Mmh. Be careful what you wish for. I asked for rain. I asked for slugs. I asked for snails. I got them all. Last night was interesting. It was clear and cold, and droplets of water clinged to the edges and tips of leaves like pearls pinned to a forest tapestry. The tips of the leaves of the poppies had turned upwards towards the moon and the pearls seemed like they were being pulled out of the plant, and would any moment rise like bubbles in to the night air. Ah, the magic of the slug hunt. It prepared me for anything else that might follow. I didn’t go up to the patch the night before and I really paid the price. In the morning I found a slug walking away from two small, and now even smaller, defoliated poppies. Not a great loss but I think if I’d been more vigilant I probably could have removed the slug. There was also some small damage to the leaf of a bean plant, which was touching the dry rubble wall. Obviously an opportunistic slug. The worst of it though was a small row of carrot tops: gone. Now this was a bit unexpected and at first I put it down to the fact that there wasn’t any comfrey in this part of the garden…until…I looked more closely and noticed a trail of wasted carrot tops heading towards a gap between the dead hedges: mice! There’s a mouse hanging around my compost heap at the moment so its probably the same one. How do you deal with mice? Any ideas? You can mouse cage plants but you need a fine mesh to keep them out and I haven’t got any. Nor do I have traps. And I wont use poison. Anyway, I’ll re sow that line with something else and hope the other row of carrots survives. So after being lazy the previous night last night I made a real effort. I’d already located the bean eating snail and three others wandering around and moved them to a different part of the garden when I noticed a snail that just seemed to be sitting on the soil. I tugged at it thinking it would come up easy but I felt some resistance, and the most amazing thing happened. It gave a little cry. When I shone the torch down I could see that the snail had deposited a little cluster of eggs about 1cm underneath the soil. Perhaps it was halfway through the lay. If I had known I would have stopped and watched before lifting the snail. As it was, I’d found my first batch of snail eggs. They fascinated me. I lifted them all out, placed them on a piece of slate and brought them down to the house to take photos. I will upload them at some point but there’s something strange going on with my camera at the moment and I couldn’t get them on to the computer. The eggs also look like pearls, but very small ones. Perfectly round and white. They actually look quite special. Yesterday I also found a leaf with some butterfly eggs on and I’ll put that picture up as well. Good for identifying cabbage white problems. Anyhow, the discovery reminded me why hoeing is such an important part of the process, to disturb as many as the eggs as possible. I found about twenty eggs in the cluster, and who knows more could have been on the way. Slugs can reproduce at a fantastic rate. Hand picking really seems to work too both for identifying problems and for actual removal. Going up there this morning there’s no more damage. Its raining loads at the moment so we’ll see what tonight brings.