kid friendly bug control

My six year old daughter has a garden box all her own. It is a brick box along one side of our porch, up above the ground by about 2.5 feet, with strands of twine reaching up to the roof... she has morning glories, moon flowers, and oriental sugar peas (with a few marigolds thrown in). The leaves, espicially the sugar peas, are being eaten by something I can't find.
I need a way to treat this problem that is kid friendly, since it is cared for by a 6 year old (and my 1 year old son "helps"). Since they are in daily contact with the plants, etc... I am worried about using a poison powder....
Anyone have any ideas to try?
BearDrummer snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com
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you don't see any insects? i'd suspect slugs before bugs, considering the plants. see any slime trails?

a shallow dish of beer in the box. it helps if you can place the rim of the dish level with the soil, but it's not really necessary. put it in the box in the evening, empty the dead drunk slugs in the morning. easy & non-toxic, although somewhat disgusting :) lee
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I don't see any slime trails, and the slugs would have had to climb up 2 feet of brick to get to them... but I will try the beer... guess if I find slugs in the beer, then it was trailless slugs.... thanks for the idea...
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Bear Drummer Wrote:

Hi Bear Drummer,
I suspect since there are holes in the leaves and you don't see th culprit that it's slugs. http://www.lathyrus.com/pests.htm
Lots of folks like diatomaceous earth, the edible type, but be sure yo or the kids don't breathe it in if you use it as the dust can harm th lungs. I like beer, any type will do including what's left in a glass Stale beer is fine. Put about an inch or two in a shallow containe and they crawl in and die over night. Empty before the little on thinks it's something to drink. Grapefruit or orange rinds place upside down will collect them overnight and throw in the trash. Crushed eggshells on top of the soil also are helpful to kill them Here's some other non toxic ideas.
http://www.ghorganics.com/page13.html
New
-- Newt
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I am confused... do the slugs just hide under the rinds, or does it poison them in some way... this might be better than beer, since I don't keep any around the house...
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Bear Drummer Wrote:

Sorry I didn't explain that better, but I thought the site I gave yo did. They hide under rocks, wood, the rinds, etc during the heat o the day. It's up to you to dispose of them in the trash. They'r slimy, so shake them into a bag or something to dispose of. Yuk! Th beer they drink and drown in. Double yuk!! I don't have beer in m house either but purchase the cheapest bottled stuff for this. :-)
New
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There is an organic product called Pyola that I've seen in my Gardens Alive catalog...it's Canola oil and some other natural stuff mixed together in a spray. It coats the plants and smothers any insects and their eggs...you might check it out..I think they have a website www.gardensalive.com. I would think it's kid friendly since it's all natural.
Angie in the Boonies of East Texas

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Another possibility -- I've actually seen sparrows eating the succulent young leaves of my pea plants, while I stood only a couple of feet away.
And, it's really a good idea to wait till you know who the varmits are before you treat, even with an organic product.
A word about using cooking type vegetable oils, such as canola .... they are more viscous (thicker or glopier, for lack of a better word) than the horticulture oils and "burn" some plants, so be sure to check the label to make sure your particular plant is not susceptible to the phyto (sunlight based) burn than can result.
Please let us know who the culprit is when you find out. I'm very curious :)
Suzy O

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Well, the beer didn't turn up any slugs, but the problem seems to have died down... My daughter has been finding LOTS of slugs in the back yard, though... she thinks they are cool....
She knows that Daddy is mean to slugs if he finds them near the various garden areas, though...
On a side note, she got to see her first flower in her garden today - one of the oriental peas flowered - and is already producing a pod... she is so excited I had to show her a "full grown pea pod" to keep her from picking and eating it right then... but I am going to post this in another post.....
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BearDrummer Wrote:

Bear Drummer,
Thanks for letting us know. If the beer didn't turn up any slugs, the it probably isn't a slug problem. Glad to read that your daughter i learning to enjoy the garden. It's such a wondrous world to them.
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