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Amphibian pond. Really.

March 16, 2012

I hate slugs.

I hate snails.

Land mollusks. Yuk.

Apparently my backyard has the right conditions to sustain a healthy population and periodically they take over sections of the beds.

They seem to like the same produce that we like- go figure…..

I know about the beer traps, but that’s a lot of beer to set out every night and I would only be slowing down the assault, not eliminating it. I’d probably end up with a tipsy poodle and drunken kittehs anyway….

I have used the enviro-friendly / pet-safe yeast baits. They seem to work but they are not cheap when you consider that they have to be “reapplied” every couple of weeks. In fact I just received a more “bulk” container of this from Amazon yesterday(a few pounds worth vs the puny Parmesan cheese type dispenser ones).

I won’t consider the Ortho industrial slug poison even though it probably would wipe the population out. I really don’t trust the unintended consequences of a heavy application of this type of thing, especially since there are all sorts of pet warnings on the label (not in the fine print even, but a big graphic built into the packaging design.

I’m sure that the presence of these little slimy villains fulfills some beneficial function although I can’t put a top ten list together for the positive contributions that slugs and snails provide to my little ecosystem.

Enough of this slug-talk, as you now understand the twisted logic I used to justify the installation of the pet project I really wanted – a frog pond.

Frogs and toads are the anti-slug; they are ferocious nocturnal terminators of all things mollusk that creep out from under things at night to eat my lettuce, spinach, cabbage, artichokes and as mentioned earlier, just about everything we like to grow and eat. With the right habitat for toads frogs and other amphibians, eventually my slug and snail population will be reduced and held in balance, with no poison or drunken animals on the property.

Life would be so simple if I just made little 30 gallon puddle pond, but it should surprise no one that I just can’t; I have an overkill reputation to live up to now…

The plan is a frog pond with enough surface area to also attract things like dragonflies, beneficial predators in their own right. The edges will have some integrated bog garden strips alongside. The large flat shale rock piles I accumulated will be moved and arranged as edging and a series of palatial toad condos (no flower pot hovels for my toads). A deep hiding-hole will be in one corner across from a shallow gradually sloped bank on the other side for easy exit and entry.

Pretty absurd eh?

So far, after two evenings with a shovel, I have a big hole that is lined and filled with water, and a second overflow basin adjacent that has been filled with soil and substantial helpings of peat moss since these pictures were taken. About half of the edges are graded appropriately now and this weekend I should be able to finish then haul the rest of the edge rocks the 40 feet or so down to the area to both hide and hold the liner edge.

From the front, note the bog garden slough being formed adjacent to the fence and the two large gut splitting rocks on the hoop house bank moved there by this creaky middle aged man:

And from behind:

More to follow, of course.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2012 6:54 am

    A fountain/pump to be added? Around here, we love the sound of running water… We have a very nice garden fountain in storage right now, in fact. It doesn’t offer the amphibian habitat your lovely pond has, but sounds very nice…

    • March 16, 2012 8:16 pm

      J, no moving water in this one. Apparently the more flat and still and full of algea/plants a pond is the more likely that it is successful in attracting residents.

      Plus I am over 50 and the sound of running water sometimes, well, you know….

  2. Sis permalink
    March 16, 2012 7:32 am

    When you’re ready for tadpoles, come and get ’em. I always have bazillions —

    I’m not sharing my dragonflies though

    • March 16, 2012 8:05 pm

      thanks but i don’t want to get any bullfrogs in there, they are prone to eat their cousins.

  3. Bob permalink
    March 16, 2012 10:29 am

    Throw a few ducks in the frog pond,ducks really like slugs

    • March 16, 2012 8:09 pm

      ducks would be fun; i would be a test case for the new idiotic poultry zoning rules that outlaw chickens and ducks in the city limits. Giving the zoning enforcement goons the finger might be more fun than the ducks themselves

  4. March 16, 2012 12:15 pm

    I put a very small pond in my polytunnel last year for the same purpose. Delighted to say that there’s frog spawn this Spring. Watch out slugs!

    • March 16, 2012 8:11 pm

      I read that a few days back; this has me thinking about reconfiguring of the hoophouse next season to cover at least part of the pond. It is almost under it as it stands now lol

  5. March 17, 2012 6:07 pm

    All we get from standing water in our NYC courtyard is … skeeters. Won’t they be a problem? and they sure love palefaces.

    • March 17, 2012 8:34 pm

      there is a difference between standing water that dries up between rains and a “permanent” pool of water that is allowed to develop a mini biosystem of sorts.

      I have the bell nearby and for the last few years it has been full of “stagnant” water. No mosquito larvae anymore, at least after once I quit cleaning/clearing the bell out with the chlorinated city water. First comes some algae, then from little critters that eat the algae (they look like tiny underwater fleas, barely visible upon close inspection). Eventually some hard shelled water beetles move in and I assume feed on the smaller ones. Apparently they devour mosquito larvae too, or maybe the eggs, who knows. All I know is the larvae just haven’t been there for years.

      I put in an irrigation well last year and the water flows full of some basic minerals nut no chlorine or fluoride. I filled the pond with the well water and siphoned off about half the bell water into it as well, including a bunch of the little occupants.

      A dose of organic fish emulsion fertilizer was added and within a couple of days this will force an algae bloom then the whole system should settle out. Eventually some aquatic plants will be added as well.

      (And if i see mosquito larvae I can always drop piece of a dunk in to stop their development. )

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