IN THE GARDEN: Getting rid of grasshoppers
The ideal temperature for grasshoppers is 86-112 degrees. Sounds like a Central Texas summer to us. Grasshoppers can and will eat half their body weight daily. If you've noticed that the leaves in your garden are beginning to look like Swiss cheese, you most likely have grasshoppers chomping away.
Here are a couple of suggestions to deter and, hopefully, eradicate the chompers.
The first solution is to make the plant unpalatable — taste yucky — to the grasshopper. Either spray it liberally with organic Neem oil or with a basic garlic spray. Neem oil is readily available at your local feed or gardening store.
To make a garlic spray, boil 1 cup of chopped garlic in 5 cups of water and let it steep overnight. Strain the chopped garlic, saving the liquid. The liquid is now your concentrate. Mix 1 part concentrate to 3 parts water. For instance, mix 1 cup of concentrate with 3 cups of water. Place the mixture in a spray bottle and douse your garden foliage to make the leaves taste yucky to grasshoppers.
A second solution is companion gardening. While we often use companion gardening to help our plants flourish, we can sometimes companion garden to deter chomping pests.
Plant sunflowers, calendula, dill, and cilantro in your garden to keep the grasshoppers away.
A third solution: befriend a Texas spiny lizard. The Texas spiny lizard is fairly shy. While well camouflaged to blend with tree bark, you will often see them scurrying across your sidewalk to get to the shade and out of your way. Most of their diet is grasshoppers and crickets.
In July we plan for heat, fall, and spring!
JULY GARDEN DUTIES
- Halloween? Plant your pumpkins for Halloween this July 4 weekend. (The Monday after will be fine, too.) • Pinch back chrysanthemums, Mexican marigold mint, marigold, autumn asters, salvias, and other late summer, fall-blooming annuals, and perennials.
- Vegetables to plant: okra, eggplant (transplants), peppers (transplants), corn, sweet potato slips, pumpkin, summer and winter squash, warm season greens, southern peas.
- Deep soak trees if you haven’t received 4 inches of rain in a month. Slow, long drip. • Prune herbs often to encourage growth. More fresh herbs for the salads, pastas, sauces, rubs, etc.
- Seed collecting from summer (and late spring) blooming plants. Clean off the chaff and let dry. Store in paper or glass: jars, brown lunch bag, envelopes, etc., but NEVER plastic bags. Make sure to label what type of seed it is. We know it sounds silly, but next spring, when it’s time to plant, the seed might not look as familiar as it does now. Hopefully, you’ll have bunches.
Til 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
"In the Garden" is written by daughter-father duo Martelle and Bill Luedecke. Contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Bill Luedecke at 512-577-1463 or email@example.com.
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