Yesterday Lizzie and I found a little American toad hopping around in our grass. Never having seen a real live toad Lizzie was pretty excited, and so was I! We immediately caught it up and transferred it to the carrot patch where I've seen numerous garden snails and other pests that make tasty toad-treats. I was hoping the toad would make a home of my organic garden, and sure enough he was still there this morning.
"Let's make a toad house!" I said to Lizzie and "YEAH!" was her immediate enthusiastic reply. I rummaged through a pile of old clay pots, found a hammer and we smashed a side off each pot and had instant toad homes.
You can buy toad homes online and spend around $20 for each house. Or you can knock a small opening in the side of a clay pot, or even stack a few bricks to make a small shelter. Toads will be attracted to the shelter, use it during the day and claim it as their territory coming back year after year. Each night one toad can eat up to 100 slugs, grubs, grasshoppers, tomato beetles, cutworms...anything you don't want eating your garden. The tadpoles also eat mosquito larvae! And the average adult toad can live for nearly a decade, that's a nice family pet you don't have to feed or take for walks.
So give your toads some houses and enjoy their stay in your garden. Lizzie's already moved the houses around three times this morning and can't go a minute without looking to see if anyone moved in. I'm trying to explain to her that she should leave them alone so the toads don't get afraid and move out. But you try explaining that to a curious two-year-old.
Lake Padden, a month later
2 hours ago