Slugs & Snails

All creatures have a role to play.
As most gardeners have experienced at one time or another, slugs and snails can be challenging. Wonderful for wildlife but less so for the plants! The disappointment of finding disappearing seedlings after so much effort to bring them into life can be very disheartening. As a biodynamic farm we are naturally very aware of the need for biodiversity, mindful that all creatures have a role to play.

These bronze garden tools are not a magic solution or a definitive deterrent. However we have been using the tools at Waltham Place for many years now and we find that the amount of slug and snail damage has reduced in our gardens. This has also been the experience that we find from customers who have reported that using the tools has the effect of a slug barrier and deterrent.

This is a short insight by Jane Cobbald into perhaps why gardeners find the influence of copper in the garden helpful. You can read further thoughts in her booklet The story of copper garden tools.

“We live in the Earth’s magnetic field, which is sustained by the movement of the relatively high iron content in the Earth’s mantle. Any piece of iron can have its own magnetic field. The metal copper, on the other hand, is non-magnetic and highly electrically conductive.

We, and all other mammals, have iron in our blood. That is why our blood is red. It enables each of us to have our own independent magnetic field, anchored on our blood.

Slugs and snails do not have iron in their blood. Their blood contains haemocyanin, based on copper. This means that they do not have an independent magnetic field. As copper is conductive, they are highly sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field. As they move along the ground, they are subject to the lines of magnetic force generated by the rotating core of the Earth.

Now, imagine that a diligent gardener has carefully transplanted their lettuce seedlings, using an iron tool. As the tool turned the soil, it left its magnetic signature. When night falls, the slugs and snails start on their slimy way, following the lines of force that they detect on the soil surface. When they reach this disturbance around the transplanted lettuces, they are forced to stop. They do not know where to go – the signal is not clear. They have to wait, and while they wait, they get hungry. And there go the lettuces. Using a copper tool leaves no magnetic disturbance, so there is nothing to attract the slimy molluscs.”

Customer feedback

“I needed to prepare a bed for my French Beans which was weedy and had two plastic bags of leaves on it, gathered last Autumn. There were a lot of large slugs under them which I left where they were. I weeded in my usual way using an iron fork where necessary for deep rooted weeds. I then cultivated using a copper cultivator and a copper rake. This was all done on very dry soil.

“Next day I planted some Swiss Chard. The following day there was no slug damage so I planted my French Beans. This was all about 10 days ago and there is still no slug damage to be seen!”

Mike Spence

“I have been using PKS Copper gardening tools for 6 years (I think it is that) and I really love these tools – excellent for delicate weeding with really comfortable handles and sharp ‘digging deep’ bespoke designs. I remember reading with my daughter about the Egyptians when she was young and we discovered that they also used copper for their garden tools. I highly recommend these tools and they do seem to keep the slugs and snails away too.”

Kate Doubleday

“..trialled in tunnels – noticed a large reduction in slugs & snails – now in 4th year.”

Handley Organics

“As a keen veg grower cursed with slugs the size of fat mice, I was amazed to find that working the soil and weeding with your tools really did cut down the ravages of our slimy friends but the best bonus came when I used the shovel for mixing potting compost. I own and run a small nursery, singlehanded and using as few chemicals as I can. Since using your shovel for compost mixing the health and vigour of the plants is improved and they seem less liable to attacks from slugs and snails. My customers are happy too, telling me my plants grow away strongly when planted out, much better than others bought elsewhere.”

Dinah Lindon-Critchley

“I have bought from you before. I’ve experimented growing salad leaves in my clay soil and am astonished that the slugs have not decimated the crop. Hoping that weeding with a hoe will prolong the effect.”

Louise Cartledge