Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Frogs, toads, beetroots and hammers

Sarah had plenty of work for us this week, but as soon as I got the chance I wandered up to the pond this week.

Toad on the road?? by grakki
toads on the road:grakki
One of the volunteers had already told me that he has got masses of frog spawn in the pond at his allotment and the Guardian on Saturday announced that toads are on the move. Frogs are pretty undiscriminating about where they breed, but toads generally return to the ponds where they were born. This can mean that masses of toads cross busy roads heading for the same pond and inevitably their casualties are high.  Froglife.org is a charity that is committed to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles - frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards - and saving the habitats they depend on.  At this time of year they are responsible for special road signs warning motorists about the toads crossing. Volunteer toad wardens also carry the creatures to safety, and last year gave 73,000 toads safe passage. And in Oxton, Nottinghamshire, one particular road is closed to all traffic in March for the toads to cross safely.

Both frogs and toads eat beetles, bugs and woodlice. Frogs eat a large number of slugs and snails, whereas toads favour ants, so very useful creatures to have around. Sadly, there was no evidence at all at the urban farm. We saw toads and newts last year so we know they are around. Maybe next week? But at least the water mint I planted last week has survived and looks healthy.

We've got two new volunteers - an ex-trainee who's back until he gets paid work (it can't have been that bad first time round!) and a friend of Adrienne's who's just moved into the area. It was great having them, they both got stuck in and helped us to crack on.

A self - selecting group of guys built a new compost bin in the woodland area that we cleared a few weeks ago. The price of compost has shot up and we're hoping that we can make more of our own. There was quite a hullabaloo at one point -  I'm not quite sure what they were up to but it seemd to involve an old beetroot and a hammer...

♪ Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme  ♪ by Jill Clardy
parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
:Jill Clardy

The rest of us spent the day taking root and shoot cuttings to meet an order for 1,500 herb plants that Sarah has secured for the farm. I'm not sure how many we planted today, but we must have nearly made the target!

The birds were singing, ladybirds were waking up and the scent of the herbs and the sun on our backs made us all feel very mellow!  

If you're interested in joining us at the farm. Come along any Tuesday after 10.00 for a chat or email dave_meara@hotmail.com

If you've got any thoughts on this or anything else to do with the urban farm just leave a comment in the box.

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