Category Archives: garden

Toad House

When we were turning the garden beds last week, my husband found a toad. There’s an old wives tale that having toads in your garden are lucky, which probably stems from the fact that they eat tons of bugs that would otherwise destroy your plants.

One of the best ways to encourage toads to make their homes in your garden is to create a toad house. After checking out some gardening web sites and amazon, and finding a few cute houses (none under $40 that I liked), I found this post which described how to make your own. It’s simple; take an old terracotta planter, epoxy small smooth stones to one half, bury it in the ground, and make sure there’s a nearby water source.

I announced to my four-year-old daughter that we were going to make our own toad house, and she was excited to help pick out the stones. (She chose the orange ones).

Click over to the original post for materials and instruction, courtesy Diane Rixon.

 Our version:

I found that working from bottom up was best. Also, a quick-setting epoxy set quicker, but is a pain to mix and spread on both the stone and the pot.

Small stones with one flat side seem to work best, and the flat, brightly-colored stones seemed to set better than the small river stones. I may make another one as a gift, but I’ll use a smaller pot (I picked a 14″ one and it seems a bit big) and I’ll definitely use brightly colored stones.

In all, the kids are excited about watering the ‘toad pool’ and keeping an eye out for a new friend. I hope we make his acquaintance again soon.

First Harvest

Since the chipmunks dispatched the sugar pea plant, we have been waiting for our first beans and zucchini. Today the kids got to help pick them. They ate the first beans immediately (thank God we garden organically) so there are a few missing.

And here are the boys, doing what they do best; helping screen compost.

Making our beds

In case you haven’t heard, I’m the birdshit-tomato girl.

Last year I read a book on Square Foot Gardening. Great book, good reference information.

I bought containers, mixed my peat and vermiculite and compost, planted my tomatoes and basil. And watered. And fertilized. And waited.

A bird ate a tomato and shit the seed into the ground while flying over our yard. It landed under some ivy and trees and took root.

We got more tomatoes off of the birdshit tomato plant than all of my plants combined. I was irritated and decided I couldn’t garden. So I had no plans to plant this year.

Until George decreed that he would take over. Fine. I’ll weed and water and turn the compost pile and pluck rocks, but I’m not making any decisions that would inhibit the growth of plants.

We decided to do raised beds. So after clearing out a few (OK, eight) trees, hundreds of pounds of English ivy, brush and brambles, we cleared a spot for our garden.

George tilled

Then we raked and shoveled raised beds

And Stella tried to eat rocks

I screened some compost… which looks phenomenal, if I may say so.

So now we widen the beds a bit, put up the fencing and plant. Tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, beans, zucchini, and maybe some red peppers. And basil and parsley and a few wildflowers and flowering perennials to encourage bees and butterflies.

I’m looking forward to it. As long as the birds don’t try to show me up again.