Spring Peepers!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I just stepped outside to get wood for the fire. I hear Spring Peepers! In January!
Spring is here-I spent the afternoon (it was sunny and in the 60's) outside, in jeans and a tee-shirt, and lots of my perennials are sprouting. I have a sunburn!!!!!!!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Oh and check out my new name! Much better than the old mlmlakestevens, don't you think?

Spokane, WA(Zone 6a)

I love your new name and bet you live up to it (using a different spelling.)

SeaTac, WA(Zone 8a)

I have things sprouting too!! Last year my crocus didn't flower until late February/March, this year one has already come!!

Love the new name too!

Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I have been ogling that crocus in the catalogs, I like the purple "flames" coming up the sides.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

My crocuses are just beginning to peep through the ground, so you must be a few days ahead of me over there across the water. I need to so something about the slugs that are out marauding, eating any green sprout in sight.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

I have heard coffee grounds help deterring the slugs. Have you tried that?

Spokane, WA(Zone 6a)

I still have tons of snow and ice, so no brave crocuses yet. But coffee grounds do seem to deter slugs here. Since spreading coffee grounds in the spring , I notice the slug slime trails have disappeared on the concrete steps and decks.
But winter allows the best use of coffee grounds. I have lots of wood deckings around my buildings and the winters make them very slick and dangerous for man and beast. The best solution I have discovered... spreading used coffee grounds on the slippery wood. They don't damage the wood and hold fast onto any ice increasing traction. Plus, when used on my sloping icy paths, they prevent falling and do not hurt the surrounding plants like deicer does. Coffee grounds do not irritate dog/cats' paws and are not easily tracked into the house. Hope this idea may help others too.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

I spent a week in Seattle and Bellingham, and heard the peepers in Bellingham. Signs of spring were everywhere, pink blossoms, all sorts of spring plants peeking through the soil. Thought it was unusual. Quite a few days in the 60's as well.
enjoy your honorary zone 9 weather!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

rj-it is unusual. We had cold spells into the teens in both Nov and Dec, but barely frosty since then. Hope it does not cause problems if we have a late hard freeze. Yesterday I took a walk-in a tee shirt!
yadavgard and OniOni- I think I will stop putting my coffee grounds in the recycling bin.

SeaTac, WA(Zone 8a)

Here are some photos of my spring peepers now!

Looking at my records, last year at my house there was a heavy snow about this time, and my crocus are flowering 2 weeks earlier! The weird one is my bluebells started to show.. on April 2nd, so they are WAY early this year.. along with some leafing out of my hardy fuschias.. One of my camellias is also in bloom 2 months earlier than last year!

I have slugs, it seems a population the same size as the human race exists in just my gardens alone.. and I will say I sprinkle coffee grounds everywhere which does seem to help, but honestly, I have pretty much given up trying to control them. It seems if I keep a pile of grass weeds (about 4 sq ft pile), they like to go to decomposing things, I don't know if that makes it worse or better, but they are there more than anywhere else, and I keep it at the back corner by plants that they have no interest in.. I also have gotten used to having tons of marigolds throughout the land, so I can just snip them with scissors if I feel the need to go on a rampage...

Some plants I just can't grow with the slugs, seems Pacific Northwest rain is very attractive environment for those guys!

Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos Thumbnail by LakeLivingRos
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Oooh you have more flowers than me. I like the blue one, I am a sucker for blue flowers.
Slugs- I had the most the first few years of my garden. I decided not to poison them anymore, as I worried that I was poisoning other things too, like a toad that might eat a sick slug. Two years ago I believe I poisoned a flock of birds that ate the Sluggo pellets after I sprinkled them around. That is when I stopped. Now there are fewer slugs. I just gave up on certain plants that are too much "slugbait", tho I found a few that, once established grow fast enough to get beyond the slugs. If I plant more helianthus I might do a bit of very localized slugbaiting as they first sprout, just for the first year. Maybe we should start a new slug thread-'tis the season...

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Slugs ate every speck of Delphinium SEEDLINGS as soon as I started hardening them off. Even on my porch!

But once a seedling was more than a foot or two tall, they left it alone. (??)

