Snails, Revisited

Once thing I adore about posting gardening articles online is the accidental collaboration that sometimes ensues. Sue Gage Jennings–a revered personage among the Northern California organic gardening community–took the trouble to offer a few hints, tips & remarks in response to my article, The Flocking Snails:

I read your article on snails.  You missed the most effective method of getting rid of snails (I believe).  Go out at midnight with a flashlight and squish them.  Also they are not happy with an organic garden that is effectively utilizing wood mulch.  Another thing is not to keep your garden overly wet (their favorite habitat).  Another thing is the copper tape method, but it has to be the wider size so they don’t spring jump over it.  If you keep up with your midnight hikes in the early spring, soon you won’t have an onslaught of snails. I do not get ANY in my veggie garden, only my front yard where they are coming over from across the street. After a few midnight hikes I don’t have those snails.
On the beer front, they like stale Budweiser the best here in Sacramento (when I was testing some years ago-new ones maybe better now) of the ones we had around. Drink a beer, leave in bottle uncapped for weeks if you don’t need it and it will be a treat for any snails.
PS. Edible gardens don’t need more water than any other ornamental low-water need plant. Important to know in the environment of the new CA landscape.
 Update: the beer tactic is still proving its mettle in my garden, especially with the addition of the stale, cheap variety. My zucchini leaves are nearly hole-free, as is the lettuce, spinach, basil and strawberries. I still sprinkle diatomaceous earth liberally each week, but so far we’ve avoided having to fall back on pricy “organic” snail bait to keep our veg pest-free.
L. R. Styles is a writer for Belator Books

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