Sometimes when I take my early morning walk to check out if there are any more new blooms on my clematis, or to check if the lettuce has grown since yesterday, I make the trip bare-footed. I make the circle to all of my little garden areas and then I end up on my back patio where, weather permitting, I finish off my second cup of coffee. It’s also where I had my first encounter this spring with Charlie. He was lying in the morning sun, taking a lazy position on the warm cement beside my chair and as luck would have it I stepped on the side of his creepy little body rather than flattening him completely out. I let out a little yell and shivered from head to toe, watching him hop out of sight underneath the boarded fence. Like mice and spiders, little creatures do not “scare” me, however I do not want any part of them touching any part of me. I sat and drank my coffee and sat quietly watching the area where I had seen the little toad escape my attack. A cardinal visiting at the feeder had diverted my attention for awhile and then I noticed over in the corner by the fountain that he had reappeared. He wasn’t bothered by me whatsoever and I didn’t run from him, so I think we made sort of a truce to be tolerant of each other’s existence, but we weren’t longing to be best friends either.
This was about a month ago and I must tell you I see this little guy every time I go outside. ( Now I know it’s probably not the same one, but don’t spoil my fun)
Anyway, if it is more than one then that would make mine one lucky garden.
Toads will eat thousands yes THOUSANDS, of insects, slugs and mosquitoes. And we all know these are predators in our yards and gardens. So I researched a little on “toad advantages” and found it would benefit all gardeners to harbor these little guys. All they really need and want is a little moist area to be able to hang out in and nature will supply them with all of their meals. So I found myself dragging a piece of an old log from the other side of my board fence, laying it on top of some shaded moist mulch and every so often when I am watering my plants I moisten the area around the log where Charlie can truly be comfy and call home.
I don’t use pesticides, so having a natural little fella “hunting down” those nasty bad guys is a big plus for this gardener.
For areas that Charlie can’t get to I will use a spray mixture I make myself every year, especially when the Japanese beetles pay their annual visit. Mix 1 part vinegar or ammonia, (which ever you have on hand) with 9 parts of water. Pour into a spray bottle. This mixture will discourage the unwanted visitors.
Crunched up egg shells ( I save several and then crush them with my rolling pin) applied around the base of your hibiscus plants and roses will also discourage slugs. An old gardening friend once told me the slugs eat the sharp little pieces of the egg shells and it destroys their insides. ( I know that doesn’t sound pretty, but have you seen what a slug can to a head of cabbage?) Also calcium found in an egg shell adds a natural benefit to the soil.
So, there you have it. An introduction to a new friend of mine and some helpful, natural ways to combat unwanted pests in your gardens.
I don’t have all of the answers. I’m not foolish enough to make that proclamation. However, through trial and error, reading lots of good material that is available on succesful gardening, and better yet, advice from many good friends who have been bitten by the infamous garden bug as well, I have been blessed with enjoying the fruits of my labor.
By the way, if Charlie visits your place this summer send him home before suppertime. He has PLENTY to eat over here