Slugs and snails begone! DIY repellents

Image Wikimedia Commons

By Geneva Pattison

As the sad but inevitable end of the Summer approaches, so will the dreary weather. Snails and slugs can wreak havoc on even the most acutely tended-to gardens during rainy periods and it can feel impossible to prevent.

There is a growing public concern about the over-use of well-known pesticides which have been linked to damaging human health, along with playing a part in the decline of certain animal and friendly insect species. So how can we stop these pests from destroying all our hard work in the garden without damaging anything else? 

DIY pest repellents are gaining in popularity on a large scale. As with most DIY repellent methods, what works for one gardener may not work for another gardener so experimentation is key. Here are some homemade and eco-friendly recipes you can concoct and trial run at home. 

1: Coffee Grounds 

Do you ever make yourself a nice French press coffee on the weekends? Well, save up those leftover coffee grounds. Apparently, coffee grounds are a major deterrent to snails and slugs. If you don’t have the coffee grounds to hand, coffee shops are great for giving them away. Just ask!

2: Slug Repellent Plants 

Many people swear by the old method of planting slug and snail repellent plants in their garden. Some of the most popular choices to send the nasty critters running the other way are chives and garlic plants. These plants’ pungent odours are toxic to molluscs and will often kill them. If you don’t want to plant anything new, you could make a garlic spray solution. Mash or blend two bulbs (yes, bulbs!) of garlic. Allow to sit for 24 hours, strain the puree into a jar and add a teaspoon of mild dish soap. Mix two tablespoons of this mixture into an average-sized spray bottle and fill with water. Spray it liberally around the affected plants. 

3: Egg shells

As molluscs have sensitive membrane bodies, they have an aversion to abrasive surfaces. Crushed egg shells scattered around your plants will send the slugs packing. If you live near the seaside try using crushed seashells instead

4: Natural predators 

Encouraging birds and hedgehogs to come into your garden can be an effective and hassle-free solution to keeping your garden looking great and pest-free. Leave out some unsalted nuts and seeds around your garden for the birds, and for hedgehogs leave out some pieces of fruit. Be sure not to over feed them or they won’t go for any snails or slugs.