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close this bookBetter Farming Series 33 - Farming Snails 1: Reaming about Snails; Building a Pen; Food and Shelter Plants (FAO, 1986, 57 p.)
close this folderHow to begin
View the documentChoose a place on your land to put your snail farm
View the documentClean the site and prepare the ground

Clean the site and prepare the ground

86. Clean the site and prepare the ground a little before the growing season so that you can build the pen in time to plant the food and shelter plants.

87. First, mark out a square of 8 x 8 metres on the place that you have chosen.

Mark and clear the 8 x 8 metre square

88. That way, with a pen of 5 x 5 metres in the centre of the square, you will have a path of 1.5 metres all the way around it (see Item 92). If you have enough land, the path can be even wider.

89. Clear the square of trees, bushes grass, creeping grass and weeds. Take away all of the roots and the big stones that you can.

Take away roots and big stones

90. Spread the plant material that you have cleaned evenly on the ground and cover the whole square. If there is not enough, bring more plant material from another place.

Cover the square with plant materials

91. When the plant material is dry, burn it. This will kill the insects, the weed seeds and the roots of creeping grass, and rid the ground of mice, rats and shrews.

Burn the plant materials

Insecticides and poisons can also be used to rid your pen of insects, mice, rats and other enemies of snails. However, if you use them, do not use them by yourself because they are very dangerous. Ask someone who knows how to use them, such as your extension agent.

92. Now mark out a smaller square of 5 x 5 metres inside the big square. This is for your first snail pen.

Mark the 5 x 5 metre square

93. Dig the ground in the smaller square to a depth of 20 centimetres and turn it over well. As you dig, remove any rubbish or roots that you find.

Dig in the ground

94. While you are digging, if you see any more insects or any of the enemies of snails, bring more dry plant material and burn the ground again. To farm snails, the area must be free of insects, mice, rats and other enemies.

95. When you have finished digging, the ground in the 5 x 5 metre square should be as smooth and well worked as it would be if you were planting a vegetable garden.

The 5 x 5 metre square should be smooth

96. However, do not use any fertilizer, animal manure or compost as you might with a vegetable garden. Fertilizers may burn the snails and animal manure or compost may bring in insects and weed seeds.