Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ashes as slug repellent/insecticide...does it work?

Bottom line: this old wive's tale doesn't work so don't bother. Read on to find out how I came to that conclusion.

It is common garden lore that placing wood ashes around the peimiter of plants will deter slugs as the ash will dehydrate and kill them.

So, for my first experiment to find out what works for my War on Slugs, I am attempting to find out what exactly happens when slugs enconter ash.

After rolling two slugs around in ash, I expected that--as the myth goes--they would have begun drying out and died, but they did not. Wood ashes do not kill slugs!

So for the next part of my experiment, I wanted to find out if ash at least repels slugs away from leaves. Notice the yummy bean leaves paced on the opposite side of a line of ash.

The slugs didn't go for the bean leaves. So I thought perhaps a delectable lettuce seedling might be more enticing, and I was right!
 Slugs will cross ashes to get to food.

I had envionsioned myself gathering all the wood ashes this year to use against slugs. But now I'm glad I didn't waste the time!

For a list of all of my slug control experiments, please see this page. 


Anonymous said...

Love your new blog do, Amy Dear. Darn those stupid slugs. Well it's probably a good think wood ash doesn't do the job because it will alter the soil's pH. This I learned in the MG classes. Have you looked into diatomaceous earth yet or maybe I missed the post?

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

That's the experiment I'm currently working on. :)

Anonymous said...

It works, but again not when the attractor gets too high.

The ash does kill them eventually, but it probably takes quite some time to dehydrate them. And slugs go under ground where the ash could wipe off.

If you had a part of the garden that you devoted to slugs, then ash could be useful as a barrier around that area to contain them.