Snails – some of us find them strangely adorable, and others shudder at the sight of them, but one thing we can all agree on is that they are a pest when they munch on your plants in the garden!
Did you know that snails have hundreds of teeth? Don’t worry – they’re unable to bite people. Snail teeth (known as radula) are tiny and attached to a ribbon-like tongue. They’re shaped to suit their specific diet – particularly your lettuce leaves!
Thankfully there’s many natural solutions you can use to deter snails and slugs, without using harmful chemicals. Many pellets can be potentially toxic to pets, wildlife, and people. This makes many of us reluctant to use them, and more likely to try safe alternatives.
Eggshells can be crushed up and sprinkled over the garden. This acts as a barrier to the slugs and snails, as they dislike sliding over it. The eggshell can break down and be beneficial for your soil, adding calcium. You can also use sawdust in the same way.
Adding coffee grounds to the soil can be very effective. It can either be sprinkled about, or can be made up in a spray of 10 parts water to 1 part coffee. Spray this solution over the surface of your leaves and soil. The snails absorb the caffeine through their skin. Just remember to reapply after heavy rain.
Another option is to add containers (such as empty butter tubs, or yoghurt containers) filled with beer, sunken into your garden bed. The snails will slide into the beer for a drink and become trapped in the container. You can also leave out orange peel for the snails to attach to overnight, which you can easily remove in the morning.
The final option is to simply move them to another part of your garden, or feed ‘em to the chooks!
Whichever method you try, natural is always best. It is much cheaper, and you can rest easy knowing your pets and native wildlife will be unharmed.