Type: Pests

Slugs and snails

The allotmentor's ancient emeny comes in a variety of forms which munch their way through leaves, young stems and tubers. They are most serious in seedlings and young plants but can severly damage potatoes and make them unfit for storage.


  • Seedlings which have been munched down to the ground or just had their tops chewed off
  • Irregular, rounded holes in leaves, roots and tubers
  • Shiny remnants of a slimy trail

Prevention & control

Sadly, there's no easy, foolproof organic method of slug control. Options for controlling the damage include:
  • avoid watering in the evenings
  • encourage natural predators such as frogs and birds
  • plant seeds by watering the bottom of the row and covering with dry soil
  • raise seedlings on until they are strong and healthy, and can therefore cope with a bit of nibbling, before planting out
  • sink tubs/trays filled with beer into the soil around plants which will attract and drown them
  • stalk them at night with a head torch and pick them off
  • apply nematodes (Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita) as a biological control
  • apply ferric phosphate-based slug pellets which are approved for organic growing. Which? magazine (2011) found these were just as effective as traditional (metaldehyde-based) slug pellets.
Top tips
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Broed beans (psychogoth1uk - 23:51 30/11/2014) Report inappropriate tip
Dig a 6 ft x 3ft x 2 ft ditch bury line bottom with newspaper place plant and compost waste in and cover plant broad beans
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Slugs (onedot3 - 14:02 24/05/2015) Report inappropriate tip
We used porridge oats (not cooked) around plants last and it seemed to work OKSo using it again this year.A large packet of Porridge Oats are quite cheap
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