Protecting Cabbages From Slugs – How To Keep Slugs Off Cabbage

Image by Bob Larrick

By Brandi Brown

What do slugs eat besides cabbage leaves? This question perplexes many a gardener who is getting rid of garden slugs that are nibbling produce as it ripens. Protecting cabbages from slugs requires choosing the right ground cover and keeping the garden area clean. Let’s look at getting rid of garden slugs from your cabbage patch.

Identifying Slugs

Slugs and caterpillars both eat cabbages, and the key to protecting cabbages is determining which pest is destroying your crop. Slugs eat leaves using a raspy tongue with tough spots that rub against the leaves. This rasp makes the hole in your cabbage leaves wide next to the slug, and the hole narrows as it moves away from the slugs.

Choosing the Best Ground Cover for Protecting Cabbages

Slugs do not like to crawl across anything too dry, which is one way you can keep slugs off cabbage. Very dry materials, such as gravel, sand or cinders, will work at getting rid of garden slugs. Slugs produce a slimy mucus substance as they move, and producing enough mucus to move slugs across these very dry surfaces is too much for the slugs to handle. You can keep slugs off cabbage by making it more difficult for the slugs to reach the cabbage.

When you are selecting ground cover, you also should consider where slugs can hide. Slugs love to hide underneath organic materials that will allow them to get shade and have a cool area to lay their eggs. Large mulches, such as the typical redwood mulch, make excellent hiding spots for slugs. When dealing with this garden pest, consider whether replacing your large-piece mulch with a smaller grain, such as pine mulch, would help. Thinning the mulch to no more than three inches also can help keep slugs off cabbage.

Keeping the Garden Area Clean


Though mulch is an excellent place for slugs to hide, other items provide great cover, too. Newspapers and other trash accumulating in your yard can be a cover for slugs looking to munch your veggies. Weeding your garden regularly also can keep slugs off cabbage because the slugs will not be able to hide under the leaves or long stalks of the weeds.

Using these two non-chemical methods you can start protecting cabbages in your garden today. There are chemical sprays and slug traps on the market as well if you wish to go that route. In the end with slugs, the question “what do slugs eat” is less important than “where do slugs hide” in ridding them from your garden.

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