• Try beer in a lid they like yeasty booze
  • Crushed eggshells are supposed to do the job
  • Some say woodash
  • Salt they say
  • Try them all to see what suits you

We are nearing the first official day of spring in South Africa on the first of September. This is the official opening of the public swimming pools and is supposed to indicate that the weather will automatically improve and all will be well. Yes, that should be true but with the advent of spring come the snails, in their dozens and their hundreds. Eventually all your newly planted seedlings will disappear in the twinkling of an eye.

Snails can create havoc in your vegetable garden, cutting your seedlings off just above the roots thus killing the seedlings. Even the mature onion plants are not immune and can have their leaves shredded in a few hours. So what to do? I am so ambivalent about the destruction of these creatures as I really have a hard time with taking a life, no matter how destructive it is, I can’t manage to kill them. So I did a lot of research and soul searching and decided that I had to find a natural way to do this.

What I did find was that there are as many remedies as there are snails! Eventually I found what for me was the best solution, so here it is: comfrey leaves. Snails actually love comfrey, so grow a patch. Growing comfrey, in itself, seems to attract many differing opinions. Some see comfrey as a weed that rampages through your garden beds, whilst others seem to think that planting this herb in tubs or pots or tyres will limit the rampage and is a garden boon.

The main opinion seems to be that once you have the comfrey, cut some branches, allow them to wilt (as they have prickly thorns) then lay the branches around and among your seedlings and vegetables. The snails apparently will not be able to resist the comfrey. The snails would not be able stop themselves from feeding off of these leaves, not your seedlings or other plants. The snails love comfrey so much that they will even fall asleep under these branches. In the morning you should pick up these branches full of snails and destroy them.

But I can’t kill them so I have come up with another solution. Pick up the comfrey branches early in the morning and throw them over your wall into your neighbour’s garden. The comfrey is good for their garden and will add to their compost as it is so rich in vitamins and minerals and you won’t have any more snails.

Sorry neighbours it is all for a good cause.

Update: I have just been given a great tip by a neighbour, I am told that common dry breakfast oats, sprinkled along your garden border or around that special plant or a border around your seedlings will keep the snails away. Pile it up so that it is more like a rounded mound. I am told that snails love the oats but it doesn’t seem to like them, it causes them to bloat up and they will die off. If this works for you give it a try.