Sunday, September 12, 2010

Slaters...I hate Them.

L, You might want to not read this one.

We have an ongoing Slater problem, we have thousands, maybe millions or even trillions, of them.  They eat seedlings, strawberries, tomatoes, most anything that they can get to.  We see them climbing the stems of plants to get to the fruit.  Don't anyone tell me that they are good and only clean up the rubbish stuff.  That is so NOT true.  We have only been getting half strawberries because one half is full of these things.
Anyway because I have/had high ideals of being *organic* I don't like to use poisons but these bleedin' things have been multiplying and now we have...lots.
I was digging over an empty bed this morning, getting it ready for something but every time I moved the dirt there were Slaters there.  I started squishing them but they just kept coming so I thought I'd put down some cabbage leaves and weeds in a pile and the slaters would all come together under that and then I could...I did think I would put down some poison but when I saw heaps under a pile of rubbish I had a better idea.
I came inside and put the kettle on and when it was boiling I went out and poured it over the plant killers.  Instant death to dozens at a time.  So far I have poured 5 or 6 kettles of just boiled water onto them and it is working brilliantly.  I will continue doing this throughout the rest of today and during the week whenever I think to.
The wood stove is going so it's not costing anything to heat the water, its non poisonous, it's an instant death so humane.
I can't pour it around any plants that I want to keep as it would probably kill the plant but around the edges of the tank gardens, under my cabbage leaf traps, under the piles of mulch...all places that are full of seems to be an ideal solution.

I did try putting chooks in these gardens at one stage but they ate the plants so unless the bed is empty that's a no go. 

We are sacrificing a tank of strawberries by putting a couple of chooks in there as it has so many slaters and we aren't getting any fruit anyway because of them and the boiling water would kill the plants.  With just a couple of chooks we may get the slater numbers down enough for the plants to fruit once the chooks are removed.  Hopefully the chooks won't do too much damage to the plants.  I will keep an eye on them and hope for the best.


  1. Hi Barb,
    I have trouble with slaters too and it frustrates me no end that everyone tells me it can't possibly be the slaters eating my plants cos they are harmless. :( Last year all my corn fell over because something was chewing the roots and the roots were FULL of slaters - it seemed obvious to me. I did succumb and sprinkle some poison for slaters down and lo and behold, problem gone. *sigh* I very rarely use anything like this and hate to. Perhaps I should try the hot water idea. Problem it, I'm also a lazy gardener. :-)

    Love your blog. Just found the link on frugals.


  2. Heh, we just unplanted a whole garden and potted it up so we could fence it off to let the chooks in... thousands of the stupid things in there... slaters, that is, not the chooks. We'll give it a few days, herd the chooks all round the edges to get any stray ones, then unplant the other garden into this one and let the chooks in to clean up that one too.... le sigh. But after that, we can plant out seedlings in safety. :D