If you dilute some household ammonia and keep it in a squirt bottle set on "jet", you can shoot them from a distance without getting slimed.

1 part ammonia to 9 parts water, or maybe 5 parts of water.

"Household ammonia ranges in concentration by weight from 5 to 10% ammonia."

So diluting it 10:1 or 6;1 gives around 1% to 20% ammonia in your spray bottle. It will kill slugs and eggs, but you should rinse sensitive plants' leaves afterwards, especially if you use the stronger 2%.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Very interesting about the ammonia. Diluted enough, it would just be fertilizer in the soil. But if too concentrated, it would be rather like dogpee and might cause "fertilizer burn" on both leaves and roots. Have you had any problems like that? Rinsing off the leaves would also dilute it in the soil.
I have found the same for several plants like your delphiniums-a bit of very early slug patrol as things are emerging, then I don't have to worry once they get a bit bigger.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I agree about "may burn sensitive leaves" and "best to rinse it off". But I haven't gone to that.

My worst slug years were a few years ago. Now, beer saucers and bait around my seedlings has been enough. Though I do stomp on them or hack them in half with a spade.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

I have been experimenting with a molasses water and yeast mixture instead of beer, since I don't drink beer and rarely have any in the house. So far, an animal of some kind knocked over 3 of my traps, but the fourth managed to catch some slugs. I'm going to try again with a brick on top of each container.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8a)

Beer saucers are certainly effective. I use them around the hostas especially. Coffee grounds are just easier to spread around the garden. Plus such a lot of it is readily available at cafes and you dont have to worry about the rain diluting the beer :)

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

I cut the bottoms off soda bottles and use those as beer saucers. If you push them down into the soil, so the rims are only slightly above soil level, they don't blow over and might be herder for animals to tip.

I read this recipe for yeast beer:

slug-beer: by mittsy http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1260123/
2 cups warm water,
1 pkg. dry yeast,
1 teaspoon sugar,
1 teaspoon salt

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

If you try molasses, would like to hear what you think. Theoretically it helps plants, but found it does attract some unwanted mites, at least here where it's pretty warm.
Does anyone have advice on giant tree Lilly? I brought a couple marble sized bulbs back from my cousins garden in Lynden (by Bellingham). They are growing, but yet to plant them in the garden and we are already at 80F daily average temp. The photo is from last July.

Thumbnail by rjuddharrison
Bellevue, WA(Zone 8a)

I don't drink beer either, but I do buy it for the slugs! whatever is cheapest...not the best for them

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Wow, that giant tree lily is gorgeous. How is it doing? I'd never heard of such a thing; I'm going to have to look it up.

Sugar and yeast would work for me, since I can't stand the smell of beer, but I just can't kill them. Not even slugs. I use a lot of copper roof ____ing, the word may come back to me, and large pots. I think I'm some kind of gardening anomaly.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)


There are many different thicknesses of copper for sale.

>> I don't drink beer either, but I do buy it for the slugs! whatever is cheapest...not the best for them

Intoart, "cheap" is the best kind of beer for slugs. let's see if I can find a link to that "scientific study".

I don't know whether I ever found the original link, but this article refers to it:
"In 1987, Colorado State University Entomology Professor Whitney Cranshaw had his students conduct a test for the beverage most favored by local slugs:"

They liked the cheapest stuff best: "Kingsbury Malt Beverage". Something so cheap that the FDA won't even let them call it "beer".

One thing: that article lists DOZENS of ways to discourage slugs. But you know: if they list too many different ways, none of them is a REALLY good way, or they would only list the one.

I think slug bait is very effective, if you are willing to use the somewhat toxic "metaldehyde" bait and scatter it thinly where pets can't just gobble up a mouth-full.

But some people won't even use the less effective, much less toxic, iron phosphate bait.

slug thread:

Hostas and slugs:

an older slug thread :

Springfield, OR(Zone 8a)

Flashing it is. It's much thicker and more handle able than the copper sticky tape. I cut the 8 inch width down the middle, since 3-4 inches is all that's neede to dissuade a slug, and then use construction adhesive on the ugly plastic pots, or nails on the wood, or whatever. I know it works, because I have virtually no slug damage.

