Snail eradication (day 3).

Today was the first school day of our snail eradication project. This meant I had to get out to the yard a bit earlier (just after 6 AM), and that I had a fairly limited time to pick slugs and snails before I needed to get inside to propel the sprogs school-ward.

Last night, when I was buying more salt, I noticed that rock salt was significantly cheaper than table salt, so that's the gastropod-melting agent that I'll be using until it runs out. Today, it seemed to do the job (while sounding a lot like gravel as I shook it to make sure the gastropods I had picked stayed picked). We may try soapy water after the salt runs out, but if I add the demised snails/slugs/soap to our compost pile, will the resulting compost be slimy?

The huge numbers of snails and slugs we've been seeing are, obviously, due to the absence of a committed predator. I would be thrilled to encourage hedgehogs in our garden, if only there were some to encourage. Even if decollate snails were not verboten in these parts, I think I'd pass -- replacing one gastropod with another would make me nervous. If we could convince some escargot-eaters to set up shop in the yard, that would probably keep the snail population down, but all the French expats I know in these parts have more than adequate supplies of escargot in their own gardens.

Today's take: 323 snails and slugs in 30 minutes.

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Water softener salt.

You can also use saturated brine, which will reduce the amount of salt that goes in your compost.

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

I think you're going to find that there is an essentially infinite supply of snails and slugs. They violate all known biological laws, and actually can only be described by a religious explanation (a limitless plague sent to bedevil sinners).

So pick away, but beware of the growing frustration caused by diligent yet fruitless efforts.

You need to encourage frogs and toads, a pond might be a good start. I (fingers crossed) don't have a problem with snails or slugs, but the spring peepers have been keeping me awake at night.

I fail to see how any slug-predator could be better than a chicken, unless it's multiple chickens. Or maybe unless it's a duck. Snail-eating service plus fresh eggs, it's win/win!

I'm not sure where but I have heard you can drop the snails into vinegar and it kills them. Which might be better than salt because soaked in vinegar you can still fold them into the compost pile with an expectation they will decompose in time.