Slugs and snails are extremely fond of most tender young plants, and can easily destroy entire plantings, leaving behind a wake of ragged and chewed foliage.
Here are some practical solutions to snail and slug infestations in your backyard habitat:
• Place flat boards near your plants. The slimy critters will hide under them to avoid sunlight, at which point you can lift the boards and move the slugs to a new residence. You might also place hollow, upside-down grapefruit or orange halves in a likely spot in the evening. Next morning, collect the slugs and snails hiding underneath.
• To avoid attracting snails and slugs, do not lay mulch down until plants are well established, or until the temperature is over 21 C.
• Spread powdered ginger around plants. Slugs and snails won't cross over it.
• Make a tantalizing trap by mixing about 500 mg of brown sugar with a half package of dry yeast in a large plastic jug. Fill the jug with warm water and let it ferment uncovered for a day or two. Pour 2 cm or 3 cm of this concoction into a shallow dish (pie tins or empty tuna-fish tins work well). In a shaded spot, place the dish in soil so the rim is at ground level. Every few days, empty out the drowned slugs and refill the trap. This method should be used only as a last resort. Other beneficial creatures, such as centipedes, may be drowned along with the snails and slugs.