Monday, August 29, 2011

Good News on the Toad Front

Good news on the greenhouse toad front. Many of you knew of, and asked about the toad that lived in our greenhouse. The original toad lived there since we opened the greenhouse but he (or she) died a couple of years ago. He was 12+ years old, so it lived a good long life for a toad. Since then, we have had several new crops of young toads, but none took to the greenhouse. Until this year. We now have a small (this year's) toad that has moved into the greenhouse and settled into the back corner in the dirt pile there. I've added to the pile hoping to make it toad friendly. He (or she) is dug into the dirt comfortably for about a week. I assume it goes out at night to eat and returns to sleep in the day. I'm hoping he'll hibernate there for the winter and decide it's a nice place to live. At least it will be warm when winter comes. At first, as soon as I'd approach the back corner, he'd scoot back into the dirt. I've been talking to him and moving very slowly and he seems to be getting used to me moving around. Not at all tame like original toad - you could pet him - but hopefully this one will become people friendly. I know the kids loved to see the original, so hopefully this one will stick around.

Speaking of toads reminds me of bugs. I noticed the bug population was not really bad this year - only saw a handful of Japanese beetles. Grasshoppers are around - you can easily tell by the fairly large holes they make in leaves, but not as many as some other years. We did have lots of ants this spring, way more than usual. I wondered if that was because the very wet spring drove them out of the ground. Also had very few insects in the greenhouse this spring. Again, I assume due to the cool wet spring. We only spray when necessary, and then use spray that is organic and certified safe for organic crops.

I have noticed some of the end of season crops are behind this year. Annual vines like hyacinth bean, moonflower and mina haven't bloomed yet, nor have pineapple sage or other late season flowers. I think the screaming hot weather in July hurt them. Many plants will not set buds at high temperatures, particularly high nighttime temps. That and the dry weather in conjunction seemed to set them back. We still have plenty of time left though.

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