If you’re able to stomach the idea of having a few extra (and beneficial!) insects around your garden, how about attracting some reptiles and amphibians?
If you’re anything like my mom, even the thought of stumbling across a snake in your garden sends you rushing for the snake guillotine, also known as a shovel. Although snakes or geckos may give you the creeps, the benefits that come along with some reptile and amphibian neighbors should outweigh this irrational fear.
Almost all reptiles and amphibians in your garden will help keep your insect population low and in turn help your garden produce healthier plants. You’ll primarily want to focus on bringing garter snakes, geckos and toads into your yard. Why these three? Garter snakes pose no threat to people, geckos are relatively easy to attract and toads can decimate insect populations.
I will make a note on toads, however. Toads can be just a little harder to keep around the garden due to their being amphibians and needing a constant source of water. In our area’s current battle with West Nile-laden mosquitoes, leaving standing water around the yard is not exactly what you want to do. If you really want to have some toads around (side not: I had one last summer and it was a blast to watch it rule the garden), invest in some “mosquito dunks” using Bacillius thuriengensis, a naturally occurring bacteria that is only harmful to larvae and caterpillars. Just make sure to keep a dunk in the water!
Attracting garter snakes and geckos to your garden is relatively easy and will greatly reduce your cockroach and slug issues. Geckos are attracted to the bugs circling around lights at night, so some low-wattage lights will not only help to centralize bugs making it easier for geckos to do their thing, but will also bring the geckos in. Leaving out some stacked rocks near your garden will attract garter snakes as they will act both as a home to the snakes and as an area to catch some sun. Geckos will also enjoy raised areas where they can lookout out for predators while also catching some rays.
And as for toads, as I mentioned before, they require moist areas with some standing water to lay their eggs in. If you really want to make your yard attractive to toads, try investing in a toad house. When I noticed a toad in my garden last summer, I took the Dremel tool to a small clay pot and cut a toad-sized doorway to the lip of the pot. Flip the pot upside down and you have an improvised toad house! You can also find much more ornate houses online. I placed the pot where I’d seen the toad and within a day he had taken up a permanent residence.
And the number one way to attract reptiles and amphibians? Well, organic gardening, of course! So you’re already well on your way. With all of these organic gardening principles in place you’ll have the perfect little ecosystem for your garden.
By: Wylee Wooldridge