You cannot avoid pests in your garden. It’s simply part of gardening. One of the most frustrating pests to deal with is slugs. If you grow vegetables, you’ll know they’re prone to attack. But let’s focus on spinach and whether slugs eat spinach or not?
Yes, slugs do eat spinach along with most other leafy greens you might be growing in your veg patch.
Spinach is attractive to a variety of pests other than slugs such as caterpillars and snails. If your spinach has small holes in the leaves then this will be due to small insects and not slugs.
However, bigger ones would suggest you have either a slug and snail problem to deal with. The holes will also often have an irregular shape.
The other way to confirm whether it is a slug infestation is to see if you can see slugs – obvious, right? Slugs are far from shy. Go out into the garden early in the morning and if you have a slug problem on your spinach then they’ll make themselves known.
What Vegetables Do Slugs Not Eat?
While slugs consume quite a few plants, there are some which they do not eat, thankfully. As a gardener, it is important to know which vegetables are more susceptible to slug damage so you can take preventative measures.
Here are some vegetables that slugs are not known to eat that often:
- Peas (slugs will still attach on young seedlings)
- Cucumbers (younger plants will still need protection)
If you’re having particular difficulty in growing vegetables in the garden because of slugs then give the veggies from the list of 10 above a go and see how you get on.
Anything with coarse leaves, sharp edges, a bitter taste or an onion odour tends to work well if you fear slugs munching your veggies up.
It can be disheartening spending time and effort sowing seeds only to find them getting destroyed before you get remotely close to harvesting them. The 10 vegetables above might bring back your enthusiasm for gardening.
What Vegetables Are Vulnerable to Slug Attacks?
Unfortunately, many vegetables are susceptible to slug attacks. Slugs like to eat vegetables that are leafy, such as lettuce and chard. Slugs will also attack seedlings and younger plants before they have had time to establish.
Slugs also love to eat all types of cabbage from whole cabbage heads such as savoy to cabbage leaves such as kale. Slugs also eat courgette plants and bean plants. They’ll also go after Brussels, beetroot tops and young cucumber plants.
As you can probably tell, slugs don’t discriminate when it comes to what they like to eat in the veg patch. They’ll munch their way through pretty much everything.
How to Protect Spinach from Slugs
If you’re set on growing spinach at home then you’ll have to work on protecting the spinach from slugs. Spinach will need protecting throughout the growing cycle and not just as they germinate into seedlings (which is the case for some other garden produce).
Below are a few ways you can protect spinach from slugs effectively:
Frogs and birds are two of the easiest slug predators you can attract to the garden. To encourage frogs, you need to ensure you have some form of water in the garden. Birds are also easy to attract by simply providing bird seeds in a feeder.
Surround Plants with Copper
If you have planted the spinach in a pot or a raised bed then ensure the perimeter is covered in copper tape or wire. Slugs have been known to avoid crossing copper so it can work as a great barrier between the attacking slugs and your vulnerable spinach.
Interplant with Repellents
Slugs hate the smell given off by onions and garlic. Interplant these between your spinach plants to repel them to other parts of your garden. There are a number of flowers you can also interplant with spinach which slugs hate (7 options here).
Add Coffee Ground to the Soil
Not only do coffee grounds work to deter some slugs, but it also breaks down to add goodness to your soil helping your spinach to grow stronger and healthier.
Use Slug Traps
Push a couple of slug traps into the ground around where you have planted your spinach. Slugs will be attracted to the beer you put in the trap, will leave the spinach alone and will drop into the trap. Just make sure you empty them regularly and keep them topped up with beer.
When growing vegetables at home, one of the major benefits is being able to control what gets sprayed on your product. Avoid using chemicals on your spinach to ensure it remains 100% organic and safe to eat.
Avoid Killing Them
You might be at the end of your tether but hacking a slug into pieces with your shovel will only get rid of one slug. It won’t deter others. It won’t deal with the problem. Instead, try the longer-term methods outlined above for protecting your spinach.
These are a few of the options you have when it comes to deterring slugs from your spinach plants. Unfortunately, some will work and some will not. It’s a case of trial-and-error to determine what works at getting rid of the particular slug infestation you’re dealing with.
Unfortunately, one of the vegetables that are susceptible to slug attacks is spinach. Some other vegetables that slugs are attracted to include leafy greens like lettuce, cabbage, courgettes, and young celery plants.
On the other hand, there are some vegetables that slugs do not feed on, including artichoke, asparagus, onions, chives, leeks, and radicchio. You can always grow these vegetables among vulnerable ones to protect them from slug attacks.
Spinach can still be grown if you have a slug problem but you will need to take preventative action as soon as you get the seeds or plants in the ground. Predators can help, repellent plants can be interplanted and copper can be used as a barrier.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden