The Q&A Archives: Wonderful Snails.....

Question: For the first time in my life I am living in an area crawling with snails. I have purchased my vegetable plants and seeds but have been hesitant to plant them because I'm sure that the snails will have a feast. Many, many people have given me common as well as quite weird ways in which to deal with the snails. Do you have any ideas.


Nancy Sampson

Answer: Ahhh, yes, there are many ways of dealing with snails, from the barbaric to the slightly kinder approach. As you plant your veggie garden, be on the look out for snail eggs (clusters of silky white eggs) and destroy them if you find them. Be sure to keep debris out of the garden so snails won't have a place to hide. There are several environmentally friendly ways of dealing with snails and slugs. You can try to deter them by putting a barrier around your plants. Copper strips are expensive, but effective. You can also use crushed egg shells or diatomaceous earth around the stems of your plants. If you can sprinkle dry soil around the stems, that will deter them, too. Another way to lower the population is to go out at night with a flashlight and harvest any snails you see. If you eliminate hiding places in your garden, they may go elsewhere to feast. Remove any plant debris that might provide moisture and shade for the critters. You can set up a trap by inverting a terra-cotta flower pot in your garden, propping it up with a stone so the snails will crawl under and into it. In the morning, remove the collection of snails that you find hiding in the trap. There are chemical means of control as well; Sluggo is an iron based bait which is safe to use around edible plants, Cory's Slug bait contains metaldehyde which can be used in veggie gardens as long as the chemical does not come in contact with the edible parts of the veggie plants.

Hope these control suggestions are different that the ones you've already heard!

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