Scientists at Newcastle University have found that garlic can be used to rid your garden of slugs and snails without risking the health of your dogs, cats or other animals that might accidentally eat the traditional slug pellets.
The researchers took a leaf out of the books of medieval monks who used to grow garlic close to their crops because they knew it would ward off pests. The scientists who carried out the research, have found that spraying Chinese cabbage leaves with garlic extract prevented them from being eaten, and killed many of the slugs and snails that tried.
Plants could also be protected by spraying the extract on to surrounding soil, which stopped pests reaching the crops. The obvious benefit of using a natural plant extract like this is that it is much safer than using artificial chemicals. On the other hand there is the possibility that it could alter the flavour of the food, although, depending on personal taste preferences, this might not be such a bad thing!
At the moment the researchers don’t know why garlic kills slugs and snails; one theory is that it affects the animals’ nervous systems. The next steps will be to find out whether garlic could be used commercially by farmers to protect their crops, and to confirm that garlic will not damage the environment.