#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…

So they have a purpose after all!


After a long battle with snails this year, for once I caught them doing something useful.

Every year, an ancient apple tree drops inedible apples on my patio at the top of the garden. These apples are huge Bramleys that rot, even while they’re on the tree; a tree that’s gradually dying but I haven’t the heart to cut down.

When my dog was a puppy, she used to like playing with the apples and I dreaded her chomping on a lurking wasp by mistake. On countless occasions I’ve almost twisted my ankle on apples or skidded on their slushy remains in the rain. I can’t sit at the table on the patio in the wind without wearing a tin helmet. They jump like bouncing bombs across the lawn, requiring picking up before mowing the grass. And for all their sins, not a single apple pie to be had.

Hopefully, the baby apple tree at our allotment will produce its first yield of Cox’s this year. Meanwhile, perhaps I should transport a bag of rotten Bramleys there to keep the snails off our vegetable produce. On the other hand, perhaps every snail within a mile would head to our plot for the chance of a squidgy apple feast.

To check out my earlier posts involving snails and slugs, you’re welcome to follow the slime trail @~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~@~

Monday Morning Haiku #23

The Allotment into its Fifteenth Month

Wordless Wednesday: Mr Slow Worm, the Garden Hero that Eats Slugs

Wordless Wednesday: Garden Demolition Expert

tanka 13

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