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I am new to strawberries, but I have about 50 plants (maybe was too aggressive with my order)that have just started producing fruit. About one in five berries has a chunk missing - I'm assuming this is from a slug.

Does anyone have safe/organic/natural tips for preventing these little things from attacking? My research has brought up diatomaceous earth as the best way to prevent, but would like any experience anyone has to offer!

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    Did you mulch your planting bed with straw? This is somewhat of a double edge sword as it can attract slugs but keep your "straw" berries off the soil and away from other insects that nibble on them.
    – JRap88
    Jun 26, 2020 at 16:06

5 Answers 5

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I used diatomaceous earth against insects, but it never had real effect. So I don't use it anymore. I don't know if it should work on slugs too, since the mode of action of this powder is to scrub tiny holes in the insect armor (slugs don't have such armor though).

For slugs I found grains containing iron (III) phosphate effective. The slugs eat them, and they seem to lose appetite and die. It is allowed to be used in organic gardening, but since it is a chemical it is of course not really organic.

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  • Thanks for the tip, I will look into it! Jun 26, 2020 at 16:15
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I live in an oceanic climate so there's plenty of rain. In our garden we have lots of slugs and snails. When I first searched about this topic, I was amazed how many ways people invented to keep the slugs off their yard. Well, I tried most of the things suggested from beer traps to placing brumble cuttings around the plants to repellent substances from essential oils, you name it. None of them really worked.

As the permaculture saying goes, you don't have a slug problem, you have a duck deficiency. If you have the chance to keep ducks, indian runner ducks are appearently great at controlling the slug population. And very importantly, this type of duck doesn't eat your plants. Some of my friends have them and they have no problems with slugs any more.

Unfortunately, keeping ducks was not an option for me. The solution I figured for my situation is what I call the night hunt. Every other day or so, I go out to my veggie garden during the night before going to sleep, and collect the slugs and snails in a bucket and put them in my in-situ compost bin. This drastically removed their number. It requires constant management but so far that was the only thing that really worked for me.

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  • This is a truly remarkable solution! I also can't keep ducks, but rounding them up every other night doesn't sound terrible. Thanks for the advice! Jul 10, 2020 at 19:59
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You can sprinkle used coffee grounds around your strawberry plants. This can help deter slugs and snails from coming around your plants. The coffee will breakdown over time and also feed your plants which is a win/win. I've also had good results with diatomaceous earth which is another organic way to eliminate slugs. You can do both together and see what happens.

Check out this article it details other things that can be done to help with your slug problem.

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  • Thank you! I have been saving my grounds, so this tip is very much appreciated! Jun 26, 2020 at 16:15
  • Did this work for you? I've tried it and had no effect.
    – viam0Zah
    Jul 1, 2020 at 18:34
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I have thousands of snails and slugs in my garden every year. I have tried everything to get rid of them.

Ducks are the best solution. They are the sentinels watching over your plants.

Next best thing is snail killing bait. It works great but it's expensive and melts in the rain after a few days.

Diatomaceous earth only works when it's dry, so you would need to make some kind of tunnel full of the stuff that the snails would climb into? Also it kills any insects that crawl over which isn't great for your garden's biodiversity.

Next best thing is sacrificial plants. Small tender broad leaves placed low and all around the plants you want to protect. They will devour these first and give you time to do a daily round-up in the morning or evening.

Next, the snail electric fence. Get an outdoor solar powered lamp, some copper tape, and plywood. Bury the plywood around your bed (if you don't have a raised bed). Attach the copper tape in two thin strips very close to each other around the perimeter. Hook each line up to one of the leads for the solar lamp. When a slug or snail crosses both copper tape lines, they will get a small zap and run away. Works great but it's finicky to set up and the smallest snails and slugs can get in between the lines and not be zapped.

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Iron phosphate pellets are by far the most effective solution for a garden of that size. In the US it's sold as "Sluggo" and it's OMRI approved.

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