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I have recently built and planted a few box gardens with various herbs and vegetables, however, I am having issues with snails.

I was told that magnolia flowers are a good natural repellent but they dont seem to working very well.

Does anyone have any other suggestions of biodynamic solutions?

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  • Is this allowed? Snail food with Iron compounds. E.g Iron Sulphate. Apr 27 at 23:35

3 Answers 3

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I don't know if beer and coffee count as biodynamic, but those are two home remedies you could try fairly inexpensively and with what you have on hand.

Beer Trap: Fill a shallow sour cream or yogurt type container with an inch or so of beer, and bury it in the garden box so the top edge is just even with the soil.

The slugs are attracted to the beer, go in to have some to party at night, and in the morning you can clear them out!

Coffee Grounds: Circle your plants or the edge of the garden box with coffee grounds. The snails are supposed to not like the grittiness and so won't cross the barrier.

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  • This is great! I will definitely give it a try. Not sure if it qualifies as biodynamic either, but reduce, reuse, recycle! Thanks for the tip. Apr 29 at 8:03
  • Coffee grounds also add a bit o' nitrogen as well (although they are also acidic).
    – Shannon
    May 11 at 21:50
  • Coffee grounds are supposed to repel insects. However, in my extremely limited experience, they take 1 month to rot and feed exactly those.
    – Vorac
    May 16 at 15:45
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If the planting is in boxes and not directly into the ground, stick adhesive copper tape to the sides of the boxes - slugs and snails don't like to cross over it because it gives them a mild electric shock. Available at most garden supply shops or via Amazon.

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  • … and pick out those that are already in the planters by hand.
    – Stephie
    Apr 30 at 4:17
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I have had very aggressive slugs in the past, and here is what I have tried and my assessment of the solutions. I am assuming that any solution for slugs will work just as well for snails.

Solution Success? Comments
Coffee grounds No Did not seem to have any affect
Ground-up hazelnut shells No Did not seem to have any affect
Ground-up egg shells Partial Appears to work, but you need about 12 inches in radius around the plant for it to be effective, and you need to reapply after rain, so it is not a low-effort solution.
Diatomaceous earth Partial This works, but it's a waste of time because as soon as the diatomaceous earth gets wet (including from watering) it becomes useless.
Beer traps Yes, but... This absolutely works. HOWEVER because the beer trap works by attracting slugs to it, you ultimately get more snails/slugs in your garden which may or may not cause more damage to your plants if the slugs eat your plants on their way to the traps. You need to drain and re-fill the beer traps every few days and after rain, and it is 100% disgusting. I consider this a high-effort solution.
Water in the morning Yes! My garden would be covered with slugs when I watered at night, but when I changed to watering in the morning my slug problems mostly went away. They seemed to be attracted to the moist ground and are active at night.
Anti-slip tape Yes Similar in principle to the copper tape suggested in other answers, but presumably much cheaper. This is sandpaper-like tape that goes on steps to prevent slipping. The slugs appear to not to like to go over it. Only useful if you have a raised bed. See image below.

Figure 1: Anti-slip tape on raised bed

enter image description here

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