Slug Snake Oil

This genuinely stops slugs, snails and caterpillars. How? Allicin is a chemical found in onion and garlic that causes an alergic reaction in any insect with a basic gut. They will try it and move on to something more palatable. Made with onion, garlic and sugar, it’s not poisonous and I’ve used it to marinade pork.

While selling it at a Sunday market in Culross, a doubting potential customer folded his arms and nodded. “For a fiver, why not try some snake oil” He roared with laughter; I’d read his mind. The name stuck.


While cooking, roughly chop the skins and ends of onions and garlic and add to a jar layering with dark brown sugar. About equal volumes or weight. DO NOT ADD WATER, or it will smell awful.

Use and elastic band and cover with a cloth/coffee filter or face mask. When full, let it ferment for 2 weeks stirring about once a day. Strain through a sieve or colander into a plastic bottle. Fermentation creates carbon dioxide so make sure the lid is not on tight.

This can be used as a weekly foliar spray or a soil drench.

If you have a plant being murdered by slugs or caterpillars, apply until the damage reduces. Then spray weekly.


Add water to a spray bottle, add the snake oil you’ve just made and it goes to the colour of tea, builders tea if you’re dealing with an infestation and herbal tea for a weekly spray.

Dish washing liquid can be added to break the surface tension, making it spread on the leaves and kill aphids, rather than just form a water droplet and roll off the leaf.

Soil drench

10 Litre watering can

A small house measure of snake oil

A small house measure of organic apple cider vinegar

Fill with water and water plants near their bases.

Organic apple cider vinegar is sold in most shops, keep the ‘dregs’ or the ‘mother’ as it’s known. Buy pressed apple juice from the fridge add the mother and let it ferment for 2 or 3 weeks with the lid loose. You have your own apple cider vinegar for the garden or the kitchen.