Brown Snails NPK???

landlady(USDA 8 or 9)May 14, 2012

I admit to taking some pleasure in lobbing snails into the roadway so that passing cars will do the final execution. I mean SNAILS, lots and lots and lots of snails. It's easy to pick upwards of 75 of them on a routine trip to the mail box. I can pick up 100 snails on any day that I set my sights on them.

But, when I'm not within tossing distance of the road or of the chickens, I just crush them and drop them either onto the ground or into whatever trug I'm hauling around for weeds.

So, what I'm wondering is: what kind of addition do they make to the composition of the soil? I'm the kinda person who looks at weeds as potential gold (compost), whose favorite new acquisition is 6 yards of compost, so I'm hoping these guys (and gals) have an upside....

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Just a thought - I am told that our snails, at least on the US West Coast, are not native, but are immigrants - they were originally imported from France to be used as escargot - so if you don't use chemicals in your garden, and you have so many, maybe some butter and garlic an cooking would provide an "upside"!


    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:04PM
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michaelg(7a NC Mts)

Proteins are around 1/3 nitrogen.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:40PM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

Been there. Done that.
Frankly all the work it takes to purge them (a couple of days in a 5-gallon bucket with corn meal until they poop out all the baddies), I'd rather dip bread into my butter and garlic.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:52PM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

Thanks, Michael and Jackie.

As you can probably tell, my response was to Jackie, but before I hit "submit" an errant sheep from my next door neighbor had to be herded back in off the street, and by then you had answered me.

Good to know that feeding the snails to the garden is good for their nitrogen needs. Maybe I'll stop wasting any of them in the street. (I always worry that drivers will resent my making murders out of them, so this will get me off that hook.)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Pick up either Garden Safe Snail Bait or Sluggo. They are iron phosphate and break down into iron and phosphorous in the garden. The bait will mold, so when you see the mold, don't worry. It's Nature breaking it down to fertilize your soil. Watch the dogs as it can smell like apples. One here loves the bait and snails. The other only likes poop and "worm jerky". The stuff is safe to use around pets, wildlife, food, etc., but I still don't want them eating it.

I put a pile (small handful) of the bait where the dog can't get to it, pick up a few snails and crush them, then place them ON the pile of bait. Snails and slugs are canabalistic and addicted to iron and will crawl across hot concrete to get to it. The bait clogs them up so they dry up and die. I can clean out an area this way and keep track of the "snacks" to keep the dog from getting them. These dogs are small and can't get up in the terraces and aren't allowed out back where the predators can get to them, so it's not an issue. The iron phosphate works very well and has been very cost effective. Several sources offer a 2.5# bag for about $10 and that covers a large area. You have to reapply every two weeks (perhaps more often with higher rain and irrigation) but the stuff is safe around animals and works quite well to knock down snails and slugs where you don't want them. Otherwise, I agree about chucking them into the hot street where they either fry or get run over. Kim

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:09PM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

Thanks, Kim. You might be interested to know that Costco is now selling Sluggo. I've been using it for years, around the plants that really really need protection (Hostas) or plants that harbor and hide the beasts (Daylilies, Daffodils, Amaryllis, etc), but I have a hard time imagining how much it would take to cover all the area that gets snails. I really still have to squash.

I find enough dried out shells to know that the Sluggo is doing its part of the job, for which I am grateful.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:49PM
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Thanks for that info! Hopefully, their price is better than Wallyworld's and the big box stores. Once you can get a handle on what is growing in your garden, you can concentrate on keeping a line of defense spread around the perimeter with your neighbors. I hate how they come over from other yards and in plants from nurseries and people who "share" with you. Thanks for the plants, but I don't need you to "share" more snails! I recently bought hollyhocks and foxgloves from a local nursery and had to pick out all of the 'critters' before taking them home. No thanks! I don't NEED more! LOL! Kim

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 6:10PM
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landlady(USDA 8 or 9)

Oh, they DO love the hollyhocks !!! Between the rust (not the same one as the roses get, whew) and the snails it's a challenge keeping them looking decent until at least the flowers distract me from the devastation below.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 6:25PM
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Understood. I won't try them here because they rust so badly they never flower, but for those living where they can be hidden among the other plants and who really enjoy them, I install them. Kim

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:17PM
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