Blanco County News
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Bill's Organic Garden – Then the Rains Came
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 • Posted October 10, 2013

Finally we have had some really good rains. The rains were spotty and certainly different in amounts, but they did come. Here in the Oatmeal Community we were blessed with 9.4 inches in two days. Needless to say it changed the landscape dramatically. Along with the rains came the long stemmed multi flowered Maximillian Sunflowers, purple Gay Feathers, Lantana, Salvia and many other flowering plants for Fall. Not to be outdone, the grasses have turned from brown to green once again. What beautiful sights we see driving through the countryside. Some of the creeks and springs are flowing again. Along with the good come the not so good, such as fire ants, beautiful ragweed, and mosquitoes. We have natural solutions for fire ants, and mosquitoes; however, you need to see your allergist for ragweed.

Busy October

Now is the time to apply Corn Gluten for the lawns. I have not done my lawn yet because without moisture it would have been a waste of time and money. Remember to apply corn gluten at the rate of 20 pounds per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Water it in gently and reapply next February or right before the last freeze this next year. I am going to apply in late January of 2014. Warning: Never apply any fertilizers just before a rain. The rains will carry off your application and you will have wasted your money, time, and effort. Corn Gluten is high in Nitrogen (10%) and that is what knocks out the grass burrs.

Prepare your plants for winter by applying John Dromgoule’s formula to your plants, trees, and almost any vegetation. This application builds up the plants to either heat or cold and Lord knows we have both in our winters. This formula is best if used as a foliar spray. The recipe is 2 tablespoons of fish emulsions, 1 tablespoon Medina Soil Activator, 1 tablespoon of Maxicrop Seaweed, and 1 tablespoon of G-V Blackstrap Molasses all combined in 1 gallon of water

Have you purchased and placed your Tulip and Hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator? Remember after 60 days of them chilling in the refrigerator, they need to be planted late December for spring color. The other bulb plants can be planted this month. Later this month is the time to dig up and prepare for saving till next year your Caladium bulbs. Check with your local nursery or look at pages 135 and 140 of my book “Gardening in the Texas Hill Country”.

Note: Don’t start pruning yet; wait till at least the first freeze.

If you have been gathering seeds and preparing them, now you can place them in containers properly labeled. Warning: Be absolutely sure that you have properly dried the seeds before putting away for the season. This is an excellent year to collect native grass seeds. Always collect seeds from country roads, as they have not had herbicides applied by local and state governmental agencies.

Note: It is time to feed your Azaleas, Camellias, and Rhododendrons with bone meal.

This is the month to plant those wildflowers that you have been collecting or purchasing. On every packet that you purchase at Wild Seed Farms there are instructions on how to plant. I think that Wild Seed Farm web site has instructions as well. (

This and That

Cut the tops off all the herbaceous perennials when they have completed their flowering cycle or when the first freeze has killed their leaves, whichever comes first.

Start planning where you are going to plant which trees in the November to February tree planting time. Make your list, and consult with your local nursery and garden center folks as they know best what your soils are and the weather patterns.

When all the leaves start falling and our grasses are brown, it is a great time to start a compost bin or pile. This is one of the best things you can do for your garden and lawn. The end product will be applied to both lawn and garden come next spring when you will be looking for some really rich compost.

Cedar Fever is Coming!

Now is the time to locate those lady Ashe Junipers (Cedar Trees), the ones with the berries. Mark these with flagging tape spray paint or something so you can go straight to them and get the berries that you will need to make the Cedar Tea to combat “Cedar Fever.” If you have plenty then you will want to share with friends who suffer from this annoying allergy. Yes, Sue Kersey, as in years past I have yours already spotted and in late November I will have your berries bagged for you

2nd Annual Texas Fruit Conference

I just returned last night from two very informative days in Bryan with other Master Gardeners and Orchard and Vineyard owners and managers. There was so much information at such a rapid pace that it was like trying to take a drink out of a fire hose. Fortunately, they are going to provide us with the link to all the Powerpoint presentations. I will be writing about some of the things we learned in the coming columns.

Till Next Month!

Keep your souls and your soles in your garden!

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

Questions or Comments

Have questions or comments? Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors, www.TexasLand.Net and click on links. P.O. Box 1632, Bertram, TX. 78605 (no Post Office in Oatmeal) or email For additional gardening web sites, go to his web site;

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