Natural, Humane, Snail And Slug Control To Protect Seedlings
Protecting your organic seedlings from being eaten by slugs and snails no sooner than you plant them out in your vegetable patch is a real challenge.
I have tried many different types of humane deterrents, some with more success than others; e.g. vege net, egg shells, copper tape around the base of pots etc. (see my article Organic, Humane Pest Control For Your Organic Vegetable Garden), but this simple exclusion method involving copper tape, polypropylene little plastic cups and a scissors, is all you need to protect your precious seedlings, freshly planted out into your vegetable patch from hungry slugs and snails.
I actually got this idea from a company in the UK selling very expensive solid copper rings to protect your seedlings and thought there has to be a cheaper, home-made, way to do this and this is how I came up with this idea. Follow these instructions and you will have yourself some very effective seedling protection.
Small Polypropylene #no.5 disposable cups or yoghurt containers . I suggest using polypropylene as it is considered the most inert plastic and it is also recyclable.
Sharp Scissors, or a Stanley Knife (blade knife).
Copper Snail and Slug Tape – available from most gardening stores e.g. Green Harvest, Bunnings etc..
Make sure your cups or containers are clean.
Step 1. Cut vertically down one side of the container to the base of the cup.
Step 2. Cut halfway into the center of the base and begin to cut out a small circle. Don’t worry it doesn’t have to be perfect, just wide enough to allow the seedling stalk to fit through with a bit of extra air flow around it’s perimeter, but not wide enough for slugs who live in the soil to climb up into for a seedling snack!
Step 3. Take a strip of copper tape and stick it around the perimeter of your cup, close to the top rim and making sure to leave the vertical slit open still.
*Note -Because you have made a vertical slit down the length of the cup/container, you will be able to plant the seedling into your organic veggie patch and then stretch open your container and place it around the stalk. This also makes it easy to remove the cup later without damaging the young plant. Plus it makes it more Eco-friendly as they can be re-used over and over again for new seedlings.
Step 4. Make sure you push the base of the cup at least half an inch into the soil and firm the soil around the base of the cup to keep it in place.
Step 5. Another trick it to dig a circular trench about an inch or two away from the base of the cup. This trick protects the seedling leaves that may dangle over the top of your protection cup from touching the soil and being eaten by snails and slugs that are on the outer of your cup.
Give it a try it works!
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