At a snail’s pace
Tuesday April 17th 2007, 6:40 pm
Filed under: My Garden,Non-Knitting

Not long after we moved here, our ancient Gravenstein apple trees were dying of old age, and I bought every kind of apple I could find in the markets to decide what to replace them with.

And so we planted a Fuji tree, a variety that was pretty new at the time.

It grew well enough right away, and we’d been told we would have apples by the second year. The third, fourth, fifth years went by, the tree branched out beautifully, but where were my apples?

Till one morning, quite early, I happened to go in the back yard. Now, of all the pests imported to a place they don’t belong, with the original intention of providing food (or whatever) to the new settlers there–snails? Someone couldn’t live without their escargots?? And so California is besieged by snails and slugs with no predators (they’re not dumb), and, lo and behold, my Fuji was in flower: and there was a whole herd of snails and slugs sliming back down the trunk at daylight, with a few still munching on apple blossoms before calling it a night.

I read recently that they won’t climb over broken eggshells. Makes sense. I mentioned this to someone buying a 25 lb box of snail poison in the hardware store, and he listened sympathetically, but exclaimed, “Lady–I’d have to open a restaurant!” to get enough eggshells.

I’ve been baking a bit lately–it’s appleblossom time.

5 Comments so far
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Good luck – I hope the egg shells work. They also won’t crall over salt although that could be a problem for the soil unless you put something down. Also they won’t crawl over copper I hear. You can get copper tape at the gardening store and maybe you could wrap a bit of that around the bottom of the trunk? I hope you get some apples this year!

Comment by Allison 04.17.07 @ 7:09 pm

Slugs & snails won’t crawl over a number of sharp things, but if you put a little bowl of beer on the other side, they’ll cross over it anyway. …I’ve learned very strange things from my friend’s grandmother.

Good luck with the apples!

Comment by Amy 04.18.07 @ 7:08 am

Rofl! Okay, I gotta tell you this one. Someone told my mother-in-law, years ago, that if you recessed a bowl into the ground in your garden and filled it with beer, all the slugs and snails would crawl into it and drown (happily, no doubt). I rather imagine she was glad she lived in one of the last dry towns in Maryland; being a good little Mormon, she had to drive out to where someone didn’t know her to buy the stuff to try it out.

She forgot (? Oh, I dunno?) to tell her kids. Her oldest got home from school, walked into the kitchen, saw what was still at that point sitting on the table, and could you just see her face as she went, “Mommmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Comment by AlisonH 04.18.07 @ 10:24 am

I’ve read that snails and slugs won’t cross a copper barrier.

Comment by terri 04.20.07 @ 9:39 am

I’ve heard that too. I’m just afraid, if I put a copper wire around, of forgetting it and having it eventually cause problems as the tree grew. I thought about putting pennies around the base, but I’m not sure if there’s enough copper in them these days to work. I figured the eggshells were certainly biodegradeable and harmless and at the same time not something to entice the wildlife to come snack on. So the eggshells won.

Comment by AlisonH 04.20.07 @ 11:53 am

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