I also bought ten rolls of pennies -they are still coated in copper - to make cardboard-copper collars for any prized perrenials or such. I keep thinking of Cleopatra.

Thank you for those links; I'll be following them. Up here the more we know about these creatures the better.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

If there really was any one method that prevented slug damage, there would not be long threads discussing dozens of methods.

I think the "bait" solution is effective, but organic and "green" gardeners won't like the chemicals.

I've thought about setting up trap crops like baby Delphiniums or lots of Bok Choy or lettuce, then spraying that trap crop with ammonia when the slugs are on parade. But then I might not want eat the ammonia-damaged greens. If I found just the right strength of ammonia to kill slugs but not damage young leaves much ...

You can tell I grew up with a poster that said "better living through Chemistry".

But the photo was of several hippies sitting on the front steps, smiling at the sunset.

Houston, TX(Zone 9a)

Tree Lilys are still growing, I need to put them in the ground. It's been raining quite a bit, think there is going to be all kinds of pests soon, starting with spider mites. Sigh

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

AAAgh I had paid real $$$ for 3 of those new Delphiniums from New Zealand. I forgot to bait for slugs they are gone.
rjuddh sorry I can't help with the tree lily, i have trouble with lilies here, I think maybe they want more water or something. I am trying a few more this year, they did sprout at least. I lived in Dallas for several years, went to Houston only once. It was hot and humid-such an opposite climate to here. Have you figured out about the lilies?

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

A fellow gardener told me she sprinkles cinnamon around small sprouts to dissuade the slugs from devouring them. I have not tried it yet myself. This year I have used beer traps with minimal results. I think the most effective method has been laying out cardboard for them to hide under , then going out in the morning, picking them off the underside and plunking them in soapy water. Disgusting, I know, but there are less of them chowing on my seedlings.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

If you've already corralled a bunch of slugs in one place, you don't need to hand-drown them one at a time.

A spray bottle with diluted ammonia will almost dissolve slugs and their egg masses. When you're done, spray a little water to dilute the ammonia down to high-N fertilizer.

Try diluting the ammonia in the range of 1:5 or 1:10.

"Household ammonia ranges in concentration by weight from 5 to 10% ammonia."
5-10% divided by 5-10 = 1-2% by weight, effective on slugs & their eggs

Slugs will cannibalize dead relatives. That might work better with bait than ammonia, if you want the cannibals to be poisoned too.

I don't know if slugs are smart enough to see a bunch of dead relatives and avoid a spot. But one author claimed that they knew enough to avoid a spot where they had recently become sick and almost died - that the effect of bait can be remembered by slugs for a week or two even after the bait washes away. I don't know about that.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

The Spring Peepers were having a chorus two evenings ago, on a warmish dry evening. Signs of Spring!
I see it is just a few days later than last year.

Vashon, WA(Zone 8b)

It was a gorgeous day today, perfect for the first grade parade at my school.
Thanks for the news about the spring peepers. I'll listen for them when i go for an evening walk this week.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

A parade of First Graders is the best sort of parade!

Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

Regarding slugs: 10 to 1 ratio of water to ammonia works well & will not burn most plants unless they're very young (seedlings, etc.). This works with vinegar, too. Basically either solution changes their pH. It is probably the most efficient way to deal with hordes of baby or tiny slugs, which emerge as the weather warms. After spraying, you can hose the plants off with a gentle spray. No negative effects on wildlife, (except the slugs), or soil. This was the method I used on vegetable starts & all members of the aster family. I suppose one's outlook is somewhat determined by location: my property was next to raw land that I had dubbed the slug breeding capital of the PNW. Saucers of beer? No way -- property would have required a moat.
For concerns about animals, the liquid form such as Deadline, dries, is thin & not attractive as a food source. It has to be reapplied, but typically if one deals with slug offspring as early as possible, it puts a dent in problems further into the season. My preference was to dig a divot, place slug(s) there, chop with trowel, replace divot material. Although time-consuming, I found it to be effective & tidy. They decompose quickly. Slugs are carnivores; if you want to attract other slugs, leave a sliced one in the open so the others can indulge their ravenous appetites.
Or, buy some ducks...

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