I think the battle with slugs and snails is universal just now. Gardeners everywhere are trying to keep tender new plants from being eaten. I know I’ve seen so many folks online devastated at the damage being done to newly planted sunflowers, us included.
It’s infuriating, I’d taken all that time and made such an effort to keep those plants healthy and happy. Kept them going until they were strong enough to go outside and then almost overnight they were stripped back to the stalks. All of them.
So what’s the answer? Well to be honest, I wasn’t sure. I know that I’ve had loads of success with good quality copper tape. I mention good quality because I’ve found that the cheaper brands wasn’t nearly as effective. It took a while to find out why but it turns out the cheaper brands skimp on the amount of copper in the alloy, and since it’s the copper that deters the slugs… well… yeah you can imagine. I have it around my pots both in the garden and in the greenhouse and I’ve been really happy with the results, but how could I use that in a garden bed?
First let’s talk about how the copper works, because it’s actually really simple. There are lots of old gardener’s remedies for slug and snails out there, crushed eggs shells around the plants, coffee grinds around the plants, sheep’s wool around the plants and it goes on. To be honest though, I’ve had zero luck with egg shells or coffee, it made absolutely no difference to me at all. I’ve never tried sheep’s wool. The idea with all those remedies is that it’s a surface that the slugs don’t want to cross, either because it’s uncomfortable or dries out their bodies etc.
It’s a similar idea with the copper tape I use. Slugs don’t like crossing the copper because it causes a chemical reaction, which is irritating to them, a bit like when we bit on tin foil when we have fillings. Hence why there amount of actual copper makes a difference to how successful the tape is.
So with that in mind, my original plan was how can I find a way to put copper tape around plants in an open flower bed. And my first thought was actually not bad, I think. I figures I could cut an old plastic bottle into rings, stick the copper tape to that and then put them around my plants. Pretty ingenious I thought. But no, the one problem with that was the adhesive and the Scottish weather. With all the rain here, the copper tape peels off pretty quickly, making the rings a pretty poor deterrent. And that’s where a stroke of luck came in. I saw someone else on Instagram talking about rings of copper that they were putting around the base of their plants and they were really happy. They are called Slug Rings funnily enough. So I thought – I need to try this out.
The benefit of the copper rings over my DIY method is that they aren’t affected by the weather, and they last year on year so one box is working wonders for me now and I can reuse as needed. Happy bunny.
So how have they faired? Brilliantly… I had to replace all my sunflowers and I can now happily say ALL OF THEM are thriving and some have started flowering.
If you want to try these out for yourself, they are from a company called Slug Rings: https://www.slugrings.co.uk/
But… if you check out this week’s video, they have donated a set for us to giveaway. 😀