I want to start out this post by saying that normally I am a very peaceful, non-violent person. However, there is one thing that gets my blood boiling: SNAILS!! I am not quite sure if other gardeners have quite so many problems with snails or it is just this part of the Bay Area, but they are on a rampage this spring. You see I try and have an organic garden which means no pesticides allowed. I am lucky because in the Bay Area this is somewhat possible because there aren’t a ton of bugs waiting to destroy my crops. However, there has been lots of research done saying that the more you put on pesticides, the more you kill the good bugs and get more bad bugs, but I digress. The long and short of it is that snails love nothing better than to munch on my strawberries or my cute little lettuces or anything just poking its head out of the ground. You can also leave out beer in little plastic cups to deal with some of the snails, but that tends to work better on slugs and rolly pollies. I figure it is a rather pleasant way to go in that they just drown drunk.
According to the gardening books that I have read, the most effective way to deal with snails is to simply go around and pick them off and smash them. This sounds very simplistic, but I have found in the past if I can regularly get out into the garden, this actually does work. This year, they are all over the place. Now granted, I did leave them alone for 5 weeks to breed and grow while I was eating lots of yummy food in Europe, but still! Even before I left, I had done several sets going around the yard grabbing them from all their favorite places (in the compost, under the wood slats on the fence, in my strawberry patch! and hiding in the orange tree) piling them into flower pots and then smashing them all. Then this has to be followed up by an almost daily regimen of going back over the places and more grabbing and smashing. Once we got home, I did a thorough run through of grabbing and smashing and I thought I was doing well. However, today while I was putting around the front yard doing some pruning and watering, I discovered so many snails hidden in a lily that was on the side of the house. Now I have read that snails can travel over and under fences quite some distance to get to their food and these snails were big and fat so that meant that they had been eating lots of strawberries and such. The side of our house isn’t far from the garden. So I set to grabbing and smashing with a vengeance. Those buggers hid really well too. Every time I thought I had finished getting them all, there were more and more. I thought about cutting down the lily, but then I realized that I shouldn’t because it was a good snail attraction and I now knew where to find them. This is the bad point, when you start designing your landscaping around having snail traps……Now I need to head out to the backyard to check my traps.