By Bonnie Manion
We are blessed in Southern California with wonderful year-round gardening, a mild climate and lots of sunshine. Even though gardening is a dream, we still have our share of common pests we have to combat regularly. Some of my most frustrating pests are snails and slugs. (I use to enjoy gourmet escargots, a delicacy snail dish prepared in garlic butter sauce. Now, I can’t even consider the thought of eating them anymore.)
These night-feeding mollusks hide by day. Snails have shells, and slugs do not. But they all love moist plants and also like to feast on young vegetable seedlings.
One way to combat snails is look for them hiding around the moist base of your plants. For example they like the dampness of clumps of iris, where they easily can hide. Pick, crush and remove them one by one from your garden. You also can hunt for them on gray and overcast days, when they are active.
Snails and slugs are fond of beer, so another solution is set out shallow containers of the liquid, which effectively drown the critters. You also can use Sluggo Granular Snail and Slug Killer, which is safe to use around wildlife and pets. As a bonus it even adds a bit of nitrogen to the soil.
Snails like to find dark, moist spots during the day. Good examples are fence joints surrounding vegetable gardens, or under pot saucers.