snail ranching

rick valley bamboogrove at cmug.com
Sat Jun 17 16:00:04 EDT 2000


>The land is pretty wild, and maybe the snails couldn't
>stand up to natural predators not present in sheltered town gardens.
The European Brown Garden Snail, Helix aspersa, seems to do better where the
calcium level is high; some urban soils I've had tested in lime-lacking W.
Oregon are over-abundant in Ca; I assume it's the concrete and fertilizing
that causes that. I have seen very few non-urban snail populations of
non-native snails. One rural are that has recently (>25yrs.) had a snail
population develop is Orcas Is., which formerly hosted limestone mining.
(Geologically it's a terrane that was built in warmer climes and rafted in to
N. America) On Cortes Is. BC, at a garden on Linnea Farm, non-native Brown
Lipped Snails crawl up to driveway pot holes filled with oyster shells that
the traffic crushes. The snails then get crushed, too; the chickens find them
a tasty snack. Random design at its finest!
Mulch shelters Carabid beetles that eat gastropod eggs so that could be one
interaction countering snails in a fertile garden.
I got an assortment of snail references from AgAccess in Davis CA some years
back, unfortunately they're packed right now. But yes- if you could get paid
to gather snails, then feed 'em up on goodies from your garden. Of course
they are illegal in Oregon...
And there are snail species that could be raised for their shells alone-
speaking as a childhood naturalist who has noticed  the decline in quality
and diversity of mollusk shells offered for sale in curio shops... some are
very pretty and/or endangered.
I like snails- when 3-4 years old I once went out to the vacant land behind
where we lived and stripped, and caught many snails, and placed them all over
my nekkid body, just for the sensation. Blew mum's mind. How could I ever eat
one? 
-Rick

Rick Valley Northern Groves 
PO Box 1236, Philomath, OR 97370 
Mobile-(541)602-1315, hm.& msg. (541)929-7152  Bamboo catalog $3 or at 
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"Useful Bamboos and other plants‹ Permaculture education‹ Ecological design &
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