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May 11th, 2011

Last year Mr Chiots and I installed a small pond in our garden. We filled it with goldfish and surrounded it with rocks and plants. Sadly our fish didn’t make it last summer but we did see the occasionally toad soaking in the pond. We let the leaves collect in the pond over the winter to get a good layer of natural muck in it before adding some new fish this spring. We figured this would make the water more like regular pond water. So far it seems to be working as our fish have survived longer than they did last year (last year they got the ick).

When I was out looking at the pond a week ago I noticed toad tadpoles – or toadpoles as we call them. It’s super excited to see the pond swimming with thousands of these little guys. Why was I so excited to see so many toadpoles?

Toads are one of the best forms of “organic” pest control that you can have in the garden. They eat slugs and many other common garden pests. When we first moved in, our garden were infested with slugs and earwigs. We didn’t want to use any chemicals, so layed a few boards in the flowerbeds to attract toads. The next year we saw a big toad and ever since then I rarely see a slug or an earwig.

To encourage toads to move into your garden place a few large flat rocks or small boards in your flowerbeds. Installing a small pond will also attract not only them but other beneficial things as well, like birds. Of course you’ll want fish to keep the mosquitos at bay. You don’t necessarily need the pond, but it sure does help if they have a spot to reproduce.

Toads appreciate moisture all season long, so if you make sure you have moist areas for them to encourage them to stick around. Perhaps you can keep one area of your garden watered more than others, add some water loving plants. You can also install simple water features for toads, beneficial insect and birds by placing a pot saucer on the ground filled with river stones. Make sure you dump out the water and add fresh each week to keep mosquitos from breeding (although mosquitos feed bats, hummingbirds and other animals so I don’t worry too much about them either).

Be warned, if you use any kind of treatment for slugs, even “organic” ones you can inadvertently kill toads, frogs, birds, and fish. So don’t use them if you’re trying to attract toads to your garden. Remember, if you want a beneficial insect or animal to move in you often have to allow the pest insect population to reach a certain level to attract them. You may lose a crop of something one year, but you’ll save so much time and money by not having to use pesticides (even organic ones). You’ll also end up with a healthier ecosystem in your garden, which in turn makes your plants healthier!

Do you have toads in your gardens? Do you do anything specific to attract them?

9 Comments to “Toadpoles”
  1. kristin @ going country on May 11, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Last year seemed to be a good year for toads. And a good year for not having slugs, not coincidentally. My salt shaker got to take a little rest. That’s my method of slug control. This fall, I really need to put the chicken tractor we just built into the garden so the chickens can go to town on the pests and weeds. And fertilize while they’re at it.

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  2. RHonda on May 11, 2011 at 7:43 am

    I haven’t seen on single toad int eh 5 years we’ve been living here. I guess I had better get myself in gear and get some toad-happy environments! I’ve always wanted a little pond. Maybe that will be my big project this year. :-)

    Reply to RHonda's comment

  3. KimH on May 11, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I’ve seen 2 or 3 this year..I dont remember seeing them in the past, but I’ve been working on my little woodland garden for about 4 years now..

    Reply to KimH's comment

  4. goatpod2 on May 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    We don’t do anything to attract toads here!


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  5. Angela on May 11, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    We have a goldfish pond and toads too! The pond is small (5 fish), and we’ve seen one huge toad and a smaller one there. I love seeing them sun themselves on the rocks. Only the smaller one seems light enough to be able to sit on the water lily leaves. The pond is another reason why we don’t like chemicals in our backyard–we don’t want the chemicals in the water. And sitting outside listening to the water run over the rocks is so soothing, isn’t it? I’m glad you have a pond!

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  6. Courtney on May 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I am so jealous! At our other house (we moved in October) we had toads EVERYWHERE! on any given night you could count at least 35 sitting in our driveway. I had my husband trained to not park in the driveway after dusk. We did nothing to attract them, no water source or anything but plenty of bugs under our vapor light. I will miss them this summer!

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  7. MAYBELLINE on May 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    No toads and I want some.
    The kids in the neighborhood are on commission.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  8. deedee on May 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    we have a big, fat mama toad who lives in our front flower bed. it’s full of river rocks. last summer, luke caught a toad at a friend’s house & brought it home. we miraculously kept him alive all winter, and set him free a few weeks ago. he’s been spotted a few times. we also get them a lot on our back porch, so i’ve had to check before we let the dogs out at night to avoid the toads becoming snacks, which in turn makes the dogs sick… not fun!

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  9. Andrea on May 30, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    I was turning the garden one fall day and I unearthed a big hybernating toad, I gently reburied him.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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