The second week of March is almost here, and that is the time when frost is usually behind us here in South Texas, based on past years. But there are those who go by other indicators. Some believe frost is possible until Easter is past. This year that is April 5. Still others say we can have frost until mesquite trees leaf out, whenever that is. Watch and note which is correct and plant tender plants accordingly. Anything is possible, as those who grow vegetables believe veggies should be planted based on the phase of the moon. Fact, fiction, ol’ wives tales, whatever – it’s all interesting.

Read more: Out in the Garden: March 2015

Predatory, beautiful and rather dainty, ladybugs seem almost fairytale like in their appearance, yet are remarkable hunters. Whether you call them ladybirds, lady beetles or even ladybird beetles, these small beetles have made a tremendous and positive impact on the world’s agriculture by eating their primary prey species, the aphid, which historically destroyed crops. It is thought that the ladybug’s name is derived from farmers rejoicing that the Virgin Mary (often shown in paintings wearing a red cloak) answered their prayers for crop protection and dubbed the small beetle “Our Lady’s Beetles”.

Read more: Ladybugs are Texans, Too!

Household water use between November and March is generally the time period that San Antonio Water System (SAWS) uses to determine our monthly sewer charge for the next year. To conserve water and keep your utilities cost down, reduce water use as much as possible. About 40 percent of residential water use is for maintaining yards and gardens. If you have a sprinkler system, put it on its manual setting until next spring. Water lawns only about every three weeks and flowerbeds as needed when the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is dry. Moisture evaporation is slower in cooler weather.

Read more: Out in the Garden: December 2014

If you read the September SAWS newsletter that was in with your monthly water bill, you already know this.  However, for the rest, SAWS has a garden website containing tips and techniques designed to take the guesswork out of landscaping in the San Antonio area.  Go to GardenStyleSA.com.  I do not use the Internet much, but I did go to the SAWS website so I could or not recommend it.  They must have had me in mind when they designed it.  That is, it must have been designed for dummies.  Even I could figure it out.  The part on plants was very informative.

Read more: Out in the Garden: November 2014