Man v Snail

Not a fair match, really.

Slow, puny, squishy little guys, snails.  But man…Man!  We have big, smashy shoes, poison pellets, SALT, and loads of brains!

So why are the snails and slugs so thoroughly defeating me?

I had a good crop going on our rooftop balcony.  Dutifully swept aside the soggy cigarette butts and lager cans, lovingly placed my pots – angling them to catch the precious rays of English sunshine.

My work colleague (and fellow urban homesteader) tried to warn me of the Slug Epidemic, how it was ravaging her baby plants.  And yes, it was hard to ignore the snail horror stories in the news – how the combo of unusual rainfall levels and lack of sunshine had created a tidal wave of slime, destroying crops and baffling the British public.  I shuddered in sympathy but was comforted, knowing my rooftop garden was safe.  No slug would be so brazen to climb so high, to brave the hot tar surface, and for such little reward.

They waited.  Until my plants were just big enough to have hopes and dreams.  Then one morning, to my horror, I found a wasteland where my crop used to be.  It was senseless and random.  They spared the Greek basil, but ate their way up every sunflower.  Gnawed my hot peppers (!!!!) to the nub but haughtily ignored the oregano.

‘You monster!  They were just babies!’  I wailed into the antennae of a snail. ‘How could you?!!’

I’ll tell you how.  These ambitious Horror Beasts climbed a frigging TREE to reach my crop.  I found five – FIVE – snails one pot alone.  Too squeamish to stomp, I pitched them one by one over the balcony.  I told myself the leaves and branches along the way down would give them a fighting chance to survive.  It seemed fair.

I brought my pots inside every night and looked for answers.  My housemate recommended salt.  But remembering to sprinkle after every rainstorm was impracticable, given my attention span.  Slug pellets?  Nah.  I don’t fancy slug poison-flavoured tomatoes, thanks.

My work colleague, by now a Five Star General in slug warfare, brought this in.  Copper tape that you wrap around the pot – it ‘shocks’ the snail as it slimes its way up.

‘You have to pre-order this stuff’, she said.  ‘Not all places sell it, and it goes very fast.’

I tried it, and sure enough, this morning I found a snail at the bottom of the pot, tipped to the side.

He looked drunk and alarmed.

With a triumphant, ‘Didn’t see that coming, buddy!!’  I pitched him (humanely) over the balcony.

‘Now go and tell your friends!’ I called after him. ‘Tell them what happens when you MESS WITH ME!!’

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

I win.

“WTF* was that?!?!”
(*What The Fungus)
I’m pretty sure that’s how snails curse.


9 responses to “Man v Snail

  1. I was always taught to bait slugs with beer in a shallow pan or dish overnight (I guess they really like beer!), and then drown them early in the morning. I assume this would work for snails as well.

      • I can’t remember. I haven’t had a slug problem in more than 10 years (it helps not to have a garden, haha). Maybe the shallow dish is the key, or arising at the asscrack of dawn to kill them?

  2. You go girl! The snails that come to my yard have a lovely ivy bed next door. You’d think that prime habitat like that would be enough. I’ve tried wood ashes and am about to try sand. Apparently they don’t like to cross that because it hurts. I have to look for some of that copper tape.

  3. This is a cute way to share your story about snails. I didn’t have any problems with them until I build a container pond and some of the plants I put in it had snails…they wandered out of the pond just to eat my veggies. Luckily, I caught it before it got bad and I haven’t seen one since. I do have a soft spot for garden snails though…

    • Thanks, Linda! Snails are a small price to pay for a water feature in the garden. Sounds lovely.
      Yeah, if only they would be civilised and stick to a few plants, I’d plant them their own garden.

      • Small price to pay they are! I do agree though, I would have garden snails if they wouldn’t devour everything and would stay where you want them…plus they multiply so quickly!

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