s puppy eats everything, socks, pebbles, pens, snails, everything. He would love slug pellets, but even he would draw the line at garlic. The only thing is I don’ t fancy boiling it up. Could you make me some? In fact you could make some for all your blogging fridnds, that would be nice.
    I chuckled at the idea of garlic- flavoured g& t. Definitely a dog- house occasion.

    • Jessica May 27, 2016 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Well you know I would Chloris. But the Royal Mail are bound to have a ban on sending garlic potions through the post.

  37. stephanie young May 27, 2016 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    I just came back from Old Sturbridge Village….a reenactment colonial village in Massachusetts. One of the gardeners (in costume of course) gave a lecture on deal with bugs….and ‘onion tea’ was highly recommended. Sounds very very similar to this garlic one, although he made ‘sun tea’….probably not in the quantity you got, but I’ve got some ‘steeping’ as I write. I’m going to just use it on my veggies (and I have a rather small garden, although my cabbages must have provided dinner for several generations of slugs last year). Time to look into your recipe as well!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica May 28, 2016 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      It’ll be interesting to see if onion tea works. Certainly the slugs seem to leave the growing onions alone. Good luck!

  38. Girlontor May 28, 2016 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Ha ha! Great post 🙂
    Nice to find a garlic spray recipe that doesn’t include soap (which seams to make the whole palaver pointless?).
    I actually experimented with chopping up a couple of garlics I pulled from the garden, including the green stems, and sprinkled them around the pea and bean bed thinking the smell might deter/confuse mice and slugs. All the beans and peas have come up without any nibbles, so I’m thinking this might have worked… Worth a try!

    • Jessica May 28, 2016 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      Hello and welcome!
      I am fervently hoping that it also repels mice. If anything they are even more of a problem here than slugs. I’ve long since given up direct sowing anything, it’s a complete waste of time especially peas and beans. Definitely worth a try.

  39. Girlontor May 28, 2016 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    PS And in the same spirit, I’m just thinking it would be worth freezing the otherwise-wasted green bits off garlic/onions too, for later use, chopped up in a freezer bag…

    • Jessica May 28, 2016 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      I shall try that too. It’s a battle and a half isn’t it!

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