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IN THE GARDEN: Getting rid of grasshoppers; raised bed alternatives

A wheelbarrow is a great and pretty alternative to a raised bed. Keep reading for other ideas. iStock photo

When you see grasshoppers, it’s time to get out the flour. Fifty pounds will be more than enough to do the average yard. All-purpose flour will work; self-rising is best. And grasshoppers aren’t "gluten-free.”

It is best to apply the flour early in the morning, when there is a heavy dew on the ground.

  • Step 1 — Determine the direction of the wind (hint, hint).
  • Step 2 — Throw with the wind (hint, hint, hint).
  • Step 3 — Cast the flour by hand over the infested areas in your yard and garden.

Repeat the process in about two to three weeks, when the next hatch begins.


Vegetables: Tomatoes, lima beans, snap beans, beets, chard, okra, black-eyed peas, radishes, New Zealand spinach, summer squash, peppers.

Herbs: Anise, basil, bay, catnip, chives, comfrey, costmary, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, scented geranium, germander, horehound, horseradish, lamb’s ear, lavender, lemongrass, lemon verbena, Mexican mint marigold, oregano, perilla, rosemary, sage, santolina, summer savory, winter savory, sesame, sorrel, southernwood, tansy, tarragon, thyme, wormwood.

Annual flower/ornamental seeds: Ageratum, balsam, castor bean, celosia, cleome, coleus, coreopsis, cosmos, cypress vine, four o’clock, globe amaranth (gomphrena), gourds, hyacinth bean vine, impatiens, marigold, moonflower vine, morning glory vine, periwinkle, sunflower, tithonia (Mexican sunflower), zinnia.

Remember to journal or take notes of where you planted what.


Perhaps you’re not comfortable enough with a hammer to build a raised bed. Or, you simply would like something different. Your goal is a planter of sorts that will hold soil and drain properly. With this said, your options are limitless. Here are some alternatives that offer the same results as a raised bed.

Children’s swimming pool. Drill some holes in it, and you’re set to go. Instant decorative raised bed. How about old portable fire pits? Or a plastic storage box you’ve lost the lid to? Or a watering can that doesn’t hold water? Or one of our favorites, an old wheelbarrow? Or metal milk can? Or a drawer? Or a wooden crate? Or a dented file cabinet? With a file cabinet you can take out the drawers (use those separately) and lay the file cabinet on its back. Presto! Instant raised bed.

For each of these suggestions, make sure the bottom drains. If the item already has a crack, it’ll drain on its own. If it holds water, drill a couple of holes in the base. Spread out the holes so water will evenly drain.

Now, fill 10 percent of your alternative with granite gravel. Then, fill it a third up from the bottom with manure compost. Next, fill with topsoil. If your alternative is deep, you can put in sticks and bark before adding topsoil. The woody filler not only takes up space but also will add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.

Plant your plants. And, of course, you knew we were going to say it: mulch, mulch, mulch.

At harvest time, imagine telling your little helper to gather the lettuce out of the wheelbarrow and pull the carrots from the file cabinet.

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 father-daughter duo Bill and Martelle Luedecke and Bill Luedecke. Contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or Contact Bill at 512-577-1463 or

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