Plants growing

The Amazing Mr. Toad

Toads are totally beneficial little creatures. I can’t think of a thing they do, which isn’t agreeable to me. Even their nocturnal call is a pleasant springtime sound on our farm.  Youtube: Song of the Fowler Toad. Every gardener should encourage the toad to reside in their garden.

Many mornings, when I first step outside to start chores, I encounter a toad, hunting crickets and moths by our back door. I can’t help myself, every time I see a toad I murmur, “The Amazing Mr. Toad!” I picked up this habit over 36 years ago, during our first year of marriage, when Jerreth and I read Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Though anthropomorphized, I have to say that Grahame’s charming character, Mr. Toad, fits the real life animal well enough that I will never be able to look at a toad, without that phrase running through my head!

“The toad has indeed no superior as a destroyer of noxious insects, and he possesses no bad habits and is entirely inoffensive himself, every owner of a garden should treat him with utmost hospitality. (from An Island Garden)”

(Celia Thaxter, American poet (born 7/28/1835)

4 Reasons Why You Should Like Having Them in your Garden

  1. Toads eat a large amount of insects, bugs and slugs.

  2. They’re great garden companions. They are both cute and comical. Toads are entertaining, especially for one has read The Wind in the Willows!

  3. Toads are pretty good environmental indicators. Actually most amphibians are. If you have pesticide contamination on your place, especially in the water, you probably won’t see them. They’re susceptible to contamination.

  4. Healthy soil has life in it. Though much of it is microscopic, I am always encouraged when I find larger forms of life in my soil. I remember forking about 3 square feet of my garden, one chilly Thanksgiving and finding a baby box turtle, a skink and a sleepy toad, all within five minutes! (Because I forked instead of using a rototiller, they were all fine.)

What Can You Do to Encourage Them in Your Garden?

  • Mulch and leave cover for them. During the day they LOVE to hang out under mulch.

  • Avoid pesticides.

  • Make sure that some water is available, even if it’s just a very small pet feed dish. Be careful that you don’t set something out , that’s too deep and steep, which will trap and drown them.

  • Keep rototiller activity to a minimum.

Related article: Snakes in the Garden

 

 

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