Having a few snails in your garden isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they could help attract a variety of interesting wildlife like birds and frogs. An infestation, however, is a whole different story and should be dealt with as soon as possible. It can be very disheartening to lose a crop to snails.
Let’s start by taking a look at WHY snails are attracted to the garden in the first place…
Snails absolutely love wet soil because provides a favorable condition for them to retain body moisture. Check how often you are watering your veggie garden and lower the watering frequency if you find that the soil is too damp throughout the day. This can easily happen if your garden consists of a type of soil that doesn’t drain well such as clay soil.
Hiding Places & Shelter
Snails love a good hiding place! In addition to wet soil, wooden logs and large stones may also attract snails as they make ideal shelters. Look around your garden and get rid of any debris where snails and slugs have congregated in the past. you may find that if you have a lot of plants in pots, they will gather around them too.
Now let’s look at some ways to deal with a snail infestation:
Snails come out at night so take your flashlight and go have a look at what is going on in our garden while it is dark. Where are they hanging out? Which plants are they favouring? What are their routes? Once you know where they are going and which plants they are going for, you can plan your strategy. One obvious method is to remove them by hand and take them faaaaaar away from your veggie garden. If you have chickens or ducks you can feed the snails to them.
Snails favour plants with fleshy foliage and stems. That’s why it’s common to see them hanging around plants like lettuce, marigold, and cauliflower. This doesn’t mean you should stop growing such plants in your garden. One way to avoid this is to use companion planting. Highly-scented plants like lavender and rosemary are a good deterrent.
Snails are attracted to beer. Bury a 1L yogurt tub in your garden at strategic locations so that the brim is flush with the soil. Pour a bit of stale beer into the bottom of the tub so it covers about 2-3cm of the bottom. The snails will come down into the tub and drown.
Snails LOVE cornmeal. They will feast on it and then move on and soon die from ingesting it. Sprinkle cornmeal in strategic places in your garden where you know they will find it.
Crush up some dried egg shells and sprinkle around vulnerable plants to deter the snails.
You can add some used coffee grounds to the crushed eggshells as snails do NOT like coffee.
Add some DE to the eggshells and coffee ground mix as the minuscule particles are extremely sharp. DE is also very dehydrating, which as we know is not good for these slimy critters.
SET A TRAP
Snails like to hide in dark, damp spaces. Find a wet piece of wood or wooden plank and place it near vulnerable plants. The next morning, check the wooden plank and get rid of any critters attached to it.
Slice a grapefruit or an orange in half then scoop out and enjoy the flesh. Next, place the emptied citrus halves near affected plants and leave them overnight. You should find plenty of snails in it the next morning.
Please avoid using poisons in your garden as these can harm other beneficial creatures and even your pets!
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