Since retiring I have taken on the snails and slugs with a renewed vigour. Each day I go around the garden with a couple of trowels on the lookout. Any I find - and I apologise here because the next bit is not pretty - I destroy them. At first I was getting rid of 50-60 a day! We had a BIG problem with them. Now I only get 10-15 which is a big improvement and also the veggies are suffering much less damage so something is working. I prefer to avoid chemicals but at first the quantity was such that I set up a bucket of salt water and condemned them to the bucket which I kept adding to for 5 or 6 weeks before pouring the contents onto the compost heap. They are now part of the compost of life. Poetic? There is no nice way to deal with them and if you deter them, then when you let your defences down they come at you in greater numbers.
For a number of years my wife has blamed all the veggie damage on the slugs and I have always said that some is just bad press. I am not sticking up for them! However this year I have cut up 2 litre pop bottles and made sleeves to start all the brassicas in and the difference has been fantastic - we have hardly lost one. It was the birds all along. I want the birds in the garden as they will take many insects, but I need to protect each individual plant that would otherwise be vulnerable. We have a cat - well most of a cat. Pud has no tail after a car accident as a pup and he lost other bits as well at the hands of the vet who said it would keep him off the road. The vet also said it would make him fat and lazy. How right he was! Pud sleeps on the grass while the blackbirds come within six feet - singing and he sleeps on! He counts among the pests and I have to put twigs across newly dug areas - well he's too lazy to dig for himself!