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IN THE GARDEN: Sheep or Alpaca? And Other October Duties

This guy can help your garden. Find out how below.

Geese are honking. Blooms are bursting. Migrating butterflies are en route. Lakes are rising.

Recently, we were invited to speak at the Highland Lakes Garden Club meeting. What a wonderful time we had. While discussing raised beds, the question of “what is the best animal manure to use” arose. Sheep and alpaca manure were the winners. The difference between the two being that alpacas have a higher digestive efficiency than sheep. Yet, on the other hand, sheep manure is more readily accessible. Both are great for fertilizing your gardens. Thank you, Lavona Fry, for the interesting factoid about alpacas.


With the recent rains, the ground and timing for corn gluten application is perfect. Apply corn gluten at a rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet. This application is to be done in October and again just before spring gets under way. The reason for this application is to combat grass burrs (stickers) in the lawn.

Gentle reminder: Don’t put corn gluten where you want and expect veggies and wildflowers to sprout. The corn gluten will prevent/kill them for one, two, and possibly three seasons.

The side benefit of this application is that corn gluten is not only an excellent natural pre-emergent but a great fertilizer as well. Most of what we are buying in the feed stores and nurseries have ingredients of corn gluten meal, yeast culture, and corn gluten feed. Be sure to call around to find out who has it available (if you have not pre-ordered) and who has the best buys.


More things to consider for this month:

1. Place your tulip (Tulipa) and hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis) bulbs in the fridge (refrigerator/icebox). With 60 days chilling, they can be planted in December.

2. Perfect weather to dig up and separate your irises and flowering rhizomes (deer don’t like eating irises for lunch).

3. Since November through February is a good time to plant trees, begin your list now.

4. Don’t start pruning trees yet, as tempting as it is. We’ll remind you later.

5. Remove all the annuals as they begin to dwindle in their blooms.

6. Cut the tops off all the herbaceous (herb-like, usually leafy or non-woody) perennials that have completed their flowering cycle.

7. If you have been collecting and saving seeds of those favorite or newly discovered plants, allow them to air-dry. Then, place them in an air-tight container. Be sure to mark what they are before putting them away, inside, for a “good night’s sleep.”

8. Time to feed the azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons with bone meal to encourage bud formation.

9. When you are composting, be sure to add coffee grounds to assist in bringing the pH down.

10. If you are not applying corn gluten this season, fertilize your lawn (8-2-4) for the winter.

Mark your calendars for Saturday Oct. 20. Wade Hibler will be hosting a fruit tree seminar at Backbone Valley Nursery in Marble Falls.

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 Contact Martelle Luedecke at (512) 769-3179 or

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