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IN THE GARDEN: What an Inch of Rainwater Means for Your Soil

What does an inch of rainwater mean for your garden?

When an inch of water reaches the ground, it penetrates various depths. In sandy soil, that one inch will soak down to almost 30 inches. In loamy soil, the same rainfall will soak down to approximately 15 inches. In clay soil, 9-10 inches. Now, you can better appreciate the rainfall we do get and the benefits of it.

Bill Luedecke and daughter Martelle offer gardening advice to novices and experts.

If you are a rainwater harvester then you already know that a 10-foot-by-10-foot shed with 100 square feet of surface will produce 60 gallons of water from an inch of rain. Therefore, one inch of rain will turn into 600 gallons of water for each 1,000 square feet of surface (roof or shed). If we expand this premise, then one acre would collect 26,000-plus gallons from that same one inch of rainfall. Praise God! Is that awesome or what?


Do you have any ponds (earthen tanks) on your place? What about your fishponds in the backyard? Have you noticed they are covered with algae? Would you like to solve this problem and not bother the fish or wildlife?

Here is a really good solution. For the floating plant-like algae, use five pounds of cornmeal per 1,000 square feet of surface or 150-200 pounds per acre of surface. The cellulose in the cornmeal helps tie up the excess phosphorous in the water, balancing the water chemistry and killing off the algae. The organic carbon in the water enables the beneficial bacteria in the water to flourish at the expense of the algae. Then, the decomposing algae provide a source of carbon for the bacteria. One or two treatments is usually enough to control the algae for months.


Kunafin Insectary produces and supplies beneficial insects to those of us who have a need to counter the pest insects without chemicals. Now, the exciting thing is we can order the beneficial insects we need to control problems such as flies around the ranch or farm or webworms in the pecan trees. The company supplies such beneficial insects as the trichogramma parasite wasp, fly parasites, lacewings, and, of course, ladybugs.

The trichogramma wasp is purchased and introduced into the pecan orchards when webworms are present and need to be controlled. The little wasps are awesome and do not bother humans; they just do their job of removing and controlling the webworms. These little guys are tiny: just one-fiftieth of an inch long. They are very efficient in the work and are used in a variety of crops such as cotton, corn, tomatoes, avocados, walnuts, pecans, apples, etc.

The wasps seek out eggs but do not feed on or harm vegetation. They pursue the eggs of many species of moths and butterflies, which are leaf eaters in their larval stage. So, if you were trying to attract or raise butterflies, you would not want to use these little guys.

If you have horses and a real fly problem, you now have a great and effective tool to control or remove them from your place. Fly parasites provide biological control over flies. Fly parasites attack several species of filth-breeding flies associated with our farm and ranch animals.

Lacewings have tiny larvae that emerge with a voracious appetite for aphids, small worms, insect eggs, mites, thrips, and immature whiteflies. These powerful lacewings resemble tiny alligators with pinchers.

There is much more information available to you about this subject; research it at

A word of wisdom: Neighborhoods get together and order together and save a lot on shipping. If you don’t have neighbors then get with your local garden centers, feed stores, or nurseries and order with others.

Got webworms, tent caterpillars, army worms, or any of the chewing worms? Want to get rid of them? Spray them with any of the Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) products. For the best results, add 1-2 ounces of molasses per gallon of spray.


I don’t know about your garden, but in our gardens, it is hard to tell the difference between weeds and exotic plants. There is a simple test. First, go out to your flowerbed or garden area. Second, reach down with a pair of channel locks (big pliers) and lock onto the prospective plant. Last, give a big pull. If it comes out easy, you just removed a desirable plant. If you couldn’t pull it up, it was a weed. Just teasing!


American beautyberry, Bradford pear, Carolina buckthorne, cherry laurel, Chinese photinia, cotoneaster, euonymus alata, flowering dogwood, hawthorns, Mexican plum, nadina domestica, persimmon, pyracantha, rusty blackhaw virburnum, rough leaf dogwood, soapberry, Southern magnolia, Southern wax myrtle, sumac (smooth, flameleaf), sweet gum, wax-leaf ligustrum.


Remove those pesky sticky burrs from shoes and shoelaces away from your front door; they are seeds. Think about where the watermelons grow weeks after you have eaten watermelon and spit the seeds onto the front lawn. You don’t want to work hard to remove grass burrs only to be planting the seeds.

Watering the birds is very important. Maintaining bird baths and other watering devices is something that needs to be done year-round and especially in the Texas heat.

Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors at (512) 577-1463 or Contact Martelle Luedecke at (512) 769-3179 or

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