Friday, April 23, 2010

Toads and 'Todes

After a wet winter, we have had a somewhat dry spring.  Since the middle of March there has been hardly any rain.  Our rainwater tanks were basically empty.  So we were glad that there was rain in the forecast for last weekend, though we hoped the rain wouldn't come in the middle of the farmer's market.

The sky looked threatening most of the day Friday and Saturday, but the rain didn't come and we stayed dry through the harvest and the market.  We were also able to get the pepper plants in the ground on Saturday afternoon, which was a very good thing.  They were pretty tall and becoming root-bound in their little pots.

We got half an inch of rain in the middle of the day Sunday.  I would have liked more; I guess we farmers are never quite satisfied!  The timing was perfect for Ed to apply our latest natural pest control: beneficial nematodes.  These microscopic worms are parasites of soil-dwelling insects.  They are a different species from the plant-parasitic nematodes which cause root knots on tomatoes and other plants.  They are a bit finicky about the temperature, sun and moisture, so it is important to apply them in the right season, weather and time of day.  Sunday afternoon after the rain turned out to be perfect.

I had a good laugh when Ed told me he was going out to spray some "todes".  The nematodes come in some organic matter and basically need to be "dissolved" in water and then diluted before being sprayed on the soil.  After a little while, I could hear Ed pumping up his hand-held sprayer.

I wandered out into the garden to admire the tomato and pepper plants and enjoy the cool breeze.  Ed was making his way down a row from which we had just harvested the last of the beets and carrots when I heard him chuckle.  He called me over to see what had amused him.  While he was spraying near the end of the row, he had seen something move.  When he stopped and looked closer, this is what he saw:

This funny little toad had decided to take up residence in the hole left by a carrot.  He sat there calmly as we leaned in closer and closer to take the photo.  Apparently he felt very safe in his hideout.

It just goes to show that we never know what will happen in the garden.  Some days, squash and beans seem to appear overnight.  Other times, we go out to harvest a perfectly ripe tomato, only to find out that some critter has been there first.  And, every once in a while, we end up spraying 'todes on a toad.

No comments:

Post a Comment