If you live in Austin, San Antonio or any of the surrounding cities, towns and rural spaces that make up the vast and beautiful Central Texas region, you already know something about Central Texas trees: In order not just to survive but to thrive, they have to be able to withstand periods of high heat and drought as well as occasional frigid snaps and deluges of water when the rainy season hits in spring and fall. That’s right—Central Texas trees have to be as tough, hardy and resilient as the people who live here. The best trees for Central Texas landscapes include varieties that can withstand all of the above, along with a variety of soil compositions, including plenty of rocks and limestone. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the best trees for Central Texas gardeners and the outdoor spaces they love.
Today, we’re talking about how to keep your garden pest-free without the use of pesticides or insecticides. It’s a common question for people who want to maintain an organic yard or garden.
While it may not be easy, it is possible. So, don’t give up! Let’s turn that black thumb into a green thumb.
What is Organic Gardening?
Reconnecting with nature and all its beauty is a great way to heighten your awareness to the world around you, both big and small. Unfortunately, gardening is more complicated than it seems, as any true gardener knows.
First off, the soil is alive with a small-scale world mostly unknown to us. One scoop of soil can be home to hundreds of thousands of fungi, thousands of protozoans, and a huge assortment of microscopic creatures known as cryptozoa.
In the 1980s, Jostein Goksøyr and Vigdis Torsvik (Norwegian scientists), gathered a gram of soil from a nearby beech forest … Read Full Post »
As we all know, the official start to summer is in late June.
The truth is, homeowners in Texas and other southern states know that temperatures can start inching up in April or May, depending on the year.
Because of this, many people wonder when and how to adjust their lawn watering schedule to ensure that grass and plants survive our dry and hot summer months.
Do you water a little bit every day? Water only once a week, but leave the sprinklers on for a long time to let the water really soak down? Forgo watering altogether because you had a rainy spring and your plants are looking great?
Then, you may wonder when exactly to set your sprinklers. What time should you water your lawn, if and when you do?
Maybe you have been inconsistent in your watering from year to year, and it’s just not working. Perhaps you have a water-logged … Read Full Post »
Winter weather can leave your landscape wanting. To help bring your landscape back to its fuller and lusher self, it’s important to do some spring lawn prep and maintenance.
Spring lawn care in essential for keeping your yard thriving and resilient through summer. If you want to a beautiful lawn and garden, follow these steps to keep your lawn and landscaping lush and green for the summer.
10 Ways to Get Lawn and Landscaping Ready for Summer
1. Rake It Up
The first step to preparing your yard for spring and summer is to do some raking and cleaning around the home. Use your yard waste container to collect all the leaves, twigs and other debris that has accumulated over winter. Vigorously rake your lawn to clear your landscaping of thatch—dried out, dead grass and organic debris.
The more material you have on the ground, the more difficult it will be for your lawn to … Read Full Post »
April is National Lawn Care Month and National Pest Management Month! To help your May flowers get off to a healthy, pest-free start, learn how to start your first completely organic garden. Your lawn and garden will look lush and green, and of course, will be completely organic. Spring is the best time to start!
How to Start an Organic Lawn & Garden
Even if your soil looks dead and lifeless, it can be brought back to life. But in order to find out what your soil needs, you need a soil test.
Get a Soil Sample
Testing your soil is the first step toward building good garden soil. You could waste a lot of money and energy, not to mention the possibility for poisoning, by adding things to your soil before conducting a soil test.
It’s a good idea to test your soil every 3-5 years since levels change all the time. Spring is … Read Full Post »
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the weeds. Before you let plant predators such as cleavers, chickweed, henbit, sow thistle and wild carrot take over, learn the pros and cons of herbicides, as well as some non-chemical alternatives.
Weeds can rob nutrients from the soil and smother other plants, but they aren’t all bad. Some can help your plants grow; others you may actually enjoy. They can also act as a free soil test, telling you whether or not you need soil balancing. Certain weeds spring up only when the soil is too high or low in something.
Many times, you can organically solve your weed problem by simply getting rid of the existing weeds and then balancing the soil. Learn more about how to improve soil quality in your lawn.
Sometimes, however, herbicides are necessary. But before you start releasing chemicals around your property, it’s important to consider what they are, how … Read Full Post »
Many people think of deer as sweet, beautiful and adorable animals—Bambi, anyone?—yet many homeowners in both urban and rural areas view deer as pests. This is because these animals have an irritating habit of munching on rose bushes, trees and other plants and flowers that people cultivate in their gardens, and leaving a tattered, raggedy mess in their wake. Interested in how to keep deer out of your garden for good?
The first and most important thing to remember is that deer are intelligent animals with acute senses and a highly adaptable nature. This means that whichever repellent method you try, the deer that are plaguing your plants are sure to learn and adapt quickly—and then it will be time to try a new technique.
So when it comes to repelling deer, what works and what doesn’t? Which techniques are the most effective for keeping deer away from your yard and … Read Full Post »
The end of winter means one thing for many of us in the Southern states: the brutal heat of summer isn’t far away. To look on the bright side, everything comes to life again during the springtime. Insects and other animals emerge from their winter hiding spots and plants and flowers begin to bloom once more.
Just like all other living things in your backyard, your grass will also begin to grow. While your initial inclination might be to get out the lawnmower on the first day of sunshine and warmth, knowing how and when to start mowing your lawn will be the first step in giving your grass the care it needs to survive our dry and hot summers.
In this post, we’ll dive into the dos and don’ts of mowing your grass, including how to properly cut and care for your lawn after the winter months up until the growth … Read Full Post »
Look around Austin and the Texas Hill Country and you can see that this area is teeming with plant life. Trees like the Texas Ash, Cedar Elm and Arroyo Sweetwood. Shrubs like Bottlebrush and Pineapple Guavas. Flowers, yuccas, ornamental grasses and vines.
So why is it so hard to grow anything in your own yard?
Flowers wilt. Veggies never seem to get started. Even those bushes you planted in the front several years ago have barely shown any growth.
Yet somehow, your neighbors’ plants are doing just fine. It’s embarrassing. What are the secrets to Central Texas gardening?
First off, take a deep breath and stop beating yourself up so much. Setting up and maintaining a garden in and around the Hill Country is tough.
That lush plant life you see around the area? Mother Nature had to work hard for that, carefully helping plants to adapt to the rugged Central Texas landscape. And your neighbors? … Read Full Post »
Probiotics, basically helpful bacteria, are recommended for treating everything from digestion to depression. But probiotics aren’t just beneficial to humans. They can also maintain the balance of good and bad bacteria in plants and soil. Helpful microbes, like those found in Holganix, can help plants grow bigger, healthier, and stronger.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are bacteria or fungi that are non-harmful or helpful. Harmful bacteria and fungi would be classified as a type of parasite.
When the bad bacteria overwhelm the good bacteria, you can get sick. The same applies to your plants and soil. It’s all about maintaining a healthy balance between the trillions of cells and microbes that make up living things.
All plants have endophytes, organisms that live between plant cells, which is normally the term used for the plant version of probiotics.
Endophytes attach themselves to plants and serve a similar purpose for plants that probiotics do for us. In the … Read Full Post »