So within 2 weeks from the photos from my last garden update post, a lot has changed. Even though Fred, my resident toad has destroyed the Cucumber Beetle population, they still killed off my cucumbers. So it was time to rip all that junk out. I really enjoyed cleaning up the garden beds because I love how it looked afterwards.
So this was my small garden bed before. The cucumber plants basically took it over and were starting to die off.
So I began ripping them out because there was no new healthy cucumbers growing.
And after! VOILA! So clean! I planted a bunch of lettuce now so I'll have it well through fall! Right now there is just some sprouting new lettuce, 2 eggplants, and onions.
Now I'm gonna get sappy. Remember I told you about the toad I found that we named Fred? We actually found him in the Spring. He was on the other side of the house and we'd say hi to him and even pet him every day. Then after about 2 months I didn't see him again. I was sad but I assumed he just went somewhere else. Until one day when I was on the other side of the porch and was harvesting some cucumbers and startled myself when I saw 2 familiar eyes blinking back at me. It was Fred!! Same markings, same exact size and everything. I was so happy. I knew he'd be good for the garden beds so I picked him up and placed him inside the smaller bed and broke a clay pot into pieces with a hammer so I could make little hiding spots for him. I also put a dish of water in with him. Each day I'd come out and there Fred would be! I would also find his poop so I knew he was eating plenty of bugs. So at the beginning of September, I moved Fred over to the big garden bed and moved his hiding spots and water dish over too. He seems to love all the new foliage to hide in and all the space. Fred is safe from critters because they can't get in the fencing around the garden beds. He's safe from birds because he has plenty of hiding spots and I don't think any of the birds in my yard would be able to eat a toad his size.
I really love Fred. He's a cool little guy and he really has done great pest control in my garden. Of course, me being the animal rights person that I am, knows that it's not okay to keep wild animals in captivity so even though I know winter is coming and it would be easy to put Fred inside, I know it's not right. He knows what to do. Clearly he's been around a couple of years. So my plan is that by the end of September I'll open the door to the one garden bed and allow him to hop out (if he doesn't hop out after a week I'll have to help him) so he can find a nice hiding spot to hibernate during the winter. They say toads come back to the same spot each year if they know there's good food and protection. I sure hope he does come back because I love checking on him everyday like a little pet, but seeing him in his natural habitat.
Okay, so here's the fun part.... I found these two bastards in my garden. The one was on a Friday on my tomato plants! It's a tomato hornworm. They're basically giant a$$holes and they will destroy your plants. So guess who had a nice dinner? That's right, Fred did. We picked the hornworm off the plant and tossed it in front of Fred.
After he played dead for a minute he tried to climb back up a new plant, which is when Fred got him.
And then Sunday evening I was looking at my garden and checking up on Fred when I noticed another one of those little bastards! So I of course fed him to Fred. Let me tell you that if my enticing Fred with big ass meals doesn't get him to come back next year then I don't know what will.
Oh I almost forgot... on Friday we saw something really crazy. After Fred ate his first hornworm, he started doing this weird thing where he was almost scratching his head with his back legs. I yelled for James, thinking Fred was dying or something because the worm was poisonous (they aren't). We started to watch as he basically was peeling something over his body (turned out to be his skin) and would eat it. After googling it, it's totally normal and a good sign. Unlike snakes, when toads shed their skin they eat it because it's packed with nutrients. It was so cool to see and I'm so grateful for all the learning experiences I've had this year thanks to Fred.
Check back next week for an informative post about garden toads. How are your gardens doing?