Since I took on the challenge of growing my own veggie garden earlier this year, it has been a huge learning curve. At the start, my focus was just in keeping my plants alive 😅, however, now it’s moved to keeping bugs and insects away.
I understand that it’s common practice to use chemicals and sprays on plants to help deter pests, but for me, I vowed when I started to only use natural methods when growing this garden of mine, as anything you use on the plants can end up in your own body when you go to eat them later on (which is what I plan on doing), and second of all, I didn’t want to use chemicals on bugs and insects as they’re a natural part of the ecosystem and it went against my ethics to cause harm to them (and others animals that could come into contact with these chemicals) in this way.
So, with all that being said, I went in search for natural ways in which to keep snails and slugs away (specifically) as they were eating my newly planted cabbage. I came across quite a few different tips and tricks, but I’ve only tried and tested a few of them, but the ones I have tried worked a treat!
I’ll share all the different methods I discovered along the way (even the ones I haven’t yet tried myself) just in case some work better than others for you and your garden.
How To Keep Snails and Slugs Away Naturally
Below are some natural ways to keep snails and slugs away from your garden.
1. Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth (a.k.a DE) is a white powder naturally occurring from the fossils of diatoms (a type of algae found in the beds of rivers and lakes). If you sprinkle a circle of DE around your plants which are being attacked, this will deter snails and slugs.
Why does this work? Well, for these creatures to crawl over diatomaceous earth, it would be like us walking over broken glass on the beach… ouch!
However, one thing to keep in mind when using DE is that for it to be effective, you’ll need to reapply it often as it loses it’s effectiveness when it gets wet.
2. Get Yourself Some Chickens and Ducks
Free ranging chickens don’t only eat grass, but slugs and snails too. Chickens and ducks will roam around your garden and find the snails for you. Ducks do eat snails, but they prefer slugs over snails.
3. Pick Them Off By Hand
This method may seem quite time consuming and tedious, but it can be quite effective. Snails are most active in the early morning or at night, so this is the best time to go snail-picking. Put the snails in a bucket or container to move elsewhere. Just ensure you wash your hands with soapy water afterwards.
To make the process quicker, you can put an overturned pot or bowl in your garden or near the area where you’ve seen the snails. The snails will likely hide under the pot, which makes it easy for you to find them.
4. Don’t Water Your Garden in the Evening
Snails and slugs are more active at night because it’s cooler and the soil is often more moist then, which is important for them as they need a moist environment to survive.
If you water your garden in the evening, this will make your garden even more attractive to these creatures as it becomes a sort of haven for them. By the following morning you’ll see the devastation they’ve left behind on the leaves of your plants.
By watering your plants in the morning, the daytime sun will help dry them out before nightfall and make them less attractive to slugs and snails.
5. Crushed Egg Shell
Like diatomaceous earth, crushed egg shells will help deter snails and slugs due to its abrasiveness on their soft bodies.
Now, egg shells are not as effective as diatomaceous earth, but they do have the added benefit of providing calcium and other nutrients to your garden soil as they break down. Plus, water doesn’t effect them as much.
Used coffee grounds are another option you can use to keep snails and slugs away as the caffeine in coffee negatively affects snails. So they’ll tend to stay away.
6. Put Chopped Mint in Your Soil
Consider adding pieces of mint to the soil around the plants being attacked as snails and slugs are repelled by the smell.
7. Plant Rosemary or Thyme Bushes Nearby
Rosemary and thyme are also part of the mint family, so like other mint plants (including peppermint and spearmint), these plants deter slugs and snails with their natural aroma.
8. Put Seaweed in Your Soil
Next time you’re at the beach, collect some seaweed and chop it up to create mulch. Mix the seaweed into the top layer of soil around your plants.
The iodine smell can deter snails and slugs, with the added bonus of providing nutrients to the soil when it decays! This includes many trace nutrients that are challenging to get into your garden soil through other means.
9. Remove Moist, Decaying Debris from Around Your Garden
Snails are very attracted to moist, decaying organic matter, so they’ll likely stick around if you don’t clean up often. Some things you can do are remove dead leaves from around your garden, etc. It can be a good idea to check your yard and garden for debris at least once a week. Be sure to remove these items and place them into your compost.
Keep in mind that a compost pile is going to attract snails too (as it’s a moist environment with a never-ending supply of food for them). So make sure to place it far away from your yard and garden.
If you’d like a little live run-through of how I used a few of these snail controls on my own garden, see my video below.
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Have you tried and tested any of these methods for keeping away snails? Do you have any other suggestions or tips for keeping pests away naturally? Share them in the comments below! I’d love to hear them.
9 Natural Ways To Keep Snails and Slugs Out Of Your Garden. (March 26, 2019). Best Plants. Retrieved from https://bestplants.com/9-natural-ways-to-keep-snails-and-slugs-out-of-your-garden/
How to Get Rid of Snails. (July 2, 2019). Wiki How. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Snails