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Talkback: Snails

I know how you feel Kate, I too have had a battle with them. Unlike you, I do have some runner beans growing, though I did think at the star...

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I know how you feel Kate, I too have had a battle with them. Unlike you, I do have some runner beans growing, though I did think at the start I wouldn't have any left. I must admit that I did put a few pellets down at the start but now I am using broken egg shells and it does seem to keep them off my French Beans and my lettuce are doing fine as well.
Today I bought runner beans from a roadside stall. The first I have bought for 40 years. I have one sad surviving (just)runner bean plant out of my ususl 40. I will not use any pellets as I have a garden full of baby birds. I pick them up most nights. Spinach and leeks are doing well but they have had the squashs and pumpkins.
I have lots of snails and slugs but instead of inhumanely getting rid of them I've decided to plant the garden with things the little critters will leave alone, I don't mind losing the occasional plant here and there as I enjoy having all sorts of wildlife and don't want to change the garden environment too much. I am a little bit disappointed about the lupins I put in for the first time this year but it's all part of the fun!
I have so much feeling for your 'plight'. This has been a bumper year for slugs and snails. Somebody told me that they would disappear when the sun shone. Can somebody please tell me when that's going to happen in West Central Scotland. I have one single sweetpea and three nasturiams in the kitchen garden. We are all desperate for some heat and sunshine.

Indeed, even here in the Savoie we have had a bumper year for snails and slugs.  Unfortunately Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has proven beyond reasonable doubt that it is not possible to render even the largest slugs edible.

Egg shells, coffee grounds, wood ash. They fart in their general direction, in my experience.

I have used the so-called "bio" pellets.  I'm not 100% happy, but if you take into account the cost of bags of compost, plant trays, seed, water, and the man-hours in nuturing the seedlings, then it (almost) compensates for the not completely boi-neutral nature of the product, in my view.  Ok, so I sold out.  It's my garden and i'll cry if I want to.



I find a sunken trough planter of garden mint keeps them at bay.I plant my lettuces behind the mint and never get any bite marks

They have had a go at my new mint plants & completely ravaged the planters of runner beans & lettuce that were coming on during the very wet spell ( which bit was that?)

Bumper year is an understatement. Plague might be more appropriate. Those slimy swines have scoffed everything above ground level in my garden forcing me to retrieve my overwintered onions when they were scarcely bigger than the sets I planted in late October. Unlike other responders I have a slightly more medieval approach and 'collect' slugs on a sharpened pea cane before staking them out in a tree for the birds to help themselves to my slug shish kebab. Snails, owing to a childhood fondness to Brian from the Magic Roundabout, receive a stay of execution but instead find themselves on a short flight to an adjacent piece of ground. I have made no impact on the population of slugs or snails but I feel slightly avenged after a good night hunt.
Yes I've also suffered from the snails and slugs this year! We are situated on the edge of wetland grazing marsh and we've nicknamed it "Snails Grazing Marsh" this year!!

I'm proud to say that I still haven't used any slug pellets yet although we have lost a lot of plants. Each night I go out with a torch at about midnight and pick off or trample what I can see! I usually encounter at least 2-3 toads most evenings but some are so fat I think they would struggle to catch a snail! LOL

The thing that winds me up the most is that during my nightly patrol I generally dispose of 4 or 5 in the greenhouse!!... How are so many getting in there I would like to know!!!?....

On a sad note we had a gorgeous Song Thrush resident in the garden who helped us out a bit with the snails but unfortunately I found it dead on the decking with virtually no mark on it at all, caught by that most annoying feline from next door who has notched up several feathered kills in the garden this year already!.... much more annoying than snails!!!


i did wonder why ive had more of a problem then any other year. I also found that they get through my bedding plants in a night. Sorry but ive taken to using the slug pellets. I have to scatter them carefully as i have pets and do not want them poisoned but they totally work. except the clear up of dead bodies is not nice. What i dont like about them is they seem to attract them more. are these slugs etc that are already there or are they coming from afar for the pellets? hmm i dont know.

i mixed them with organic variety which stated on the pack that with these they crawl off and die so no need for carcass clear up so dont know if the organic ones work or not.

I do feel bad. but after all the effort you go through to grow your own.. i really dont want them ruining all my hard work

I make 'fences' round vegetables and then use copper tape and it works  beautifully.  It is also round all my Hosta pots and not a snail or slug in sight.

I confess to dropping them in salted water overnight.then I leave them under the bushes for the thrushes and they're soon eaten.
I've not got a single bean plant (that's worth talking about, anyway)still there at the base of my wig-wam. I've used nematodes and copper rings, and gone out virtually every night squashing them and the slugs (yuck!) I haven't used slug pellets for twenty years, and I'm not starting now, if I have to give up beans, lettuce and other juicy things that they love, then I'll give up.
My 11year old daughter and her friends collect all the snails they can find in our garden to feed to their adopted hedgehog who apparently lives in some bushes outside our house.


I have used snail pellets and will use them all the time if i had my way i would get rid of them of the face of the earth

I think that the onlycertain way to get rid of the slugs and snails would be to use a flame thower  on them! Seriously!! My veggie patch at the moment has nothing in it but empty grow-bags (previously containing courgettes), stumps that were once lettuces and chard, and the only healthy looking thing is the strings on the wigwams - originally holding sugar-snap peas and beans. I stopped trying to grow anything else in the hopes that the rain would eventually stop - or I decided to build an ark - whichever came first. I do, however, havea couple of concerns with the flame-thrower idea. Firstly, that I might set fire to the shed or fence and second that I could set fire to myself. Maybe the flame-thrower is a bit drastic! They'd only evolve further and become flame-proof !!  I tell you, the person who invents a guaranteed method of getting rid of snails and slugs or stops them from eating my plants that doesn't endanger birds, hedgehogs, children or pets and that doesn't involve picking them up and putting them in a bucket should be awarded a Gold Medal!


Someone already invented slug pellets containing only iron which break down into nourishment for the soil.  They kill slugs and snails which simply dryup (yes even in the rain) leaving only empty shells, but, and this is a big but, you have to remember to renew them about every three or four days. I usually forget until there are a few slugfulls out of the leaves and renew them - but if only I topped them up (the pellets I mean) regularly I'm sure they would be very effective.  The only trouble I've had with copper tape is that the adhesive dries out and I swear the little are waiting and get straight in there before I notice!!

Good Hunting!

Would that the nematodes killed snails as well as slugs - but they don't. Since I rarely see a slug but have masses of snails, it's been a problem here in Hackney, too.
I lost all but one of my first batch of climbing bean plants to the wretched creatures but the second batch, which I grew on the window-sill and planted out surrounded by positive barricades of crushed eggshells, did better - even though most of them didn't bear until late in the autumn.

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