• Start now in your fight against slugs and snails

Ah, springtime in Southeast Alaska, when the weather is moist and chilly. If it’s springtime in Southeast, it means it’s time for garden slugs, the bane of every Southeast gardener.

Now is the time to fight slugs, even if you haven’t planted yet as you wait for final frost in May. Slugs get into gardens in the spring, and this is when they are laying their eggs (and both male and female slugs can lay eggs). If you don’t fight the slugs now, the problem will be worse in the summer when your garden starts growing. Slugs eat the plants in your garden, and if uncontrolled they can do considerable damage to your crops.

Charlie Nardozzi, who writes the Edible Landscaping page on the National Gardening Association’s site, recently posted a good article on how to control slugs and snails. Most of his hints work in Alaska, though some people say the Southeast rain makes beer traps less effective here than in dryer climates.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has several publications with information on controlling pests such as slugs. One good reference is the Gardening in Southeast Alaska booklet (click link for free download as a PDF file). Another good reference, written by Sitka-based Resource Development Agent Robert Gorman, is the publication “Slugs” (click link for free download as a PDF file).

Fran Durner, who used to write the Talk Dirt To Me blog for the Anchorage Daily News, wrote a post about slug control a couple of years ago that included a picture of slug eggs so people could get them out of their gardens before they hatch. Fran also wrote a post about using dryer lint to deter slugs. Julie Riley of the Anchorage office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service also wrote an article for the Anchorage Daily News with tips on how to control slugs that gardeners in Southeast might find helpful.

• Juneau hosts Alaska Greenhouse and Nursery Conference on Feb. 25-26

Save the dates: The Alaska Greenhouse and Nursery Conference takes place on Feb. 25-26 in Juneau, with the Southeast Gardening Workshop on Feb. 27. These events should be worth a trip from Sitka to Juneau.

Alaska Greenhouse and Nursery Conference topics will include slugs and snails, low maintenance landscape design, propagating native plants, new varieties for 2010 and more.

As usual, the Polar Grower Trade Show will be available during the conference. All sessions will be at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Juneau (on Willoughby Ave.). Click here for a registration brochure with more details (link opens PDF file).

The Alaska Greenhouse and Nursery Conference is hosted by the Juneau office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, and conference details are available at 796-6221.

In addition to the two-day conference and trade show, there also is the Southeast Gardening Workshop on Feb. 27. For information on the Southeast Gardening Workshop, contact Darren Snyder of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service office in Juneau at 796-6281.

2010 Alaska Greenhouse and Nursery Conference brochure (opens as PDF file)