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Frog Haven - No Pot Left Unattended

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Project by mmh posted 10-10-2013 08:43 PM 1333 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This spring I had thought that I would add a few buckets of water plants to entice some wildlife such as frogs and dragonflies. This source of water would also give the many birds a drink, as we have an wide variety of different species of wild birds and feed them regularly so we can enjoy watching them. The first few large barrel type buckets were planted with water lilies and arrowroot. I also purchased a lotus plant, but I’m afraid that it perished due to not being properly planted in mud, as the bucket that I put it in when it arrived from shipment, was immediately occupied by a frog whom I did not want to disturb. I then decided to put a smaller pot next to this one to entice it to move so that I could finally plant the bare root lotus plant. This plan was altered when another frog immediately occupied the smaller pot full of water.

We enjoyed our new visitors, despite the inconvenience for my planting efforts and named a large black frog “Maurice” and the smaller, green and yellow one, “Kermit”. Maurice and Kermit learned to tolerate our movements around their new homes, as they trained us to catch and throw live bugs into their buckets. They even taught me how to make funny froggy noises as if to let them know that it was Dinner Time. It’s fortunate that we live in the woods, away from immediate neighboring ears, as this is not what one may consider normal behavior, but this could be a blessing in disguise, as it may keep away the nosey or neighbors who want to borrow tools or need “extra flour to finish a cake” away. [Charitable efforts are good, but sometimes they don’t stop coming over!]

Meanwhile, I now have an array of 5 buckets of water plants, each with their own population and variety of frogs. Every morning and evening we would try to sit on the porch to enjoy the garden and watch our prized frogs. We would try to decipher if the frogs were attacking each other for territorial rights, or if they were being amorous. Eventually we found two buckets containing several batches of eggs that had been laid after a spurt of unusual activity. Unknowingly, we had witnessed a Frog Orgy.

After a few weeks we began to miss both Maurice and Kermit. It was quite a puzzle, as they would both perch on the floating plastic nursery pots that I had put in their domain so that they had something to hide in and also perch on. After a few days they were replaced by other frogs who were also well adapted at training us to feed them, but we were still longing for the original two frogs and were saddened by their absence. We have had to come to terms that the hawk may have caught them for her brood, as my husband said that he saw the hawk with a large frog in it’s mouth while flying through the woods.

We have learned how to catch stink bugs in plastic drink jars and feed our hungry group that await for something to venture too close to their domain. There are tiny tadpoles and more than a dozen different sized and colored frogs that peak out from under the leaves of their bucket. When a bug is dropped into the water there may be three or four attackers, as for each set of eyes we see, there are two or more sets lurking nearby. We’ve even witnessed a few ninja type moves of a frog leaping into the air and landing several feet away and ricochet off a plant or adjacent planter to catch a nearby insect.

When the sun goes down they are quite active and if you are patient enough to sit nearby you can see them popping out of their hiding places and hopping off to new territory to hunt for dinner. One has to be careful to not step on them when coming outside, as they are quite camouflaged and what you thought to be a leaf is not a leaf at all, as it jumps away if you are too close, but sometimes that is not the case.

Now that it is October and the temperature is cooling down, the water lilies are less robust but we still see the many frogs vying for a bug to land nearby. We wonder were all of these frogs will go when it truly gets too cold to surface and eat. I am currently building a new pond and will cover it with a greenhouse structure, so a few pots of water plants will go inside, so we will see just how many of these frogs will be occupying the new pond!

-- A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.



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mmh

332 posts in 2184 days
hardiness zone 7a

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8 comments so far

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MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2655 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 10-10-2013 10:06 PM

what a wonderful community you have created!!!

They are so much fun to watch, even if they are “just sitting there” doing nothing.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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sharad

1637 posts in 1872 days
hardiness zone 11

posted 10-11-2013 12:53 AM

Nice pictures and I admire your love for frogs.

Sharad

-- Bagwan-- “If someone feels that they had never made a mistake in their life, then it means they have never tried a new thing in their life”.-Albert Einstein

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Radicalfarmergal

4303 posts in 1918 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 10-17-2013 11:41 AM

What a great story and photos, mmh. Frogs are so welcome in the garden because they help keep insect populations in balance so effectively.

