Slugs and Snails

Snail's gotta eat...

Dealing with the damage slugs and snails can wreak on our vegetables will really bring up a great variety of feelings.

How many times have you planted your delicate starts, only to returned the next morning and find a slimy stumps where your babies were growing just hours before?

Snails usually nest out of site in our plots, in a shallow burrow, or underneath a brick. You’ll seldom see them in the daytime… unless they just couldn’t “push away from the table” in time.

Snail Rears Away While Attempting to Cross Copper Screening

To deter snails, many of our gardeners have run a thin tape of copper foil or screen around their entire plot. The copper approach presents an expensive one-time cost, but snails will not cross this metal. As long as weeds on the paths between plots do not reach a height where they can be used by snails as ladders to gain entry to our plots, all is good.

For snails that already reside inside the plot, placing a piece of stone, brick or marble in your plot will often attract the snails to its cool underside, and by checking it frequently, you can easily collect them for removal.

Some gardeners use products with picaresque names like “Sluggo” and “Slug and Snail Death.” These products contain iron phosphate (a mineral naturally occurring in our soil); non-toxic to humans and pets. Upon being eaten by the snail, this mineral causes the mollusc’s stomach to become gaseous– the snail explodes! A violent death, yes. But some gardeners feel the punishment fits the crime. [Note: not all our gardeners approve of  punitive measures.]

Best practices:
Install copper foil/screen
Remove snails on sight
Weed around your plot
Check the underside of ceramic and stone objects to find snail dens

As you can see, with a little attention, you can easily keep your plot free of snails– and your tender leaves free of holes. Good luck!