Having only been gardening for a little over two years at this point — this is my third spring of playing in the dirt — I’m still amazed to find out some of the incredible gardening hacks people use to keep their veggies safe from pests. The gardening hack I’m about to share today is the biggest surprise to date. I most definitely had some healthy skepticism about it actually working, but to my amazement, it works like a charm, and I have the (gross) pictures to prove it.
Slugs Love Beer!
Snails and slugs love our garden — especially the collard greens and other members of the brassica family (cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts). They also love to eat straight through an otherwise PERFECT strawberry, starting from the bottom, and burroughing up.
And they love to lodge themselves in the leaves of our cucurbits (pumpkins, zucchini, cucumber, and delicata squash at the moment). If you’re a veteran organic gardener you might already know this — but I certainly did not! — slimy garden pests LOVE beer. In fact, they love beer more than they love the food in our garden, and they’ll drink themselves to death if you set them up to do so.
Here’s How We Did It:
1. Using cheap beer, fill a small jar about halfway.
2. Dig a hole close to the plants that your slugs love most.
3. Fill the dirt around the sides of the jar so that the only hole is the one in the top of the jar. You want the lip of the jar to be high enough out of the ground that dirt won’t fall in, but low enough that the snails and slugs can slink their way up and over.
6. Dump at your leisure and start over with fresh beer.
Since doing this, we have not seen a single snail or slug on our plants, nor have we seen any more ruined strawberries. We have placed beer traps in two beds in the front yard and in the strawberry patch in the backyard, and all three were filled with slugs and snails in short order. You can see another jar in the picture below if you look closely behind the chives and in front of the trellis on the left.
Humane Pest Removal
If you’re the type that “wouldn’t hurt a fly” and have trouble with the idea of killing these slimy disgusting creatures who devour my hard-earned, hard-grown food stuffs and slink in droves menacingly across the sidewalks of Alameda, rest assured they died drunk and happy, and surely did not suffer. (Unlike the ones my mom taught me to pour salt on as a kid … ew)
And thanks in part to this beer trap experiment, this pumpkin plant is thriving! Check out these baby sugar pie pumpkins tearing toward the sidewalk! Now, if only we could get some consistent sunshine…