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How and Why Slughelp Was Made

The origins

famers garden
A vegetable garden similar to my grandma’s.

My name is Alex, and I grew up on a small family farm with cows, pigs, chickens, and sheep.

Also, of course, cats, a dog, and two large vegetable gardens. My mother’s and my grandmother’s.

Already when I was very young, my brother and I each got a small spot in my mom‘s garden assigned to us, on which we could grow, for example, herbs, a few potatoes, and strawberries.

strawberrries
I love strawberries, and slugs love them, too.

At that time, I believe the seeds were sown, which now bear fruit in this website because this page is created out of love and respect for nature.

The great wish for a life in harmony with nature is deeply rooted in me, and this page is an expression of this aspiration.

A snail plague can only occur when the delicate balances in nature are disturbed.

Therefore, it is my concern to show ways that lead back to the harmony of the original horticulture which was created over thousands of years in the gardens of humanity.

Pellets are not the way

For many reasons, I believe poisoned baits are not the solution to a slug or snail problem.

Do you know someone who once scattered slug pellets and never needed them again?

My experiences are exactly the opposite. Once used, one needs them over and over again.

It’s like a painkiller that makes the garden addicted because poison fights the symptoms but not the causes.

The first time I became aware of this was in the spring of 2015.

Experience at the Happy Farm

Happy Farm Logo
Happy Farm – Plum Village

In 2015 I was working in France in an organic garden, with the beautiful name ‘Happy Farm.’

Unfortunately, we were not happy at that time because our young plants were threatened by hordes of brown slugs: The so-called Spanish slug.

And my bosses at that time did not know what to do to save the young plants.

Thus, we were spreading slug pellets over large areas in the garden. But that too did not seem to help.

On the contrary, we found more and more slugs during our nightly “slugwatch” sessions.

When we went out at the beginning of the night, we sometimes collected more than a thousand slugs.

It seemed the slugs from all over the area were lured into our garden.

For me, this ended in a traumatic experience.

One day I was sitting in the garden, and I felt ill in the stomach.

Together with my boss, we had watched a slug as it was heading towards one of the blue slug pellets.

In this situation he commented addressing the slug: “Oh no, do not do that!” And we both laughed out loud.

At that time I realized that we had crossed a line.

Buddha+statue_Plum+Village+2015+Happy+Farm_by+Paul+Davis
There is no way to harvest – harvest is the way!

We were not just in any ordinary garden. No, we were in a monastery garden of the well-known Buddhist monastery “Plum Village.”

And what we did was directly contradicting the Buddhist principle of nonviolence.

Although we were not monks, our behavior was in contradiction with the general reverence for life which we tried to practice.

I think that’s why I felt sick and also because I remembered that as a teenager I had asked myself often the question: How would I have behaved at the time of Fascism in Germany?

Would I have joined the resistance, would I have looked away as so many did or would I have even participated in the mass murder?

It became clear to me that day that I was witnessing and participating in mass murder. The mass murder of extremely peaceful beings.

But that was not all. I even laughed about it. That was the moment when I realized how easy it is to become dull.

Because the slugs that eat the molluscicide iron phosphate, do not die immediately. No, they die very slowly after they have eaten the poison.

The iron closes their digestive tract, and they cannot swallow anymore. Thus, they slowly starve which takes several days.

At that time I realized that this form of death is torture and I knew that I could no longer watch this happening. I could no longer participate, and I felt the urge to resist.

Hence, I tried to find alternatives and to convince the other (un)happy farmers to try something else.

But unfortunately, I did not act very skillfully and therefore ran into walls.

I was not alone with my criticism, but especially my bosses did not want to know about it.

Ultimately, I left the Happy Farm.

But during this time the plan was born to write slug control guidelines for all gardeners and farmers for whom poison is not a solution.

Alternative methods of effective slug control

slug fence
A slug fence can protect the plants peacefully.

As a result of what happened in Plum Village, I was looking for valid alternatives, and I found many.

This website is the result of this search. Here anybody willing to go another way can find poison-free means to deal with the slugs in the garden.

For example, it is possible to effectively exclude snails and slugs from the beds through a slug fence or to use copper against slugs.

It is also possible to slowly restore the equilibrium between snails, slugs, and their natural predators, as it usually occurs everywhere in nature.

Both approaches can be combined to reestablish the natural harmony of the garden in a nonviolent and peaceful way.

Nowadays also on the Happy Farm slug pellets are not used anymore, and at the same time the slug population dropped and the problem dissolved.

There, too, a rethinking has slowly taken place, because the use of poison is too much in dissent with the Buddhist values of Plum Village.

Also, it became clear that slug pellets are not a successful long-term solution. It is just a fight against symptoms.

The real causes of the plague were not resolved but even more intensified.

I often hear that the Spanish slug would have no native enemies since it would have immigrated from Spain.

But this is just one of many myths and fables around the topic “slugs in the garden.”

The Spanish slug is a Central European as recent genetic research has shown.

And slugs certainly have many enemies. Otherwise, we could not set our foot out of the door without stepping on one of them.

So do not lose hope. It is possible to settle their enemies and restore the natural balance.

Happy Farmers Change the World Thich Nhat Hanh CalligraphyOn the Happy Farm, they have an advantage, because there still live a lot of fireflies. And fireflies are one of the worst enemies of slugs and snails.

But unfortunately, they are susceptible to light smog and insecticides. That is why in most places fireflies are already extinct. And once extinct it is complicated to reintroduce them to the garden.

(It helps to use only warm-white LEDs from 1000 to 3000 Kelvin. Because it is the cold blue light – above 3000 Kelvin – which affects the insects much more. Most of them can not even see the warm red light.)

Fortunately, many other insects like to eat slugs like ground beetles, flies or harvestmen.

The extinction of insects in many places and the rise of slugs and snails seem to be secretly connected.

That is why one of the best measures against slugs is the resettlement and protection of insects.

More information here: How to promote biodiversity in your garden.

Support Slughelp

All information on this website is for free.

But the project is financed via affiliate links to Amazon and eBay.

This site must somehow finance itself, and this is a simple way to do so.

I sincerely apologize to everyone who does not like that.

Please keep in mind:

This site was launched with a lot of passion, care and time.

Hopefully, it will help many gardeners in a way that is successful and sustainable.

May your time in the garden be happy and your harvest joyful and easy!

Alex

 

How and Why Slughelp Was Made
5 (100%) 1 vote - Glad you are here.

2 thoughts to “How and Why Slughelp Was Made”

  1. Excellent site … I used slug pellets once in my UK garden on advice of neighbours and was so horrified at the results I have never used anything since. Having had a huge veg garden in BC. Canada …pest free due to the freezing cold winters I was startled to return to the UK and realise that a major ‘battle was going on. I decided not to have a veg garden and only grow herbs…. my philosophy is if you wanna chomp that Rudbekia get on with it you have a right to life too … thanks 4 your website it has cheered my heart ❤

  2. Good Gardeners International install the HH-2 Horticultural System at Plum Village.

    At about the same tine you were in Plum Village we installed our HH-2 system.
    I taught a three day course there on how to operate the system but it comes with an instruction manual as well.
    They loved it and I wrote to them after the first year. They had made loads of HH-4 compost with the equipment, that generates the right fungi and bacteria, for good pest control. The problem was they weren’t putting the stuff on their vegetable gardens….they were just piling it up on the edge of the field!

    Note: We work in Africa too. This type of peat and disease control stops many other types of pests and diseases than you might think. The UK Universities are on board with it too. HH-2 producing HH-4 is a ancient Chinese discovery and is now being accepted as a global organic solution in gardening/farming.

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