I’ve not seen many huge slugs about this year, if any, though there are probably plenty of mini monsters hiding that I’ve not spotted. And yet for some reason everywhere I go there seems to be a gaggle of snails having a garden party. I can confidently pick up any pot or even just glance about and there they’ll be, discussing something important, I’m sure. How tasty my lettuce is, probably.
They’re much more charming than slugs (who decides these things?), and yet the only real difference is their shell. You don’t see them in winter though (unlike slugs), as they go dormant, and they don’t like acidic soil as much. Slugs are able to reach a few more tasty plants and squeeze into more nooks and crannies on account of being shell-less, but essentially they both wreak similar havoc.
Though it makes them less nimble, snail shells are handy; it’s a protective home, and because of it snails can retain a little more moisture than slugs as it acts as a sponge. This means they can cope with ‘walking’ on drier material.
I really like snails, and I largely leave them be – my garden is full of flowers and plenty of thriving veg, so I don’t notice much carnage. They’ve nobbled a petunia and some lettuce but I can forgive that; they add more value to me as a way to bring in birds. I enjoy them too, entering them into races, marvelling at their shell patterns and watching them slither. For my more precious plants I do like some of the natural products on the market, such as Envii’s Feed and Protect, which feeds and makes plants less tasty to molluscs, and Vitax’s wool pellets, which act as a mulch and an unappealing surface for them to tackle.