|Toad House on Park Avenue - $72.|
|Toad House on Baltic Avenue - $1|
I almost told Little Ichabod that the edible pod peas were hanging on the vines, but then I remembered, "The one vegetable he loathes..."
Team Jackson gathers today for grilling and possible gardening. Grandson Alex helps monitor the grill. He loves to prune roses for me. I bought a bunch of clay pots so we can make extra toad shelters as well. One good crack of a hammer and we have two toad homes.
|Retaking Toad Hall,|
including the spine tingling cry, "A mole! A mole!"
One toad will eat 10,000 insects in a summer, so I would rather have free toads than expensive toxins. Last year I found toads right under the faucets, front and back. This year I am making the yard as toad-friendly as possible.
Toads need shallow pans with water so they can hydrate. They also like shelters from the sun. That is where the toad house comes in handy. I have plenty of sheltered areas where the houses can be placed, behind bushes, near logs, in tall grass and weeds.
In the good olde days, neighbors had clay pots here and there, so broken ones were easy to find. Now we have to search for them and break them.
I will also build up my supply of flat clay pans, which are good shallow baths for toads and birds. Clay is good because they do not blow around the yard like the cheap plastic ones, both made to be put under leaking plant pots.
|'Red root pigweed|
|A weed in full - pigweed donating a few seeds for the cause.|
Useful Red Root Pigweed
When pigweed is young, green, and full of moisture, I pull it and place the plant under mulch. The gurus say, "Add nitrogen to wood mulch," so I add fresh greens.
Weeds can also be placed on top of mulch, to add to the biomass. Some weeds will sneak through the mulch and others will plant themselves on top. Dandelions are fond of that approach, and some other plant has placed seedlings on every bit of mulch I own.
The best way to distinguished a good plant from a weed is to wait and see its flower and fruit. I was ready to pull Cow Vetch before it bloomed. Once it showed off its color and climbing ability, I took in a flower to match and identify it. Like many scorned weeds, Cow Vetch has good qualities for the wild area, where I want masses of greenery to screen the alley scenery, a task blessed by Mrs. Ichabod - mandated after we pruned the trees so well and opened up the view.
Blogger Nathan Bickel asked about vines and his plans for building a trellis. That made me think of using a trellis screen for the area where the fence is so open for viewing and so full of barking dogs who warn their owners I am in my own yard.
|Cow Vetch has typical legume flowers,|
like its nearby cousin - the edible pod pea.