At tidemill ruins
seagrass whooshes; ghosts whisper
by the salt-scragged tree.
Always a lone crow perched there,
his caws not quite of this world.
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…
- Old two-litre ice-cream tub with tiny breathing holes pierced in the lid and yummy leaf placed inside as food.
- Plant label as slug scoop*
- A torch for the night-hunt.
[*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]
- Two collection times in the day (about 0700 hrs and 2300 hrs).
- Closely inspect each pot plant (the leaves (especially the undersides), the soil, and the outside of the pot).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…