The Colgate Community Garden uses organic practices, and this means traditional fertilizers and pesticides are off limits. So sometimes we have to get creative when pests come knocking on our garden gates. Our first pest encounter this season has been the dreaded slug. These particular slugs have developed a taste for our cabbage and brussels sprout seedlings. One morning we noticed that our once beautiful, leafy cabbage was getting chewed up. The culprit had left behind a shimmering, slimy residue- our first hint that slugs were the problem.
Luckily it turns out that in addition to cabbage and brussel sprouts, slugs are also fond of yeast. Some plastic cups of beer planted among the rows of cabbage provides an organic, cheap and easy answer to a slug problem. The slugs are attracted to the yeast in the beer, then when they go to get a refreshing drink, they fall into the beer and drown! Not a happy story for the slugs, but effective pest control. Add the fact that cheap beer is easily accessible for free at the end of a semester at Colgate and you’ve got a perfect solution!
Every couple of days we change out the beer and find thirty or forty slugs at a time. After less than a week, our cabbage plants are looking much happier, which in turn makes for a happy garden team!