Slug in my lettuce container! Eeew!

nattydoll(7)August 8, 2014

There are lots of slugs on my lawn "garden". I have killed a few using cornstarch, then letting the ants and birds eat them the morning after, but gave up after a few tries. The cornstarch sticks around a few days and the ants continue to eat it.

Anyway, it looked like the slugs were only eating seeds and mint, but not touching growing seedlings and plants. I can tell, because they ate seeds that never germinated - yet they allowed plenty of seedlings to grow just fine.

The other night, when watering, I saw one in my ceramic container of lettuce! The seedlings in there are growing nicely. The soil had lots of standing water from rain, so I haven't been watering it. A slug was nestled right next to the healthiest looking seedling. GROSS.

How did it get up there? Do you think it crawled up the side, or entered through the hole underneath? It's a big hole, but I leave the saucer under it precisely so that critters won't get in. It was gone this morning. How do I keep it away?

Is it still OK to eat the lettuce or should I chuck it?

Is it ok to even reuse the soil that was in there?

I gagged when I saw that slug. They are pretty creatures but the slimy things honestly gross me out.

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As far as deterring them, I've even tried scattering mint leaves - don't know if it works, bc they seem to love the area where we have a lot of mint growing, and even killed an entire clump of mint that was transplanted near their fave spot. Gross!

I've also tried pine needle mulch, which didn't work at first, but they seem to have given up on that area. The container is already crowded as it is.

Can I transplant the seedlings to a diff container with smaller holes? Or throw them out?

- Squeamish in NYC

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 4:39PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

There are a number of slug and snail controls on the market - some organic some not. Just Google 'slug control'. Lots of discussions here too about how to control them that the search will pull up.

But there is no reason why you can't eat the foods nor any reason why you can't reuse the soil. Try to get over the gross factor as they are a common garden resident and one of the things we have to learn to live with. Not to mention there are other even more gross things out there. :)


    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 6:18PM
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does she think that her lettuce has not come in contact with mouse excrement?

    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 7:05PM
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nattydoll, I don't like bugs and used to be as squeamish as you and still am in the house. I see a spider in the house and I scream but in the garden I am like, "Yeah! Kill those bad bugs" :). You will get used to them. I have even smashed slugs with a rock when they were decimating my garden. I don't recommend that method but I was desperate because I couldn't get to the garden as often as I needed to and didn't want anymore damage. There's a wonderful non toxic product called, "Sluggo".

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 4:11AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

'How did it get up there?' Slugs (and snails) can climb to great heights. We have found snails on our upstairs windowsills - 4 storeys up. None the less if your lettuce container is actually sitting on the ground it will help a little if you can put it up on something. Slugs can climb but they have to know there's something to climb for. If the lettuce is at ground level they'll find it. Up on a garden table they might not.

BTW mint leaves will not have any effect on them. They probably hang around the mint patch because mint and slugs like the same conditions - cool and moist.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:33AM
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conchitaFL(10 Hutchinson Island)

You can also buy copper tape to put around your containers. Supposedly they don't like crawling over that. I've never used it, but I know several people who say it works, as long as your plants don't trail to the ground to give them an alternate route.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:41AM
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naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan(5B SW Michigan)

A saying around our garden is, "The rules are different on this side of the fence". Critters that I'd allow, and perhaps even welcome in the yard or nearby woods may be trapped, smashed, or "disposed of" if they are on the inside of the garden fence.

It's not fun for many to realize that food isn't always dirt and bug-free during growth, but that is reality in home gardens and commercial farms. I kinda figure, if a bug won't eat it, why would I want to? What has been added to the plant or surroundings to keep the critters away, and is it something I want in my food? Just be sure to wash produce well, cut off damaged areas, and enjoy your harvest.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 2:23PM
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Just an observation - slugs like damp wet conditions. If there is standing water in your container where the lettuce is, that is not only bad for the plants - standing water means the soil is water logged and the plant roots are literally drowning - but it's encouraging slugs to think they've found a nice cozy home.

You need to get some drainage holes in that container, or clear the ones that exist, so there won't be any standing water.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 2:28PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I'm a big fan of Sluggo. I just make sure I don't sprinkle it ON the lettuce! Nancy

    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:41PM
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JCTsai(8B - Jacksonville, FL)

Use coffee ground or crushed egg shell to deter slugs

    Bookmark   December 16, 2014 at 7:42PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Natty, be sure you soak your veges in salt water for awhile to kill all those extra protein guys!
I don't tell my daughter how many "friends" I find in the salt water bath! LOL
Then a good rinse with plain water is in order!
Buck up, girl! If you're going to eat veges from your garden, you're going to encounter some little visitors! Nancy

    Bookmark   December 16, 2014 at 9:05PM
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Slugs are just a natural part of gardening. I'd be more worried about the slug eating your plants before you than how gross it may be. :)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2014 at 1:40AM
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