Protecting my garden from slugs without chemicals.

The following are methods I’ve found online for dealing with slugs. Which method works best for you? I’m on the California coast south of San Francisco and I’m told that slugs can be a big problem here. One method I did not include involved going out every morning and picking them up. Oh, the humanity! For some it may be a good solution but I feel it is a torture too foul and perverse for even the likes of Dante to repeat. I am open to any solution that does not require me to suffer trauma. Thanks in advance.


According to a study published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment you can reduce slug and snail damage dramatically by watering in the morning instead of the evening. The study showed that lettuce watered only in the morning had only 1/5 the damage that lettuce watered in the evening had.

Copper wire can save your outdoor potted plants from hungry slugs. Keep slugs away by wrapping thin copper wire once around your pot, and to secure, twist the ends with pliers. The trick? Copper wire emits just enough electrical zap to turn slugs away unharmed! Drench the soil with wormwood tea.
Line the garden with copper strips. Slugs receive a shock when they touch copper, and they will not cross the barrier. When using this method, make sure you trap the slugs OUT and not IN.
Slugs love beer. Bury a shallow container of beer in the garden, with just the lip above the ground. When they go in for a drink, they will drown.
Encourage reptiles to take up residence in your garden. Toads, turtles and snakes all prey on slugs.
If you see evidence of these pests avoid dense groundcovers and mulches that provide a hiding place. Oak leaf mulch will deter slugs and snails.
Handpick slugs and snails at night. Use a flashlight, and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.

Lay boards in the garden to trap slugs and snails. Check your trap early in the morning and remove the slugs and snails as they collect.
Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the base of the stems will deter slugs and snails, but keep in mind that it will also discourage beneficial insects.

Other substances snails and slugs will may not cross with varying success include pearlite, crushed oyster shells, pea gravel, coffee grounds, coarse sand, sawdust, bran, garden lime, diatomaceous earth, cayenne pepper, ground chilies or ginger and raw garlic slices.

No expert myself, but I have many times heard the beer jar method. Another popular in UK was to attract hedgehogs to your garden (Do NOT feed them milk, it makes the hedgehog sick, even though they lap it up happily), and keep them there with the ocasional saucer of dogfood. I don’t know what the local slug eating preditor is in your neck of the woods though.

Beer has always worked for me…

Oh, you mean with the slugs…

Still going to go with the beer. Keeps the slugs off of my camelias, at least.

Ortho Slug-Geta works great. It’s full of chemicals, but so is beer.

Your OP reminded me of this news item from a few years back, Slug Eating Robot

Not only are slugs going to be a problem wait until the snails eat all your nice young plants. We have a young dog so we went with the animal safe slug and snail bait. I also have heard that beer works and a sand barrier is said to be a preventative. I also pick snails off the plants in the morning, its very effective. Slugs are kind of hard to pick up.