Get sneaky with snails

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West Coast gardening tips

The proven harmful effects on health and ecosystems are just two of many reasons to stop using pesticides in gardens. But oh dear, how to control slugs and snails decimating garden plants? Enter copper, coffee and beer.

Copper tape around garden beds or individual plants works a treat. Cut the base off a plastic pot, affix copper tape to the top and place the ring around the plant. When the slug moves over the copper tape for a nibble, it’s pretty much goodnight.

The second trick is coffee. Yes sirree, molluscs go bananas at the thought of coffee. Dilute one-part strong filter coffee with 5 parts water in a spray bottle. Then just before nightfall, spray on or around prized plants. Never during the heat of the day, mind you – it’ll burn the plants.

You might find the third tactic, namely beer, a tough call. But snails, like people, are attracted to the aroma of yeast. At one of their favourite hangouts, dig a small hole. Set a cup half-filled with beer at a 45-degree angle with the lip at soil level. Easy to crawl into, but hard to escape! Soon, there’ll be long mollusc queues. This will be one happy hour they’d wish they never had.