Fennel is generally considered an easy herb to grow, but do you need to look out for any pests? Take slugs for example, will they have a munch on your fennel? So slugs even eat fennel?
Will Slugs Eat Fennel?
If you have all the telltale signs of slug damage like nibbled leaves and a slimy trail then you can bet that it is slugs eating your fennel.
I know lots of people online like to say that fennel is a slug-resistant plant, but what they usually mean is that fennel is a plant slugs tend to ignore.
Notice I said tend to because sometimes they will eat it. And when they do they will cause just as much damage to fennel as they would any other plant.
It doesn’t have any built-in resistance to slugs and can really suffer at their tiny jaws. If you have a slug problem then I have some top tips below on how to deal with them.
How to deal with slugs
When it comes to dealing with slugs you have two main ways of dealing with them which are then broken down into further subcategories. You can kill them or you can stop them from getting to your plants.
So the main idea behind all of these methods below is to stop slugs from getting at your plants rather than killing them. You stop them from getting at your veggies or flowers and instead let them eat dead and decaying matter, as they should!
The idea behind these barriers is that they stop the slugs from being able to crawl over them. Slugs apparently will not go over a 90-degree angle, you can look it up on YouTube, a few people have tested the theory and it seems to hold.
So you set this barrier up along the perimeter of your beds or raised beds and it will stop the slugs from being able to get in. That’s the idea anyway.
- Slug and snail deterrent barrier is pre-folded for easy use and assembly and prevents damage to plants
This is the same idea as above but the collars go around individual plants in your garden.
There are lots of homemade deterrents that you can apparently sprinkle around your plants which in theory should stop slugs.
Eggshells are a really common one that gets suggested all the time. Apparently, slugs don’t like crawling over the sharp edges of eggshells.
Some people say it works and some people say it doesn’t. I would say that it is worth trying though as it is not going to cause any harm.
The classic way to kill off slugs and it does work, there are however drawbacks.
Firstly the little blue pellets aren’t safe to have around if you have pets or young children who might digest them accidentally.
Next, there is the fact that they may be harmful to slugs’ natural predators like hedgehogs who eat slugs killed by pellets, therefore, ingesting the poison themselves.
And then there is the mess they leave, lots of dead slugs on the surface of your garden with nasty trails everywhere.
This is a natural and organic way to kill slugs. There are all kinds of nematodes, which are tiny little creatures that live in your soil, some of these nematodes kill slugs.
This is completely natural and is what happens in your soil all the time. By adding nematodes you are just increasing the number of the slug killing type.
One of the advantages of this method aside from the fact you don’t have to use poison is that part of the way the nematodes kill the slugs makes them burrow into the ground before dying, so no nasty dead slugs lying around!
Control slugs NATURALLY by applying Nemaslug Slug Killer, which contains natural nematodes, that are effective at controlling slugs, but unlike chemical controls, are safe for children, pets, birds and wildlife.
Torch & Bucket
The manual method, and as is often the case with the manual method, this is very effective but time-consuming. Wait until dark and go out into the garden with a torch, some gloves and a bucket and start collecting slugs.
This is best done on a damp night after heavy rain as then the slugs will be everywhere, happy hunting!
You can set up traps to capture slugs and then dispose of them how you wish. There are lots of different ways to do this but one of the more popular ones is a beer trap.
With a beer trap, you set a container, usually a plastic tub of some kind, level with the surface of the soil. You want it level with the surface so slugs can easily get into it but you want the bottom to be deep, so they can’t get out.
You then fill the bottom with some beer, which slugs adore, and leave it. The slugs will make their way into the trap and either drown or be waiting there come morning for you to get rid of them.
One downside to this apart from all the slug carcases you will be getting rid of is that the beer is so potent that it can apparently attract slugs up to 200 meters away and therefore bring even more slugs into your garden than were there before!