Now that the weather is warming up there are loads more snails and slugs appearing on the plot and for an organic gardener they can be a real pain to deal with. The ice and snow in winter normally kills a lot of the eggs that will have been brought to the surface by digging in autumn, but I'm a bit worried this year because it just doesn't seem to have been cold enough. I've got a terrible feeling that as it gets warmer I'm going to be absolutely swamped.
Both snails and slugs can be terribly destructive but I've got a real soft spot for snails and can't stand to kill them even if I find them munching through some prize produce. So what's my answer? My plot backs onto some woods so I just collect them all in a bucket as I find them and put them over the fence to fend for themselves. I have to admit that I'm not so fond of slugs but even they just get evicted rather than exterminated and, as they make a juicy snack for the toads and newts who inhabit my plot, I've got to leave a few hanging around to keep them happy.
I've come to accept that slugs and snails mean that there are some things that I just can't grow at the allotment. They love salad leaves so they've been shifted to the back garden where I can keep a closer eye on them - they're better closer to the kitchen anyway so that we can pick them when we want them and they're fresh as possible. Spinach is a no go as well and I tend not to plant anything straight into the ground but I've found that if plants are big enough and strong enough when they're put outside they can usually put up with a certain amount of nibbling.