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I am not much of a gardener but when I do actually get round to gardening I finding really annoying that pests (slugs, snails and birds) seem to think that my garden is a super market!

I don't want to use any chemicals and I had heard that you can use other methods to deter slugs and snails from eating fruit like strawberries.

My father told me that putting a copper strip around pots deters the slugs and snails. I also saw on the net that using two copper wires and attaching a small voltage would also act like an electric fence. This is what I decided to try.

Step 1: In the Beginning................

The first thing I did was to build a raised container for my strawberry plants. This was made from pallet materials carefully dismantled. The box for the soil was lined with plastic which was relocated from a builders skip and then filled with soil and the new plants added.

Around the outside of the container I secured two continuous copper wires which were stripped from old cables. These must be wires that do not have any coating on them.

Secure them flat against the container and about 12mm apart. They must not touch each other and it must not be possible for the slimy little critters to climb over or under the wires. I have not found any that have evolved far enough to build structures over the wires yet but I am sure that at some point some will!

Step 2: The Zapper System..........

The entire system is being constructed from re-purposed kit which means that costs are going to be negligible.

I used a waterproof box (enclosure) from commercial dishwasher to house the electrical kit. The power source is a 12v cell from an emergency sign/light. This is kept charged using a solar PV panel which is attached inside the greenhouse.

The charger unit is something that I had already and no longer needed. The panel likewise was being used for lighting and is now being used to keep this system fully charged.

The enclosure is a water tight box but because it is being re-purposed the old access holes will need to be sealed this will be done at a later stage using tape or silicone sealant.

The enclosure had a very handy transparent panel which meant the regulator could be kept in the box but the charging state viewed easily.

The cable exits the box from below reducing the risk of water getting into the enclosure. The cable hangs (also reused) in a loop and is attached to the two copper wires using some crimp connectors.

Once it was all connected up I tested the circuit to ensure that I has continuous loop for each wire and a voltage across them using the meter.

12v will give a nice polite reminder to Mr Slug and Mrs Snail that they are not welcome in my strawberry bed.

Given that I actually like snails (they are fascinating creatures) I decided that the test would be on a slug. I quickly found one and when introduced to the copper wires it quickly let go and fell to the ground!

Step 3: The Crop!

As you can see I am starting to get a good supply of lovely berries, the netting is to protect them from the birds!

This project has been 100% successful, there has been no slug or snail attacks that have breached the boundary however there is evidence where they appeared to have tried!

Next steps are to make a larger system covering more beds and to make a smart front cover for the control box.

The great thing about this project is that nothing is new and everything has been taken from something else which would have been thrown away. I like making projects like this that cost nothing and solve a problem effectively.

year 2 now and system is still working really effectively
<p>Just harvested another 1/2kg of berries this morning, no bites or nibbles on any of them.</p>
<p>Cool! Sounds like something that I should try. I'm growing strawberries right now and that could be useful.</p>
Great idea with the zapper! :) I have noticed that copper alone is a good defence against slugs. I got a lot of slugs in my garden from my neighbors. After I put some copper tubing on the ground near the fence they were gone within a week.
<p>someone else told me about using copper today, find the slug and smack it with the copper pipe.</p>
<p>Yes I heard that this works too. Im going to give it a try. Thanks.</p>
Thank you for your comment, yes I try to keep chemicals away from my food

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Bio: By day I work as a marketing & project manager, safety advisor, trainer and accident investigator but when I escape I like to make, mend and ... More »
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