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IN THE GARDEN: Time to feed the hummingbirds

Do not add food coloring to your hummingbird feeder. Keep reading to find out the perfect ratios of water to sugar.

Have you heard your first hummingbird fly-by? When the hummers arrive, you want to fix their food a little higher in sugar than normal since they have had such a long trek.

For the first week, mix a 3:1 ratio of water to sugar. Please don’t use food coloring or artificial sweetener for our avian friends. During the second week, once the hummingbirds have recuperated, switch to a 4:1 ratio of water to sugar.

When the season gets going, we make batches ahead of time and store them in 32-ounce containers in the refrigerator with the lid tightly closed. We use 32-ounce containers because that is the size of our hummingbird feeders. You can use any container that is convenient for you. Do remember to close the lid tightly. If the lid is loose, you might be making rock candy.

RAIN GAUGE TIP

Although you do not want to put food coloring in your hummingbird food, it is great for your rain gauge. Place one or two drops in the gauge. Then, when it rains, you can see the measurement from a distance — without getting wet in the rain.

TOO WET?

We’ve had such perfect gardening weather: cool and damp with the sun peeking out. Some folks have been blessed with more rain than others. A good test to see if your soil is damp enough is to reach down and grab some in your hand. Close your hand so the soil makes a ball. When you open your hand, what do you see? “Just right” is when the soil stays in the ball with your hand open.

TO PLANT

Seeds: all hot-weather herbs such as basil, chives, and milk thistle.

Plants: all hot-weather herbs and perennial herbs such as artemisias, basil, bergamot, catmint or catnip, chives, comfrey, scented geranium, lemon grass, mints, oregano, pennyroyal, rosemary, Santolina, and thyme. (Have you checked out cinnamon basil or chocolate mint for this year?)

Vegetables: beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, lettuce, melons, onions, peas, peppers, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini.

Stagger plantings so you don’t have a harvest all at once but over time. For instance, if you have a section for growing peppers, plant some this week and some next week. Although the growth rates of the plants will vary, we’ve done our due diligence to stagger our harvests. You may want to plant more for your elderly parents or grandparents who are unable to tend their own gardens.

Till next time, keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors at 512-577-1463 or email him at bill@texasland.net. Contact Martelle Luedecke at Luedecke Photography at 769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com.

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