Re: coffee for snails

On Fri, 18 Apr 2003 23:29:21 +0000, Zphysics1 wrote:

Not an urban legend. I've been using it for two years. I can definitely vouch for its efficacy in my garden.
Prior to using it, I had already replanted my slug food, err, beans 3 times. I had used, with success, the ferrous sulphate granules, but I was concerned about adding those nutrients in excess as I applied them repeatedly. I stumbled across some research from the Univ. of Hawaii regarding caffeine and amphibians and extrapolated that (point of entry was the skin) to slugs and ZAPPO! ... I've seen exactly two slugs since.
One in 2002. One this past growing season (2003). The slug I saw a couple weeks ago was a good 2" long ... not the usual variety I am familiar with. I didn't test his response to caffeine and I hadn't applied any since early spring so I can't begin to form an opinion as to whether he was resistant to it. I have seen no additional damage. I am willing to tolerate modest amounts of damage in order to maintain biological diversity in my garden, but I am not interested in losing weeks of of (re)planting time to slugs.
Whilst posting as NOYDB I let rec.gardens.edible know what I had found. I also want to emphasize that I have seen no earthworm die-off. In fact, my soil is positively rife with the little squirmy things ... I can barely scoop up a handful without finding 2-3 of 'em. I think the earthworms can wait out the caffeine by staying below ground for a few days until the coast clears and then they show their well-known affinity for the spent coffee grounds. From my perspective, this is a win-win situation in that I do bad things to the slugs and good things for the earthworms.
Bill
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On Sat, 01 Nov 2003 18:59:59 -0500, "Bill"

I'll give this a try next spring.
Can you give us an idea of the rate of application? I.e., how many ounces of coffee per square foot? Or how many cups of (dry) coffee per how many square feet?
I've been using white vinegar on witch grass this fall, and it seems to be killing it. Two applications have been needed. I just put the vinegar in a small watering can, and pour it out on to the witchgrass.
Pat
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Zphysics1 wrote:

> urban

> strawberries ( even

> ground

Tales of coffee killing slugs are not entirely true, caffine is toxic to them, but they cannot asorb anywhere near the ammount needed from a few coffee grounds on the soil. Caffine is also slow acting, thus a slug exposed to it's fatal level of caffine (by a method much more effective than coffee grounds) still has several hours of life left. Even if those circles of coffee around plants could be fatal, they would still have plenty of time to eat your plants anyway. The actual research that proved caffene killed them openly abmitted the results were minimal, only affected small immature slugs/snails (adults didn't even notice it), and was using a caffine concentration that you couldn't even make from store bought coffee.
It would be amusing, rather like the junk-science idea bottles of water ward off moles and stop annimals fouling in the garden, if it wasn't for the fact coffee grounds when over applied can make soil become acidic and will actually kill the plants it's suposed to protect in some cases. I've met people who put a circle of coffee around chalk soil plants every week all year long, then wonder why the leaves go brown and it looks sick! Of course, slugs actually eat ill plants first where possible (a *real* scientific fact) which causes the coffee wielding plant-killer to douse the unfortunate plant with even more acidic mulch to combat the slugs, who are aparently "eating it so much it's entirely dying!" which only makes their coffee applications more frantic and thicker.
The advocates of coffee grounds even try to pass it off as some kind of old time Granny's remedy, which is total junk as the lab tests which said caffeine could be fatal are not consistent with most old time remedys, in fact I think it was about the 1960's. I've had 50 year olds assure me their grandmother used it to kill slugs, I doubt his victorian era English grandmother drank coffee, and she certainly didn't know about the caffine tests in the 60's, in fact she probably didn't even know what caffeine was... -- Bry ------------------------------------------------------------------------ posted via www.GardenBanter.co.uk
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I have been using wood ashes from my fireplace in lines 6" from young plants (such as cuke transplants & just sprouted beans etc). I use a trowl to place a 1" wide by 1/4" thick layer and have had virtually no slug damage. It's simple, easy, cheap and something that the garden needs. Works for me.
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I had similar result with wood ash, but my delivery system was an old coffee can that I drilled some 1/4" holes in one side, and sort of sift it around the area. I don't know what it is, but the snails and slugs really seem to hate that stuff.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Bpyboy) wrote in message

I'm sure you guys have real wood ash, but just as a general warning to all - Never use ash from those treated fireplace logs. The chemicals are not good for you and the ash won't do any good.
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On Mon, 03 Nov 2003 15:17:44 +0000, Bry wrote:

Well Bry, you never cited any sources and I did. Moreover, I am speaking from direct experience. While most conversations regarding the use of coffee grounds against slugs refer to 'spent' coffee grounds, what I have reported dealt with applying a generous amount of 'fresh' coffee grounds and I KNOW what results I get EVERY time I do this.
Take your theories and your holier than thou attitude and go outdoors. While you are there, do some practical research.
Bill
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Actually its more of a downward spiral for the snails. At first, the snails only eat the coffee grounds at social events (parties). But then they begin to need it every single day. The snails can't go 5 minutes without thinking about coffee grounds. They usually end up losing their shells because they can't pay the mortage (because they lost their jobs by stealing out of the petty cash drawer). After a while, the whole garden knows the snails coffee habit, and the only place that will hire them is the salt mines.
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