#Tanka 40 & How To Deal With Voracious Slithering Beasts

Chalk soil challenge…
gardeners’ nightmare combo:
slugs, snails, and rain.
Slow worm, best friend of pot plants,
hungers for slimy munchers.

Poor slow-worm, I guess it went away hungry when it visited my garden the other day. Not a mollusc in sight.

At the beginning of June, I set myself the challenge of humanely removing all slugs and snails from my garden and relocating them elsewhere; a campaign that has proved hugely successful.

So here’s how I did it…

The equipment:

  1. Old two-litre ice-cream tub with tiny breathing holes pierced in the lid and yummy leaf placed inside as food.
  2. Plant label as slug scoop*
  3. A torch for the night-hunt.
  4. Patience.

[*Pick up snails by their shells, but be extra gentle with baby snails, as their shells are very fragile and it’s easy to crush them]

The hunt:

  1. Two collection times in the day (about 0700 hrs and 2300 hrs).
  2. Closely inspect each pot plant (the leaves (especially the undersides), the soil, and the outside of the pot).
  3. Inspect any large-leafed shrubs and soon you will discover which are the molluscs’ favourite ones. It’s quite likely that if you check out the soil under these particular shrubs you’ll uncover a snails’ nest, which you can scoop up and remove elsewhere. I’ve located two such nests in my garden.
  4. Place the slugs and snails into the ice-cream tub, along with a juicy leaf, close the lid tight, and store in the shade to prevent the creatures from roasting in the sun.
  5. Once every 24 hours, transport them to the nearest woodlands or fields and release them into the vegetation.

My dog, being Supervisor-in-chief at all times, takes the snail-hunting thing very seriously. When we’re out walking in the street, she has taken to glaring at any snails she spots slithering up people’s garden paths or along the pavement.

Here’s how some of my petunias, busy lizzies, and hostas looked a few days ago, and there are many more pots of them happily dotted around the garden with only the odd hole in their leaves…

Author: Sarah Potter Writes

Sarah is a British eccentric who writes offbeat fiction, haiku and tanka poetry. When stuck for words, she sketches or paints instead. She's into nature conservation, sustainability, gardening, dogs, natural health, and reading. Her sociability is something that happens in short bursts with long breathing spaces in between.

17 thoughts on “#Tanka 40 & How To Deal With Voracious Slithering Beasts”

  1. ‘Tis the time of year where I expect something “snailish” or “slugish” and your battle against them…
    You never disappoint.
    That said, how so very kind of you. Your gentle ways shall be rewarded, of this, I am sure… xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you’re right about being rewarded, as I can swear that I’ve heard the fattest slugs emitting squeals of fury (or fright) when cast into the dark of the ice-cream tub D: The first time I heard one squeal,I thought I was having auditory hallucinations. The second time, I decided it was for real. Hopefully they forgave me, once released into the lush woodlands…xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am sorry… but I am laughing out loud (enough for my boys to look at me like I’ve lost my marbles) at your comment…
        They should be ever grateful to you for bringing them to much wide open spaces…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad to have made you laugh 😀
        I thought it was just the slugs that were angry, but today I picked up a snail by it’s shell, and the darned creature made its shell vibrate as if it was thinking about self-detonating and taking me out with it!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh you did, my friend!
        What? I honestly am shocked that those little buggers, first of all, make any sound… and second of all, vibrate so!
        I learn something new every day….
        (Hmmm… possible subject for your next book…)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You, my dear friend, and infinitely more dedicated than I am. I took the lazy route….we don’t mow or cut down the vegetation that surrounds our garden…that way the slugs dine on the outside vegetation and never get to the garden….same results as you, but I love your technique much more. I can just see you out there late at night with flashlight, tenderly picking up the intruders. Priceless!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure my neighbours must think me quite mad; especially as I talk to myself, the dog, and, occasionally the snails whilst going about my task. You sound as if you have a decent sized garden. Mine isn’t that large, so the only lush vegetation belongs to shrubs that I don’t want eaten. It is an all-round huge challenge growing anything on chalk, but, hey-ho, I love challenges 🙂 Hope you are well my dear friend, as I continue to neglect you. We’re having a heatwave at the moment, so I’m not much at the computer, but it’ll eventually rain and I’ll sit there enjoying catching up with reading your posts. My health is improving as a consequence of all the fresh air and exercise, which was my hope in taking a sabbatical. Was feeling exhausted, but am now partially re-energised. Wishing you a wonderful week.


  3. I’m not the only snail saver! I used a tupperware carton – not sure if it was ice cream! – I have relocated some to the park at the end of the road, but then I read they can make their way back from quite a way away, so next time they went on a little car journey – that sounds a bit ominous – they did survive the journey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful. Another snail saver! My window-cleaner told me that when his mother relocated snails, she put some nail polish on some of their shells to see if they returned to her garden. They did D: Perhaps I should think about taking some further afield than the woods at the top of my road.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very nice of you to take the time to save them and it’s great that your dog could act as a supervisor! We don’t have too many snails here yet, but I’ll keep this in mind in case of any slithering out there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My “bonus” dad (my stepfather) has been known to sing to and pet the giant bumblebees that frequent his garden. Gardeners are a special group! Love them! Blessings to all of you snail savers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wonderful! I love giant bumblebees. There’s one that lives in my rockery. It must be about an inch long and half an inch wide. I’ve not sung to it, but do sometimes talk to it. The other day, it got indoors, but was quite happy to walk onto an envelope and let me carry it outside.

      Liked by 1 person

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