Newbie Tomato questions

I have three questions regarding tomato plants. 1.) One of my plants has lower leaves that are curling up/in and are beginning to look shriveled. On the same plant, the upper leaves are cupping down, forming a dome which would work well as a mouse umbrella. Are the two items related? Should I be concerned?
2.) Yesterday I was pawing through the mulch around the plants, and found several very small snails near the base of the stems. I tossed them out of the plant bed just in case they were dangerous. Anyone have advice regarding these critters?
3.)I live in the Atlanta area, and these are my first attempts at tomato plants. It's been more rainy than usual over the past month, and the moisture seems to be trapped under the bark mulch and on top of the lovely clay I have to plant in (I'm sure why the snails were there). Is this moisture-trapping detrimental to the plants?
Thanks for all help! Jessica
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Jessica) wrote in message

Snails have a hard shell. I assume what you are referring to is slugs. They look like a snail except they do not have a shell. Bark mulch is a magnet for slugs because they need moisture and cannot tolerate sunlight because it dries them out. Left untreated, they will be detrimental to your plants and lawn.
You need to remove the bark mulch. I believe Atlanta gets enough rain that you do not need a ground cover to retain moisture. If you are doing it for weed control, you might consider other alternatives.
The South's red clay is a very fertile soil - it sure has grown tons of cotton, soy beans, and peanuts! To keep it loose for a garden requires mixing with other soils like compost and sand. After a couple of years of working in this mixture, you'll have a nice loose garden that will grow anything you want. If your property had been farmed in the past, you should also consider getting a soil sample tested to see what nutrients and conditioning your soil needs.
Good luck with your gardening.
Bob S. (in Alabama)
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Bob S.) wrote in message

Thanks for the reply. They were very small snails, the size one often finds in aquariums. While growing tomatos/veggies without Mom and Grandpa doing the work "for me" is a new experience, gardening in general is not, I do know the differece between the slow-and-slimy-ones (one of first memories is "melting" invading slugs with salt, with my grandfather).
since I posted, I have done further research regarding snails and the lower-leaf curls, so I believe I have likely answers to those questions. I am still looking for information on the upper leaves curling under, however.
My area does not hitorically get a great deal of rain during the summer, the past month being a bit odd in my experience. If I remove the mulch (which my landlord put down--I rent) then the minute our odd weather goes back to normal, the soil will be caked and cracked and dry, past gardens have taught me that much. However--would clearing the immediate tomato area of the mulch be useful? I could then push it back in as the weather inevitably dries up.
I am in a firmly suburban area, I am just fortunate enough to have a small patch outside our building in which our landlord allows us to plant. The previous residents obviously had some sort of garden in the area I am planting in, though I would guess it was a flower garden, as the perimeter of the bed still has a few day lilies and miscellaneous flowers in it.
Again, any imput is appreciated!
Jessica Atlanta suburbanite
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