Slugs and snails

by Pippa Greenwood

This has been the year for slugs and snails and I've really lost my cool with them. I might try to be a live-and-let-live gardener but I'VE HAD ENOUGH!!

SnailsThis has been the year for slugs and snails and I've really lost my cool with them. I might try to be a live-and-let-live gardener but I'VE HAD ENOUGH!!

Kay blogged about my traps and I have to say that it is now the more the merrier - and wow, am I giving them a chance to get merry. A couple of years ago on Gardeners' Question Time I ran a mini-test at Sparsholt College to see which beer they preferred, using a range of different beers including ales, lagers, bitters, alcohol-free and stouts, each in it's own slug-trap cup. We had a scoring system which scored plus points for slugs and snails caught, and negative points for each ground beetle or other beneficial insect caught. Guinness was the resounding winner. I'm pleased to say that it works just as well in my home garden.

I don't waste time with the alcohol-free beers, as at Sparsholt they were by far the least successful. But there is no doubt that milk (even if it is the bit you forgot about at the back of the fridge) does work really well too. I just wonder how many pints of either I'd need to have a really significant effect?!

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Gardeners' World Web User 08/11/2007 at 20:51

I have been devastated to find the depths of viciousness to which I have sunk. I cannot see a slug without KILLING it. Do I need therapy? Help!

Gardeners' World Web User 09/11/2007 at 14:10

Ginjosie - interesting to hear about the fly traps, I'll use that next year...they're less of an issue now that temperatures are dropping...that is until you open one of the 'chosen' windows in the top of the house and they hurtle out from the frames!!! YUK!

Mary - suffice to say...'you and me both'...there are a few things which seem to escape my usually rather pacifist outlook!

Gardeners' World Web User 09/11/2007 at 18:50

I HATE SNAILS!!! I have a v large Skimmia japonica which during the summer housed hundreds of snails under the leaves. I regularly had to harvest them into a large bucket of hot salty water. LOVELY!!! I think I may need therapy too!!

Gardeners' World Web User 09/11/2007 at 19:48

There was a comment on Gardener's World a few years ago, to the effect that it was useless to toss surplus snails into the neighbour's garden, owing to their strong homing sense. The presenter went on to say "if you don't believe me, try painting their shells with nail polish before you toss them!" I tried it by painting a snails shell and then carrying it down the garden - it took 5 days to return. Having painted others using several different colours and tried the same thing I would say a) they certainly live for many years as we still have the originals b) you can easily see them and so don't tread on them and c) a mossy wall after rain is like a field of jewels - try it if you don't believe me!

Gardeners' World Web User 09/11/2007 at 23:15

I have got myself a couple of chickens which I keep in a coop. I go out at night and collect the slugs and snails and feed them to the chickens. They absolutely love them, and if you crush the shells of the snails it gives them the calcium they need to make their egg shells when they eat them. If you don't crush the shells they don't seem to bother eating them. Alternatively eat the snails yourself just make sure you clean them first. Perhaps 'Gardeners World' could publish an article on how to clean them. I clean them with carrot which shows up orange when they are ready. Bit of Garlic Butter and ooh la la! Delicious.

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