Combatting the Unpredictable Behaviour of the Local Snail Population
Pictured is my early sowing of container peas. They were flying until a few nights ago, when the helpless little plants were decimated by a crack team of presumably very hungry and now very fat snails.
I know it was snails by the trails they left all over the remains of the peas. They didn’t touch anything else on the plot. I guess they like pea shoots.
The strange thing is that I never have problems with snails at the plot. There are hardly any there. Not like my garden, where whole armies of them slime about all over the place, normally munching on anything that takes their fancy.
The Garden Snails are Behaving Themselves
The inconsistency here is that they haven’t been a pain in the garden at all this year. Aside from one night time scare, where I removed 10 of the troublesome shell-dwellers from my cold frame, I’ve not had any bother. In fact, my off the cuff mangetout sowing is looking gorgeously green and healthy (below).
There seems to have been some strange turnaround; almost as if the snails have got bored of the garden and headed for feasts at the allotment. I’m gutted about my peas, but I can’t really bring myself to get cross with the sneaky snails.
Too Soft to Kill Them
After all, they love peas like I love cake. As soon as anyone leaves a cake laying around unguarded, I’m straight in there. This makes it rather unfair for me to get angry with snails for eating their fave food too.
I’m not sure I can kill ‘em either. Maybe I’m getting soft as I approach 30. Instead, I’ve been gently throwing the garden snails over the back fence, but tossing snails away is not really cricket on the allotments, as they’ll end up on someone else’s plot.
Putting Snails in the Compost Bin
I was told recently that a good place to get rid of a snail is the compost bin, as they eat up stuff and do some good in there. However, this means finding them at their most active hour, and all night snail patrol doesn’t really appeal (I’m definitely an 8 hour a night man).
I’ve concluded that I need to think more about cake to save my peas. When there is cake in the house, Ailsa puts something in the way to prevent me scoffing it – i.e. a cupboard or a tin.
Similarly, I’m going to put some deterrents around my bounty. Garlic is said to be good for keeping them away, as it is thought they hate the smell of the stuff, so I’ve sprinkled a few handfuls of organic garlic barrier around my allotment containers.
I also collected a bag of shells when fishing as apparently snails don’t like sharp things under their feet. I’m going to scatter these around the plants in the hope that it’ll annoy the snails sufficiently to turn back should they set their eyes on the peas.
I’m told by one plotholder than cups of beer, dug in to the ground, attracts the slugs and snails. They then fall into the cup and drown. Trouble is, I wouldn’t want to drown in beer for nicking cake, so I’m going to stick to the restraint rather than the traps.
I’m actually feeling quite Buddhist about the snails. Accept my fate, live and let live and all that.
Oh, and I better buy plenty of pea seeds, because I think I’ll probably need them…