There is nothing that erks me more than planting seedlings or sowing seeds and then snails and slugs munching the lot – and sometimes overnight. So I guess that’s not too bad if that’s my only real gripe in the world!
Snails and Slugs were the one thing I found a challenge once we moved to a warmer subtropical climate here in Auckland. The slugs are HUGE and cannibalistic. In the last four years I have tried coffee grind solutions which just seemed to give them a ferocious appetite to eat each other which was kind of scary, have set traps of all kinds with beer inside empty takeaway containers, but the only thing that seems to keep them under control and is pet and plant safe is Tui Quash snail bait.
Quash is rich in Iron Chelate which plants will use for healthy growth if the offending Mollusca are not found once they’ve had the poison fill . I always use a snail bait trap which can be created by setting up a plant pot upside down in a water tray with cut out holes at the base for snails and slugs to crawl in. They do seem to love shelter to dine in and the trap gives me peace of mind that although the pellets are safe, I feel better if I know they have as little contact with the soil as possible.
Other ideas you may like to try at your place:
Seaweed: Use as a mulch around the base of plants. The salt in seaweed deters the snails and slugs while the minerals from the sea vegetables will help feed your plants.
Coffee: Said to deter snails. I have not found it effective but some swear by it. Be careful not to use too much as soil acidity can be altered.
Crush shell and sand: This can be effective as the mollusks don’t like the course texture. Maintenance is quite high since as soon as the sand gets disturbed the snails will take hold and it may be too late to save young plants.
Torch light, keen kids, bucket with salt: Works a treat! I send the kids out early eve once dark and they take control of the breeding population with picking the slugs and snails off and salting them. Your local Palmers sell funky head lamps to make the job easier! The salt is caustic to them and is a quick solution to clean up the garden after spring breeding.
Companion Plant: Pop into your local store and stock up on the following herbs. They work a treat to keep slugs and snails at bay as they don’t like the scent and some secrete their own essential oils that are a deterrent to Mollusca. Chives, rosemary, parsley, basil, mint, conifers, foxglove, and fennel.
Most importantly get the snail population under control before you plant your precious seedlings or sow delicate seeds. Once the weather warms snails will be breeding so be sure to get control before it’s too late.