As I breathlessly reported two weeks ago, I attempted to build a small frog pond in one of my rear flower beds using Tupperware containers, dirt, rocks, old planters, and mulch. I dubbed the watery domain “Frogtopia,” hoping it would attract neighborhood toads and frogs to his muddy environs.
After two weeks—and a new addition, using a large and deep IHOP to-go container—I must concede that Frogtopia is, at least so far, a failure. While the WikiHow article I used as a reference guide suggests that it can take a year or two for frogs to show up to a frog pond, I can already see a major structural problem with my attempted design.
The problem, in one word: evaporation.
Readers will recall that I started Frogtopia with a gallon of distilled water. By that afternoon, the water was already disappearing from the two higher containers, with only a small amount remaining in the lower, deeper container. Initially I suspected leakage from one of the higher containers, as it does have a tiny crack. I attempted to seal that crack with wood glue and dirt, but I figured that attempt was not watertight.
Indeed, that could very well be the case, but it doesn’t explain the loss of water in the other containers. By the following morning, all water was gone from the three containers, though the dirt within was still fairly moist and muddy. I refilled the containers with another gallon of distilled water after attempting to shore up possible leaks, but the process repeated itself in about a day—most water gone from all containers, leaving just buggy mud in its wake.
The next step was awaiting the arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa. In my part of South Carolina, we mostly received heavy rains and some high winds from the storm, but no major power outages or damage (at least not in my little town). But the rainfall afforded the opportunity for Frogtopia to refill naturally. With the addition of the IHOP container, I was cautiously optimistic that it might be enough water to hold for at least a few days.
Unfortunately, as soon as the sunshine returned to Lamar on Thursday, the water quickly dissipated. At that point, I knew that evaporation was the culprit. Sure, there may have been some leakage, too, but my theory now is that the containers aren’t holding enough water to resist evaporation.
Fortunately, a neighbor down the street has constructed a koi pond in his side yard. While walking Lily earlier this week, I asked him what he used to make it. He said, “Some black liner from Lowe’s and a shovel.” This tracks with the WikiHow article, and he told me the liner cost about $40.
So, the next step will be to check out liner at Lowe’s, and find a spot big and deep enough for a frog pond. I will likely have to relocate Frogtopia from that shady back bed, as I discovered there is a PVP water or sewage pipe that is a just a few inches down (I uncovered that while digging a spot for the IHOP container).
There is a portion of my lawn that should be clear of underground pipes: what I call “the barn.” It’s really a big, wooden carport with a couple of storage rooms and a large tool shed attached to it. One one side of it there is a shady area beneath a cedar or cypress tree of some kind. I also discovered—while walking Lily during the tropical storm at 5:30 AM—that toads hang out in the barn. As such, it seems like a pond in that area would attract more toads and frogs, and hopefully result in some tadpoles down the road.
That’s the latest update on Frogtopia. It seems my first attempt was not successful, but in every failure, there is the opportunity to learn. I will likely use that space to plant some shade-loving plants, and use the Tupperware for various outdoors applications (ideas pending—and suggestions welcome!).
Once Frogtopia II is constructed, I’ll write another post with all the details—and lots of pictures!