For those who missed my detailed history of How I Became A Snail Hunter --
the first season I planted lettuce, chard, etc. in Berkeley, I harvested very little of it due to snail/slug damage. I thought the slugs were completely gross, and was of course still under the spell of snail shells being mathematically elegant in their whorls. (The shells *are* elegant...but )
The second season, I had now worked to make compost, dug it into the ground, carefully selected varieties of lettuce, chard, bush beans, and tomatoes to plant in our itty-bitty plot of earth (in retrospect, maybe 15' x 10'?).
So every single plant was important.
*This* was the time when I decided to be my own judge, jury, and executioner of these gross gastropods ("stomach on feet" is what it means, and boy! is it right). I couldn't bring myself to stomp on 'em, not that year; I used the trowel and then washed it off after every foray.
The third year was Nellie Bar The Door. Stomp, smash w/trowel, keep a running count.
After that, I didn't even count them anymore, not in Berkeley. Just returned 'em very quickly to Mother Nature.
When we moved here, I had had a car accident not too long before, so when I tried gardening the first full summer we were here, it was just too difficult. However, I still smashed snails/slugs whenever the chance presented itself from then (1998) until last year (2008), when I was finally able to consider gardening--and Snail Hunting--again.
BTW, I'm not *frustrated* any more about snail/slug predation! If I see such damage nowadays, I know that there are gastropods about. I do a Search and Destroy, and I've found them in the weirdest places....but I do find them. (wicked laugh here...)
Oh, yes: 23 snails, 1 slug last night--I've kept a running count in the Snail Hunting thread.