MAKING A GARDEN TOAD HABITAT
In the last couple Spring seasons I have made articles about inviting "garden friends" into our yards, one specifically for song birds, common birds found in many areas that help our gardening efforts and bring enjoyment. I have also mentioned the gardeners greatest friend, the garden toad. In my part of the country they are simply called Western Toads, and have a bumpy textured skin with spots and mottling. Their color changes to suit their environment. In the eastern US there is the American Toad. The habits of the toads are very much alike. Toads hibernate in the winter. They dig down quite deep with their hind feet. They come out in Spring, finding a larger body of water to lay eggs in and then return to the habitat they call home. Toads live in one place their whole life, if it provides for their needs. They are long lived, have been documented to be over 30 yrs old.
This a young little toad with nice markings, who was the first one to come to the big Toad Pond after I made it. My experience is that: BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME!
Over 25 yrs of building toad habitats, one or many have always showed up. I have lived in rural settings, which helps, but toads will be found in surprising places.
I recently did a Garden Toad Habitat Workshop at Spring Hill Nursery. This was so wonderful and well received. At the nursery everything that was needed
for the project was also available.
In time I plan to have a more complete tutorial on building your own Toad Hall. There is a little bit about it at the end of this tutorial.
These are the things that make up a Toad Habitat. 1. A TOAD "POND" Made from a pot tray 12" in diameter or larger. 2. A TOAD HOUSE 3. VEGETATION . Nice additions are: Stones, solar lights, and decorative plants.
Dig out the place where the little toad soaking pond is going.
Settle the little pond into the ground so it is level and does not move. This type of pot tray that is about 3 " deep is readily found at garden centers or hardware stores. Clay pot trays will also work, or any large shallow container.
Here flat rocks are set around the dish to help hold it in place and look attractive in the garden. Easy access to the little pond is important to keep in mind while making the toad area.
Now the home made Toad house is settled into the ground. A top coat of soil amendment used as mulch as been added. This will help keep the ground moist and suppress weeds.
About 3 days after we made this area, one of the toads in the yard came to visit. This is Jed. We name all our toads.
More rocks and gravel , or solar light, which will attract flying insects which the toads will eat, have been added. Also some Gnome came to admire the new area!
With the materials at hand this little project only took a couple hours. Inviting toads to the yard is a generous and enjoyable thing to do. Toad habitat has disappeared like wildlife habitat everywhere. Their wetlands and tree piles are taken by human development. Toad populations have decreased for many reasons and by creating habitats for them it helps their species survive as well as immensely helping control insect pests.
Making a toad house is easy. The classic toad house is a flower pot turned upside down. A door can be cut in it or a hole dug under the lip for the toad to crawl in.
My first toad houses , which I made in the 70's, were upside down Terra Cotta pots with a chink knocked out. Over the years I began making more elaborate ones out of wood, metal and stone. This is a biodegradable flower pot made from rice hulls and bamboo waste, a metal 2qt. funnel (with it's spout rolled down ) and little sign.
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