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Bill's Organic Garden
Gardening Here in Texas Hill Country Can be Tough!
Thursday, July 14, 2011 • Posted July 14, 2011

By Bill Luedecke

Gardening here is not for the faint of heart. We have already had triple digit weather from May forward plus those insidious high winds. Seeing as tomatoes and other veggies do not like weather above 90 degrees, couple that without rain and it sure makes gardening a challenge. I have raised beds that face west and the between the heat and the unrelenting sun I had to make use of some old real estate “For Sale” signs and use them to block the heat and the sun from the afternoon broil.

However, much to my surprise and pleasure it worked.

I just leaned one sign on the west side of the raised bed like a one-sided pup tent. What a difference it made.

Be sure and mulch deeply (4-5inches) and utilize soaker hoses, drip irrigation, and water at ground level if hand watering.

Crazy Weather!

We are experiencing what some experts are calling the worse drought since the fifties or in the history of Texas. The weather service has declared that we are experiencing what they deem an “Extreme Drought”. For the first time that I can ever remember all the fireworks displays and sales have been canceled in Texas. The symphony in Austin celebrated the Fourth of July without the usual massive fireworks display. As I am writing this column (4th of July weekend) we are expecting rain, according to the Texas Sages locally that are in full bloom, and indeed some folks have already enjoyed the elusive wet stuff in the form of “pop up showers”. When we are in a drought period such as this one, the only living things that are fooled are we humans. Look at the vegetation and check out your garden, we are not getting the harvest that we get under more favorable conditions.

Bob Rose our Texas Hill Country/Highland Lakes weather guru, says that we had better be praying for tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico (my paraphrase). La Nina has weakened and we are in the neutral zone with that high-pressure looming overhead.

Now, we are in Texas and we do live in a perpetual drought where it occasionally rains, we just somehow forget this fact and have of course never planned for it.

July Duties

This is the time of the year that your birdbaths are earning their keep. If you have water available for the birds in your garden they are more likely to leave your tomatoes alone. They are just after fluids and the water source that is available to them in the yard and gardens is really helpful to them and to your veggies.

Hope that if you are enjoying a bountiful harvest that you are sharing and storing for the Winter. There are all kinds of gadgets for accomplishing that task and most of us already have them.

There have been lots of bee activity recently and it reminded of being told by my grandmother that it was always good to be as busy as those little Bees. I finally read just how busy they are. Honeybees tag 2,000,000 flowers to make one pound of honey. A hive of bees flies 55,000 miles to bring you and me one pound of honey. The average worker bee makes one and half teaspoons of honey in their lifetime. So the next time you are enjoying those biscuits and honey for breakfast, remember how hard those little honeybees had to work to provide that wonderful food for you to enjoy.

If you want to carve a big Pumpkin for Halloween from your own garden, then you better prepare and plant them now. I know it is too hot to be thinking about Fall but that is the way it works.

Start thinking about what you are going to do for the Fall planting which we will be preparing for next month.

Till Next Month!

Keep your soles and souls in your garden.

Have questions or comments? Contact Bill at The Luedecke Group Realtors, P.O. Box 1632, Bertram, TX. 78605 or email

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