For years, I have grown rhubarb in my backyard. And for just as long, I have been fighting a snail problem in my garden. Seriously…I don’t know what it is about rhubarb that seems to draw snails like flies to honey! I have been trying to figure out how to keep snails out of the garden so that I can actually EAT the produce that I spend time growing. Between the snails and the earwigs, I am getting really sick of bugs! If you are battling a snail problem in your own garden, here are a few simple ways to keep them under control this summer.
How to Keep Snails out of the Garden
Crushed Egg Shells
Wondering how to keep snails out of the garden without spending a lot of money? Crushed egg shells are a cheap and easy way to keep snails from bothering your garden. Just save your egg shells after you crack them open and rinse them a bit.
Let them dry overnight on a towel. I usually keep a large zip to lock bag on my counter and toss them in there. Then, when you have enough, just take them out to the garden and crush them up. Aim for the area right near the stem of your plants. It will keep them from attempting to climb up the stems to the tasty produce growing at the top.
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Diatomaceous Earth is made from diatoms. What are diatoms? Basically, they are microscopic green algae with a glass-like shell. The fossilized remains of these diatoms make up the diatomaceous earth.
Snails creeping over the sharp little glass-like particles is like the human equivalent of walking barefoot over broken glass. Not good for them! Check out these tips for using diatomaceous earth before you get started. Then you can buy food grade diatomaceous earth on Amazon or at your local garden center.
Make Beer Traps
Slugs have a beer problem. They seem to love the stuff! Use it to your advantage and make beer traps for your slugs. Dig a hole near the garden plant being attacked. Bury a beer can, plastic container, etc so that the rim of the vessel is the same level as the soil.
Pour beer into the container. The slugs will be attracted to the beer, fall in, and drown. Throw away the container after a few days and start a new one if you need to. Don’t waste your microbrew for this project. Cheap beer works just fine. If you prefer, you can buy slug traps that make things much easier. They work for snails as well as slugs.
Get your own chickens
I seriously wish we could do this. Unfortunately, our dog isn’t a huge fan of other creatures in her yard. Chickens are omnivores and LOVE to eat bugs. Not only will they clear your garden of snails, they will also fertilize it with chicken poop at the same time. You get the side benefit of lots of eggs, as well.
Add mint to your garden soil
For some reason, pests really don’t like the smell of mint. Since this stuff grows like a weed, I always have plenty of it. Just chop it up and mix it into the top inch or so of garden soil. Slugs and snails will be repelled by the scent of it.
Change your watering schedule
To avoid wet soil and leaves overnight, start watering your garden in the morning. That way, by the time the sun goes down, your garden soil and plants will be dry and less appealing to snails. Watering in the morning is also a great way to avoid fungal diseases on your plants.
Use organic slug killers
You can find organic slug killers on Amazon if you are completely frustrated with trying to get rid of these pesky creatures. Make sure you read the ingredient labels and directions carefully before using them.
Pick Them Off By Hand
Yes, this is a lot of work if you have a big garden but at least you don’t have to use chemicals on your food. You can also go out to the garden at night with a salt shaker, which is something I do regularly over the summer. These little buggers are persistent and keep coming back year after year!
If you are wondering how to keep snails out of the garden, these are just a few easy way’s to do it. You will have to be diligent and go out to your garden regularly to keep on top of the problem. Add bird nesting boxes to your backyard to encourage more birds to visit. They LOVE to eat these garden pests! Have any other tips for getting rid of snails?
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Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.