“Not all slugs cause damage to your garden. The great grey slug is relatively harmless to your precious vegetables and flowers because it generally eats fungi and rotted vegetable matter and even its other, less welcome cousins. The European black slug has as many as 25,000 teeth. Although it will eat your prized plants, it serves a more welcoming purpose by devouring dog and cat poo and turning it into fertilizer.”
The Curious Gardener’s Almanac by Niall Edworthy (2006).
I do not know if we have the great grey slug in New Zealand, maybe not – though it sounds similar to the large tiger slug that we have a-plenty.
While out and about garden visiting this week, I came across this little scene. I photographed it for Mark in the first instance because he has long railed against the practice of using slug bait like fertiliser. But it is a good example and time to remind readers again – slug baits have an attractant in them so you do not need to lay entire carpets of bait in the hope that slugs and snails will trip over one.
It is a poison and will find its way into the food chain so do not be lulled into a false sense of security when the packet tells you it is safe for animals and birds. It also needs to be reapplied after rain. Rather than shaking the box to scatter pellets, keep a pair of disposable gloves with the slug bait box. Tip some pellets in one hand and place 2 or 3 pellets by affected plants (Mark would tell you that a single bait is all you need). Cheaper, more environmentally friendly, better for the birds and more pleasing aesthetically.
Or try little bait stations in badly affected areas – a milk bottle lid filled with a few baits and a cover to keep it dry. We use old paua shells. Note: just three baits to this bait station.