Dealing with slugs

The other day, I noticed this leaf damage on one of my artichoke plants. I immediately suspected slugs, and quickly confirmed this when I saw a bit of a slime trail on the underside of the leaf. Grrr!

In the past, I've used organic slug bait or handpicked them whenever I found any. And when I give talks about vegetable gardening, I mention how one option is to use beer... but I have to admit I'd never given it a try.

Well, I'm happy to report that it works! Here's what you do:

1. Start with clean, empty tuna cans or cat food cans.
2. Push them into the soil, with the lip of the can even with the surface of the soil.
3. Fill each can with cheap beer. (no point in using something good, right?)

Here's how it works:

Slugs are attracted to the yeast in beer. They slither on over to investigate, fall into the can of beer and drown. Yahoo!

I placed the beer in my artichoke bed the night before last. I didn't catch it the first night but did get it last night. I'm guessing there are more where it came from, so I'll leave the cans of beer in place for a few more nights. My husband thinks the yeast smell that attracts them won't dissipate for a while so I'm trying to get my money's worth!

I have two other veggie beds that I'm watching for signs of slug damage. One is our lettuce bed and the other is our cabbage bed. If I see any problems, you can bet I'll be moving the cans to those beds and breaking out another can of beer to fill them with!

I'm sure slugs serve some sort of useful purpose, but as a gardener, I certainly haven't discovered what that is!