"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

Wednesday 25 November 2015


RMan and I, in our much younger days, enjoyed making garlic buttered escargot together in the kitchen for our dinner (served with a fresh crunchy french loaf to sop up all that garlic butter).  In our younger days...  Well, that was back in the late 70's / early 80's and escargot were all the rage then.

Since then we've seen how the "escargot" are harvested, and prepared, before being canned - and we're not so keen on partaking of that culinary morsel lol

We didn't realise that when we moved from our town house in Hout Bay, Cape Town, to our smallholding that we were also moving some unwelcome guests with us.

They hid in all the dark corners.

They hid under the rims of pot plants.

Because we moved at the end of June 2012 (mid-winter) they hid in the folds of a "Tradewinds" garden umbrella that hadn't been opened for months.

And they have spent the last 3-odd years multiplying.

There are just so many that you can satisfyingly stand on - and hear them crunch - knowing that they have been dispatched to wherever they go in their afterlife.

They were too big for the chickens - I tried to hand feed the chooks.  They had one investigatory peck and turned away.  No help from that quarter.

So, a-crunching RMan and I went after every little shower of moisture from the heavens.

Until this morning.

A friend of mine posted this on her facebook page: 
Eco-friendly "round up"
We have an ongoing weed problem in our fodder fields, so I made a mental note in order to share it with RMan.

This morning whilst RMan and I were sitting having our morning cuppa on the veranda I mentioned it to him.  He wondered whether it would actually work.  So, grabbing my vinegar spray bottle and bottle of bicarb from next to the kitchen sink, and, after mixing some bicarb and adding a few drops of dish washing liquid to the vinegar bottle, I proceeded to spray some weeds growing in front of our entrance steps.  We'll see later today if they were affected.

Update:  I can confirm that the vinegar, bicarb and dishsoap mixture kills weeds even better than boiling water :)
Pests came along to the small holding with all
the pot plants we brought with us
But, it was whilst I was doing that that I noticed these unwelcome guests roaming around.

So, I gave them a spray as well ;)
Spraying the vinegar, bicard and dish soap
mixture certainly affected them...
 It certainly caused them to foam.
... but didn't kill them
And some of them briefly exuded a yellow-ish green slime.

But it didn't kill them.

I don't know what made me run back into the kitchen and grab the bicarb bottle...
A sprinkle of bicarb...
 ... but, boy, did that ever work!  If a snail could roll over and die then these did!
... immediately made them "roll over" and die!
As you can see the snails are well and truly finished.

Now, that is an eco-friendly pest control that really works, will not harm our soil, does the job, and is cheap to use.

What more could I ask for?

I think I am rather going to try epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) instead of bicarb (sodium hydrogen carbonate) because it will add magnesium (which is beneficial to plant growth as it aids the production of chlorophyll and allows the plant to soak up phosphorus and nitrogen from the soil and does not build up in the soil over time) to the soil.  I have managed to find an epsom salt wholesaler in South Africa - even in Cape Town - which is certainly more convenient than having to get it sent to me from Gauteng lol.  Well, 2 hA (5 acres) is quite a large area to try and use a retail priced pest / weed control.

I am going to try it against cut worm too - they have successfully demolished all the swiss chard seedlings I planted, as well as the tomato seedlings - my tomato harvest this year is going to be very late...

For those in South Africa who would like the wholesalers links :

and, whilst I'm at it:

Diatomaceous Earth : http://www.eco-earth.co.za/


  1. I hope when I am reincarnated I don't come back as a snail around your place!

    I think my chickens eat slugs, but we don't have any snails here.

    1. Harry - Me too lol

      Nah, food security is more than ensuring that your dehydrated goods are rodent proof. Snail and slugs and cutworm can devastate a crop, and getting rid of them is paramount to the amount one can harvest. Dong that without poisoning the soil is what we're all about on our smallholding ;)

  2. I have exactly the same problem, I pull the snails off my yuccas like harvesting nuts, and they make exactly the same noise underfoot. My karma snailwise is pretty horrible, but the ants like it, and there's a little robin that follows me around the garden while I commit murder on a grand scale. Nice recipe, it's that or import some hadedahs from Joburg.

    1. PQSA - RMan reckons squashing them spreads their "eggs". Nope, although some hadedahs have traveled down the the WC - I'm not mad about them. They're too bloody noisy...! So I'm glad the bicarb / epsom salts is working.

    2. I must be the only one, but I love that flying vuvuzela noise, it really says Africa to me. But not early in the morning. This is disgusting, but there's one thing snails love more than your veg, and that's hadedah poo!

  3. I definitely need to try this weed killer, but I wonder at the recipe which says, "It will kill anything you spray it on." Does that means all the plants, including the ones I want to grow? I will be interested in results of your experiments.

    1. Leigh - Yup, it definitely kills EVERY plant it lands on, so, if you're wanting to spray weeds between veggies, then perhaps a fine, adjustable spray would help?


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