Spring and early summer are to many the most pleasant and enjoyable times to be outdoors getting the garden started after a winter hiatus.  Following are some tips and other information to help.  Some are repeats, but it never hurts to be reminded.  

  • Use organic, not chemical-based, fertilizers.  Liquid varieties are good for plants grown in containers.
  • To control black spot, especially on roses, mix and spray one part milk (yes, milk) to two parts water.  I have not tried this but a PBS garden authority recommended it as an organic fungicide.  My yard is too shady to grow roses, so to those who may try it, I would appreciate hearing about your results.
  • If you see a delicate web on plants, it can be an indication of spider mites that rob plants of nutrients.  They can be controlled using a spray you can mix yourself.  Mix two tablespoons of liquid seaweed, found at all good nurseries, and one tablespoon of grocery store molasses to a gallon of water.  Spray affected plants about every two weeks to prevent their return.
  • If you are planning to start or add plants to your garden, check out a group of plants suggested by the Texas Department of Agriculture called Texas Superstars.  They are described as beautiful, proven, Texas tough plants.  Go to TexasSuperstar.com for details and pictures.
  • A source of good local garden information is a radio garden program aired each Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Tune in to AM 550 at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, and 8:00 a.m. on Sunday.  Each program lasts 3 hours and you can call in with questions, or just listen.  
  • Trim Mountain Laurel and climbing roses now that they 
  • have finished their spring blooming.  They bloom on “old wood.”  The new growth that appears will be old for next year’s flowers.
  • Do not forget the birds to control insects.  Sunflower seeds (available at our nearby feed stores – Rudy’s on Nogalitos and Moore’s on S. Flores) attract a variety of birds.  Something as simple as a bowl or bucket of water is a good water source for them.  Put it near a tree or shrub that can be used as protection from predators.  Empty it every couple of days to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.   - Luther Burbank

- Alan Cash