COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

So, I have a problem. One morning, I did my usual garden walk and on examining my potato bed, found little, dirty, slugs eating my potato plants! They are eating the leaves AND the flower buds. I as far as I know,(correct me if I'm wrong) no flowers mean no potatoes. So, if anyone has any experience with this please let me know! Thank you in advance!


  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,293 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @COWLOVINGIRL yes sprinkle eggshells close to the plants and around them. It acts like diatomateous earth. It cuts up the slugs and earthworms. Early in the morning check the leaves for any bugs. You can also fill an empty tuna can with beer and bury it into the ground so the slugs will fall into the can. It makes them drunk!

  • Hassena
    Hassena Posts: 345 ✭✭✭

    We leave small cups of beer out for the slugs. I also hand pick up slugs and drop them into the beer. Or i squash the slugs to hopefully attract predators of slugs. Chickens will eat slugs, sometimes they half to be cut in half...the slugs. I've heard ducks will pick off slugs from plants too.

    I believe a potato harvest is more related to the days in the ground, usually around 120 days for full size tubers.

    Flowering can indicate that new potatoes (smallish 2" diameter) can be harvested.

    Let them be in the ground a little longer, the soil will begin to mound and look displaced as the tubers expand. I usually let the tops start to die back a little before digging them up.

    Hope this helps :)

  • smik123
    smik123 Posts: 60 ✭✭✭

    I have a friendly little toad that takes care of a section of my garden that "used" to have slugs.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fortunately, "no flowers means no potatoes" is not correct. One year I picked off all the flowers in the hopes that more of the plants' energy would go to the tubers instead of making seeds. I got plenty of potato tubers that year. I don't know if it helped, but it certainly didn't hurt.

    This works for hardneck garlic, too. Cut or break off the scape when it forms.

    Potatoes are an odd case. We call the tubers "seeds", and we use them that way, but they really aren't. Think of them as cloning the parent plant in the same way as taking a cutting and re-rooting it, or separating flower bulbs and re-planting them.

    If you leave the flowers on your potatoes, they are likely to form a head of what is called "true seeds", small seeds that will grow into a potato if planted. Unlike tubers, which clone the parent, true seeds are a genetic mix and will represent a new genotype.

    Potatoes are fascinating!

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    On the slug issue, I use small aluminum pans (the disposable or recyclable kind) with cheap beer in them. Slugs love the smell of beer, and will climb in and drown. You'll need to dump out the beer and replace it with fresh beer after a rain.

    I have taken out over 50 slugs in a week in a fairly small area using this method. It really works.

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you so much guys! I am really focusing on my potato harvest this year and I was sooooo disappionted when I saw the slugs eating the flowers because I thought that if there were no flowers that meant no potatoes, BUT I WAS WRONG! Hallelujah! dipat2005 I have diatomateous earth is it okay if I just put that around the plants?

  • Shelba
    Shelba Posts: 13 ✭✭✭

    Sluggo is a potassium product. As it breaks down it will encourage floral growth. It works on snails and slugs, even when other, more toxic products, do not.

    My ducks and chickens generally keep my potatoes free of snails and slugs without doing too much damage to the plants. I have to shoo them out of things like young corn, melons, and squash(which I planted a week ago) or they will enjoy too many plants, but once the corn is a foot tall they are generally okay. Watch and see how yours act.

    You will get potatoes without blooms for most varieties, but if you are being overrun by slugs, they will eat the whole plant. The plates of beer will help, but it seems I have other critters that enjoy it and it is not good for large crazy dogs and hunting cats.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm surprised that dogs and cats will eat potato greens, which are poisonous.

    I've thought of planting potatoes in an unfenced area of lawn near the woods, assuming that the deer would not eat them because of the solanine in the leaves and stems. Maybe that's not a good assumption.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,991 ✭✭✭✭✭

    "If you are being overrun by slugs, they will eat the whole plant."

    When I was overrun by slugs, they could eat an entire Blue Hubbard squash fruit in a day or two. At first I thought it must be a mammal because it would surely need a larger creature to eat a large, hard fruit so quickly. Then one day I found a half eaten squash covered with slugs happily chomping away...

  • Elizabeth Voss
    Elizabeth Voss Posts: 57 ✭✭✭

    how long can one plant potatoes? I have one grow bag I started May 27 not yet flowered , and I have a bowl of potates sprouting in the pantry - here in australia its mid spring (Dec 1 marks summer) - it gets super hot here in summer, but would growing new potatoes be ok at this time?