Who's leaving that silvery trail on what's left of your seedling? That'd be slugs and snails. These two diners can ruin your veggie patch completely if you're not watching.
Fortunately there are a number of remedies to get rid of slugs and the snails, so there is no need for despair.
Trap: Special traps can be bought, or you can just bury a saucer up to its rim for easy access, and fill it with beer. Snails and slugs will enjoy happy hour before moving on to greener pastures.
Bait: Slug and snail bait is available at your gardening store. Make sure that you select a brand that is safe for kids, cats and dogs. The bait breaks down into nutrients for the plants.
Copper: Copper strips can be attached to containers and pots, or small collars can be made for individual plants. These critters don't like copper and will go elsewhere. Copper won't kill them.
Shell grit: The slimy creatures don't like rough surfaces and materials that stick to them. Shell grit especially for this purpose is available for purchase. Ashes and saw dust also works.
Chooks: Chickens and vegetable gardens go together in many ways. Not only do the birds eat slugs, snails and caterpillars amongst other bugs, but they also fertilize as they go. Protect seedlings and fragile vegetables like lettuce or they'll get scratched.
Lizards: Large lizards such as the australian blue-tongue lizards love to kill snails and slugs.
Children: Send the kids out after dark with a torch, a bucket and a promise of generous rewards. It works for a while.
Hedgehogs: If you have hedgehogs in your garden you have helpers who kill slugs and snails for a snack.
More predators: Frogs, ducks, many other birds, centipedes, foxes, rodents, marsh flies, nematodes, ground beetles and toads.
Did you know that Leopard Slugs with a top speed of 6 inches/hour will chase and eat other slower slugs? Something to watch if you have a spare afternoon.