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Reptile Week at Your Small Kitchen Garden

My toad friend visited my small kitchen garden two days in a row. The garden can’t yet provide enough cover to keep a toad from drying out without regular rainfall. As we’ve had a few dry days, I doubt I’ll see the toad at least until the next storm or until the garden plants provide adequate cover from direct sunlight.

This past week I started the final push to get my small kitchen garden ready for our local last frost date. The latest frost I remember was May 24th, and it’s clear that’s not going to happen this year. In fact, if not for some well-needed rain, I might have planted tomatoes and peppers in early May. We haven’t had frost at all this month.

So, on several afternoons, I headed to the garden with intent to move soil from my rain garden excavation into the raised vegetable bed. The planting bed has seven-inch retaining walls, but soil depth averages, perhaps, three inches above the surrounding yard… and that’s not enough during a wet season.

Reptilian Distractions

Twice I found a toad hopping along the inside of my garden fence. Toads aren’t unusual here. It seems I’ve spotted at least one each season, but always in the lawn or the ornamental planting beds. Oh, one time I scared a toad from among the tarragon stalks in a planter; it wasn’t in my main planting bed, but I consider all the beds, planters, and food-producing trees and shrubs in my yard as parts of my kitchen garden.

If the toad wasn’t enough, yesterday I heard rustling nearby while I was standing on the compost heap (it beats standing in sewage). I discovered, curled next to the retaining wall of my raised garden bed, the first snake I’ve ever found in my yard. It was shy and moved quickly when I finally convinced it to leave its hiding place, but I suspect it will stay in my yard. It slithered into the ornamental shrubs before I could get a clear photograph of it.

Of course, with each reptile sighting there was a requisite photo session. I didn’t do all that much gardening, and I certainly didn’t produce the toad or snake photo against which critics will forever judge all toad and snake photos. Still, I had to show off the lovely reptiles that slowed progress in my small kitchen garden.

I’m pleased that the reptiles were absent today and I nearly finished the earth-moving project… I really thought I would finish right up until the handle broke off of my garden rake.

The snake in my small kitchen garden hid well under weeds next to my compost heap. My efforts to part the weeds for a clear shot made the snake retreat deeper. When I finally scared the snake out of the weeds, it moved so quickly I didn’t have time to capture a photo. The snake disappeared deep under some ornamental shrubs.

 

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3 Responses to “Reptile Week at Your Small Kitchen Garden”

  • Robert_H:

    To be precise, a toad is an amphibian.

    Perhaps this should be “Things that will make your Mom scream when she finds them in your pants pockets” week.

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    Robert_H: You’re right and I’m a bit embarrassed! I even considered looking this up before posting, but I convinced myself I knew what I was talking about. Thanks for the correction.

    -Daniel

  • And who said gardening was for sissies?? We have bull snakes all over the place. Some are about 6 feet long and thick as your wrist. They are not poisonous but when you interrupt them they coil up and put on a pretty good show. Not for the faint of heart!

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