Do you ever have problems with mosquitoes laying eggs in the water or do the frogs eat them before they can hatch? How often do you replace the water or do you just top it off? We have lots of frogs down in the wild swampy area of our yard and I would like to entice them to come up into our gardens more often. Your buckets/pots look like a good way to do it. Will you bring the pots in for the winter to keep them from cracking? I have lots of questions because this is similar to what I have been thinking about introducing into our garden and I appreciate any advice you have learned from your frogs.

I have a neighbor who brings in a large potted plant into the house every year and, with it, she brings in several tree frogs. They overwinter in the potted plant and wait until spring when she puts the plant back out. Although it sometimes startles her visitors, she finds the tiny frogs to be lovely company, only hearing or seeing them infrequently through the winter.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View mmh's profile

mmh

332 posts in 2184 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 10-17-2013 12:59 PM

The mosquito larva can be controlled by a Bt formula pellet sold at stores. I have tried to not kill the larva in the pots that have tadpoles because I believe they are a food source for them, so unfortunately, there are adult mosquitos from this, BUT, I do have a bug zapper on at night nearby. This doesn’t kill all of the mosquitos, but helps control them, otherwise, if you do not have tadpoles, use the Bt Mosquito Dunks or Pellets. Dunks last 30 days, pellets are fast acting for immediate killing results of the larva. This is NOT harmful to aquatic life, pets, etc..

As for the pots, these are all plastic pots and should not crack during ice/snow conditions. I do plan on taking a few into the greenhouse when finished. (construction underway). I will have to see if they have enough to eat if they come indoors.

Your friend and her tree frogs sounds so wonderful! We do have them here but they are shy and we don’t see them as frequently as these water dwelling frogs. They may be the answer to the stink bug invasion that we have had.

-- A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.

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Radicalfarmergal

4303 posts in 1918 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 10-22-2013 11:27 AM

Thank you for your answers, mmh. I will think about how do to something like this over the winter so that I can be ready to create a frog habitat similar to yours in the spring.

-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout

View mmh's profile

mmh

332 posts in 2184 days
hardiness zone 7a

posted 11-07-2013 01:54 AM

November Update: The weather has cooled down and we’ve actually had ice on the surface of the frog inhabited pots. The water lilies have died down and still have a few green leaves along with the fallen brown oak leaves that should be removed before long to prevent toxins from leaching into the water. The bucket that is over grown with water lettuce has managed to survive, as I had a few plastic bags covering it just enough to retain some heat, but some of the frogs are getting confused and can’t get into the water so the plastic has to be removed during the warmer hours.

Today it was in the high 60’s so there was a lot more activity hunting and peeping out from under the water lettuce. I had even scared one large frog that was perched on a lower potted plant and it “plopped” around trying to avoid the human who was concerned it was too cold to be jumping around on the hard granite stones but the poor frog managed to hide under the cover of the barbeque grill, so the human decided to leave the poor amphibian alone, but not after finding a wooly caterpillar and rolling it under the BBQ cover as an offering and raising the cover an inch to allow the early morning sunbeam to warm the stone pavers.

-- A weed is a plant that is growing where it was not purposefully placed by human hands.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14683 posts in 2655 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 11-07-2013 10:47 AM

our frogs are gone for the year now.
I have to get my pump cleaned out – something is preventing the water from going up to the second level and then it will soon be time to install the heater for the winter. Last year, the water flowed all year long, keeping the water filtered.

You have a very successful year with your frog-friends!

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3807 posts in 2285 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 11-08-2013 04:33 PM

I’ve so enjoyed reading about your frogs, mmh. My pond has frogs in it every summer too, but when winter comes I have to catch them and transplant them to a nearby creek. My pond is not deep enough to avoid freezing right to the bottom which would be fatal to the frogs.

I love the way the frogs can become accustomed to humans moving around their territory and they become tolerant of us.

I see you are in zone 7a so you can probably keep your frogs semi-protected throughout the winter.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

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