How to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails with Coffee in Two Days Without Spending A Penny

Have you recently noticed half-eaten leaves in your favorite cabbage and lettuce patches? Are you dreading chemical sprays and pesticides because that is what you promised to keep away from when you started farming? We know exactly how you feel. Here are some easy peasy ways and hacks of how to get rid of slugs and snails with coffee.

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What are Slugs and Snails?

In order to understand what we need to eliminate in the first place, let us have a look at what we are dealing with.

How to Get Rid of Slugs and Snails with Coffee

via Flickr.com

Slugs and snails are gastropods that belong to the taxonomical phylum of Mollusca. They are usually characterized by a shell on their bodies like the snail or a reduced or internal shell like the slugs. Snails and slugs can colonize any place that is damp and has lot of food for them.

Your garden is your labor of love. You don’t want to harm any creature but if it is harming your food, you might as well eliminate them as soon as possible. Prevention, after all, is better than cure. If you have noticed half-eaten leaves and a slimy track in your garden patches, you better get your act together, we tell you.

Snail eating plant

Does manual weeding work?

The simplest way is to weed them out physically. You could begin by wearing a headlamp and catching them red-handed in the night. Simply pull them up on a stick and throw them in a bucket of warm soapy water.

Can coffee deter slugs and snails?

Most of the organic farmers in our area use a lot of tactics against these menacing gastropods. It is true that some work while others do not. Have you heard of the coffee hack to keep the menacing fellows away?

Really, even we were shocked! Can coffee help eliminate or at least repel the slugs and snails?

​So we decided to try it out for ourselves:

Things we needed

  • Discarded ground coffee from the espresso machine
  • A pair of gardening gloves
  • A spraying bottle
  • Some coffee concentrate

Here is what we did:

Step one

We used the discarded ground coffee to sprinkle it around the area of the garden that we suspected was infested with snails and slugs. We formed a kind of a protective barrier against the slugs and laid it down in rings.

We also distributed the dried coffee ground on some of the beds randomly and even scattered it directly over our lettuce shrubs. 

Step two

We used the discarded ground coffee to sprinkle it around the area of the garden that we suspected was infested with snails and slugs. We formed a kind of a protective barrier against the slugs and laid it down in rings.

We also distributed the dried coffee ground on some of the beds randomly and even scattered it directly over our lettuce shrubs. 

Observation and inference

We noticed that there was a significant reduction in the population of snails and slugs in the garden in the next couple of days. Those menacing creatures do hate coffee like the plague! Even the smell puts them off. The resistance that they have for caffeine worked well for the plants and other insects in the soil like the earthworms.

Caffeine in large doses is believed to be toxic to the slugs and snails. When it is administered in small doses, it can reduce their speed. A lot of horticulturists believe that the mere smell of coffee can be a deterrent to the slugs and snails. The introduction of caffeine in their system also stimulates the mucus production in their body making them slower. Besides, coffee does not alter the pH of the soil nor has any side effects on the plants. 

The other side of the arguments:

A lot of people still do not believe caffeine can deter slugs from reaching for their juicy leaves. But recent experiments and research prove that slugs and snails do show signs of being repelled from coffee that is sprayed or sprinkled directly.

What are the other ways to control slugs and snails?

There are also other various homemade traps and baits to deter slugs. You could set a beer trap for them. The fermented sweetness of the beer attracts the slugs and the snails that unsuspectingly fall down in the container that is buried in the soil with only its rim outside and meet their end.

Here are some more hacks to make sure the slugs and snail population in your garden diminishes

  • Keep the garden clear of any accumulated mulch. Snails and slugs are bound to come where there is dampness. If there is wet mulch in the garden, it is sure to attract these molluscs that will tend to colonize your plants.
  • Have a sufficient gap between the planters so that sunlight can filter in.  
  • Set up homemade traps like the beer trap or the yeast honey trap. The molluscs will get attracted to the sweetness in the fermented liquids and jump to their own nemesis.
slug and snail beer trap

via Flickr.com

  • You could even scatter cornflour. Cornflour, when ingested by them, grows in size in their intestines consequently killing them.
  • Scatter Epsom salt so that the slugs die of dehydration. The common table salt is also a hydrating agent but it is advised against using it because it can alter the chemical composition in the soil thereby affecting its pH balance.
  • Insulate the garden ridges and pot planters with copper film or tapes that are available and see the slugs disappear. Copper is believed to give out low-intensity shock to their soft body and they either stay away from the barrier or die while crossing.
  • Water the plants earlier in the day so that it dries up soon. The lesser the dampness, the lesser uninvited guests you will have.
  • Physically pick out the slugs and snails on a regular basis using a headlamp after dark. The molluscs are extremely active in the night and it is the best time for you to weed them out from their hideout. A headlight gives you a convenient source of light keeping both yours hands free for catching hold of them. Snails and slugs reproduce and colonize in no time. Do not procrastinate manually weeding them out often if you are looking to have your garden mollusc-free this season.
  • Snails and slugs are most active after rains. Make sure to cover the area where you have sprayed coffee or sprinkled ground coffee so that it does not get concentrated with the rainwater or worse runs away.

Sluggo is odor-free and long-lasting even after rains. All you have to do is sprinkle Sluggo on the soil and wait for the slugs to die right in front of your eyes!

Conclusion

What do you think of the coffee hack? Do you think it will work for you as well as it did for us? If you ever have to try it, don’t forget to let us know. We’d be waiting! Ciao for now and Happy Gardening!!

Hoang Quang

Hello! I’m Quang Hoang and Grow Gardener is my little nook for all the adventures, and occasional misadventures, on my journey in gardening! As I continue to awaken life in little seeds and struggle to keep flora alive, I’ll be here sharing with all of you what I’ve learned! Join me in my little garden, and let’s grow together.

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