"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Speedy report back at snails pace

My apologies for not replying to your comments until today - the entire area's internet has been down since Sunday lunchtime...

On Friday last week I posted about using used coffee grounds to deter garden pests.


They work!  They definitely work against snails and slugs.

And I have proof!

It rained over the weekend, and that always brings the snails out for a forage of my seedlings - summer and winter - our snails don't take a break in winter, unfortunately.

T'was late at night when I hopped outside to see if the coffee grounds were working.  Picture me - standing there in the rain, with my jersey over my head (well, I had just washed my hair, and rain + freshly washed hair = frizz), camera in one hand and torch in the other...

I immediately I spotted two snails on my SIP's (sub-irrigated planters).  (I'm having to grow my town veg and salads in them as the roots from our neighbours trees have become so totally invasive.)

I was entranced.

Forget the rain - forget the hair.  All I was worried about at that stage was whether the batteries in my camera and torch would last.

Both these these fellows had had a sample of what lay in their path ahead, and it would appear that neither of them liked it too much.
Snail # 1 making a u-turn
 They both had a brief visit before scarpering off quickly.
Snail # 2 also turning round to
escape the coffee grounds
 This little guy was braver, he went a little further...
But he still turned round hee hee 
 ... right across the whole box.  But...
Nope - not interested in munching anything
... he didn't sample a single broad bean nor pea seedling.  Not One!

I have a couple of pots on my back patio (my winter nursery area) which contain more pea seedlings.  I decided to play devil's advocate.

There was a juicy looking snail making it's way towards the pots.  I plucked him off and shoved him into the pot - on the coffee grounds laden soil and amongst the peas.
Aren't I nasty - but it was all in the name
of my experiment, and no snail was harmed
in the course of it
 He toddled around briefly, investigating this and that...
Will he or won't he take a munch?
 ... before making a bee line (or should that be a muscous snail line) towards the pot edge.
Lemme outta here!
 He couldn't wait to escape the coffee grounds!
Another one lives to be frog / tabakrolletjie food
On inspection the next morning, NOT one single seedling had been munched. Not one!  And- today there is still no sign of any damage - 4 days later! Whooooopeeeeeeeee!

So - used coffee grounds definitely work on keeping snails at bay.  Stay tuned till after the Easter weekend to find out if it works on the ants....


  1. Well that's good to know, I might have to try that myself...hurray for coffee grounds.

    1. Mr H - I don;t know how much coffee you drink - perhaps a restaurant / coffee shop in your closest town would oblige?

  2. I think I hear the sound of teenytiny voices saying, "Ptoooie!!"

  3. Well yea!! It is always great to win a round with the garden pests. Enjoy the victory.

  4. I wonder what it is they don't like about the grounds. Maybe smell? Taste? It tickles their underside?

    1. David - I think I read that they don't like slithering over it.

  5. Replies
    1. FCH - it was, and I'm so happy it works.

  6. Fantastic news on the snails - I'll be holding thumbs on the ants!

    1. EB - I'll let you all know :)

  7. I need to go talk to my local coffee shop and get some grinds. I'll have a slugfest going on once I plant the beans. Thanks for the experiment!

  8. Thank you for the tip - we are inundated with slugs and snails.
    Love from Mum

    1. Mum - It works - but you have to re-apply it every couple of days or so ;)


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;)