Recently slugs and snails have come to my attention – who would have thought? I always have a problem with them when I mulch with oak leaves, or wood mulch because it seems to give them safe places to stay when it’s hot and dry. Some things you need to know to outsmart these guys. They build their own highways – those silvery trails they leave behind – that smooth the way for their travels to dinner (your plants). Did you know that it takes about 15 days for a snail to travel a mile? Slugs can do it in only eight days having no shell to slow them down. They cannot stand dry conditions and they do not like to crawl on things that hurt their soft bellies. A little barrier of sand, wood ashes, cinders or slaked lime around your plant bed can often deter them. They like to feed at night mainly and look for places to shelter during the day. So give them some places to hide like a shingle or something similar and surprise them during the day and finish them off. They like a more acid soil too so if you can get some worm castings or other additive that make the soil less acid they will prefer to go elsewhere. Some experts say that the slugs prefer wilted weeds to growing plants, and who doesn’t have some weeds around to lay in their path. And if all else fails, get some snail bait at the garden store. It works fairly well . My info comes from the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, copyright 1959 (but slugs haven’t changed much since then).