As we are organic we use polytunnels to grow vegetables that would otherwise struggle in the British climate. Aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, chillis, for example.
However, unlike some non-organic commercial growers, all our plants grow directly in the soil, not in gro-bags or hydroponically and are, of course, chemical free. This has advantages and disadvantages.
All our plants are growing naturally in soil and are full of flavour. However, like all soil, ours has its quota of natural bugs, slugs and snails.
But in recent months we have noticed a change.
Our plants seemed to be growing strongly with no signs at all of slug or snail damage. How come? We have a complete ban on slug pellets. The thrushes who eat so many of the slugs and snails outside don’t have access to the polytunnels. But no slugs or snails…..
Last winter we found the answer to the conundrum. A resourceful toad had decided to join us and, one evening, we found it sitting in a dark corner of the polytunnel looking extremely contented with a very full belly. And, of course, no visible sign at all of any slugs or snails!
This spring there has been a development. As I was placing some pots of seedlings on the ground, I noticed the soil moving. There, in a corner between lumps of earth, was a minute toad no larger than my thumbnail.
Obviously it’s mother had decided that there was definitely an advantage in having a symbiotic relationship with gardeners in a polytunnel. And having come up with a great business idea, it was going to keep it in the family.