Updated: Feb 7, 2018
I recall the fun of digging the greenhouse to home the sump tank. I recall the excitement of seeing the aquaponic grow beds glistening in all their newness. Everything was clean.
The fish arrived, the plants were growing, we were learning and eating organic lettuce in abundance. Did I mention it was sparkling clean?
Who would have thought that not five months later, we would be fighting to survive the plague of ants... We're not really sure who won, but our bet was the ants. We somehow avoided full on warfare with the aphid plague... I think we were battle fatigued from the ants. Wretched little things.
When we thought we might get back on track, we took a few days off for some much needed relaxation and decided to trek up Mount Toubkal. We left our chillies to be picked upon return. Fresh chillies are wonderful and I had so many ideas to use them. Arriving at 2am, we went straight to the greenhouse to check on the fish and plants. Instead of our lush vegetation, we were greeted by decimation and destruction. We slept well that night but only because it wasn't -10C and we had hot running water inside the house. A marked and comforting change from our holidays.
This is where my blog actually begins.
Slugs. This is a many-battles war.
The Battle of the floods
We started by flooding the beds. This worked by forcing the little critters up, allowing them to be hunted and fed to the fish or chickens. It turns out that neither the tilapia nor the chickens like slugs. I don't blame them.
Pros: it works in real time.
Cons: we don't think this takes out their eggs. It's hugely time consuming to flood the beds and they always come back. The plants don't particularly enjoy being so wet.
Slug count: you can easily catch around 20+ in a go. Warning... It's addictive and a slippery slope to being a bit slug obsessed (if you're not already at that point).
Cost in time and resources: it takes quite a bit of time but that's about it. It can be therapeutic...
Battle of the beer
Setting up the beer traps was easy. Some glass jars, some cheap beer and we were good to go. A few hours in and a couple had made their way into hop heaven, leaving our lettuce and the world behind. By the end of the day several more had joined the party.
Pros: really easy to set up and it works
Cons: the greenhouse smells like a student bar, the beer quickly gets some form of white growth - around day 3.. (I really should have taken a picture but it wasn't pleasant... Next time I'll be better prepared)
Slug count : 15, it isn't fun dealing with fungus covered dead slugs.
Cost in time and resources: doesn't require much time or effort... But you do need to buy the beer.
Battle of the wall
Placing copper tape around the top of the grow beds. Apparently slugs don't like copper. To them it's like a wall.
We will build a great wall - and nobody builds walls better than us, believe us - and we'll build them very inexpensively. We will build a great, great wall on our grow bed border, and we will make the slugs pay for that wall. Mark our words.
Pros: easy to apply, looks pretty
Cons: it's not cheap! Getting the slugs to pay for it is actually harder than we first thought. As the tape was placed post infestation, it might be worth trying this as a preventative method rather than a remedial one to check for effectiveness. Sorry if this isn't helpful. As copper is toxic to fish, it needs to be kept well away from the water.
Slug count: impossible to tell since it was added after we discovered the slugs.
Cost in time and resources: The tape doesn't come cheap but it's easy to apply.
This is just the tip of the slugberg