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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 at 16:06
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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! – Megan Dorcey Jul 10 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! – Megan Dorcey Jun 26 at 16:15
  • Did this work for you? I've tried it and had no effect. – viam0Zah Jul 1 at 18:34
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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! – Megan Dorcey Jun 26 at 16:15

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