snails! in my tomatoes

my buddy (!) gave me some orchids and one had a snail in it and now i see snail trails in my tomatoe plants. my dad used to put moth balls around the pool to keep the slugs out of the pool, so i put some moth balls in my tomatoe (container outdoors in an urban fire escape garden) plants. i don't exactly see them clawing their way at a breakneck pace out of the pots, but i guess they move kinda slow.
any wards, er words, of wisdom regarding this practice? bettter ways to off the slugs? are they a true threat, or not so malignant a threat?
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Daniel Glazer wrote:

Yes, snails are a potential problem. Not sure about the effectiveness of moth balls.
If you think there are only a few, you can go out just after dark and you'll find them in an around the plant. Just pick them off and throw them far far away (into the yard of the neighbour you can't stand perhaps...works for me :)
You can deter them all season with a bit of mulch at the bottom of the plant, placed at least a foot in diameter from the base of the plants (or a foot out from any leaves that touch the ground). The mulch also prevents soil getting splashed onto the leaves, which often transfers soil borne diseases. You need to check the plant (as above) after you put in the mulch to ensure you didn't trap any snails inside the quarantine zone.
Make sure you use mulch and not chips or nuggets. The mulch tears up the soft underbellies of slugs and snails and they won't cross it. There are other solutions like traps, copper and DE, but mulch is the cheapest and least labour intensive of all of them.
..
Zone 5a in Canada's Far East.
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On Thu, 06 Jul 2006 10:08:59 -0230, cloud dreamer

..if you have wimpy-ass Canadian slugs.
My red-necked Southern slugs pick their teeth...or what passes for teeth---with mulch.
Penelope
--
"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < snipped-for-privacy@everybodycansing.com>
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LOL So true! Mine cross everything to get what they want.
Kimberly knows about the dirty south
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My experience is that fine mulch reduces the number of snails and slugs but nothing replaces going out at night (and at different times) with a flashlight and taking matters into your own hands.
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Beer.
--
Peace!
Om

"My mother never saw the irony in calling me a Son of a bitch"
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wrote:

Slugs and snails aren't the same thing, but both will eat a hole in your tomatoes. There are safe, effective snail baits on the market, both organic and non-organic. Or, since it sounds like your tomatoes are in pots, you can put a board or an upside down egg carton beside and in the pots. The slugs and snails will crawl under the cartons and boards during the day, and can be removed from the plants and destroyed.
Penelope
--
"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < snipped-for-privacy@everybodycansing.com>
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excellent, you guys and gals are great! thanks for the info. boards sound good. would Neem work? i'll try the boards first, a safe, organic way to go. thanks again.
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moved the (potted) plants around, away from the orchids (that housed the slugs, it seems) and picked out a couple laggards, and (it seems) problem solved! yeah! i get to drink the beer myself!
thanks for all your support, trestles!
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