Slugs eating my hostas and fern roots

(Question)

Please advise me as to the best ways to control slugs in my garden. I have triple mix amending my sandy soil and mulch. Lime / Egg shells / Chicken grits / beer?

(Answer)

Slugs and snails are wreaking havoc on gardens all over Toronto!  They are more active at night and prefer warm, most conditions.  If you hand pick them, which is best done in the evening, you can be sure that you have removed them.  Beer traps are a good way to control them if the thought of hand picking leaves you cold. There are special slug traps sold at garden centres that you could consider.  Another option is copper tape, which slugs and snails do not like to cross. Diatomaceous earth, coffee grounds, salt, wood ash, or crushed up eggshells sprinkled around the base of the plants are other options that are often mentioned as being effective.  There are some commercial slug baits available. Avoid those containing metaldehyde, which can cause kidney damage in kids and pets. Varieties containing iron phosphate are less harmful. Also remember that birds dine on slugs, and will ingest the poison too.

If you’re thinking of expanding your Hosta collection, there are slug resistant varieties to look out for. Encouraging birds to visit your garden would be a useful (and enjoyable) strategy as well.