Monday, 2 July 2012

Garden Wisdom AKA Snails Are Not The Enemy

As you probably know, I love spending time in my garden. It's lovely and quiet out there.  I have a chair hidden beneath some rowan trees and the only disturbance comes from a ninja blackbird that likes to swoop out of nowhere and aim right for your face.

This year, I started growing vegetables. The potato plants are magnificent, the tomato plants are grumpy, but coming along slowly, and my salad area has lots of visitors every night - visitors of the shelled and slimy kind - who have come to take advantage of the new breakfasting zone.

Here is one of them.

Steve McSnail

I have an organic garden where everything from snails to field mice, birds and leaf-cutter bees are welcome, and I have a complete no-kill policy.  The garden is a place of safety, even for gastropods. There was no way I was going to kill the slugs and snails (who have lived here peacefully for years without causing serious damage to my plants) but I did want some lettuces left at the end of the season.

Here's a tip I've discovered that every gardener can use.

I accidentally left a box of vegetable peelings (destined for the compost) out one night and found that snails were drawn to it.  Dozens of them.  Their snack of choice? Potato peelings.

One thought led to another, and I experimented.

I spread a couple of handfuls of fresh potato peelings around my salad leaves the next night, and when I went out to check everything, the snails were back, chomping on the peels, not on the plants!

The peel rots down after a couple of days, so you need to keep adding a handful here and there, but it works. Now the snails get their meal and I get my lettuce. It's simple, but it works.

Slugs and snails are not the enemy, my friends.  They're looking for a tasty meal, just like the rest of us.  Embrace your snails!

How could you not love a face like this?