In the garden: grasshoppers, alternatives to raised beds

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A wheelbarrow is a great and pretty alternative to a raised bed. Keep reading for more ideas. iStockphoto

When you see grasshoppers, it’s time to break out the flour. Fifty pounds will be more than enough to make the average yard. All-purpose flour will work; self-elevation is best. And grasshoppers are not “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 wind direction (index, index).
  • Step 2 – Throw with the wind (hint, hint, hint).
  • Step 3 – Pour the flour by hand over the infested areas of your yard and garden.

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

TIME TO PLANT

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

Herbs: Anise, basil, bay leaf, catnip, chives, comfrey, costmary, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, scented geranium, germander, horehound, horseradish, lamb’s ear, lavender, lemongrass, lemon verbena, Mexican marigold, oregano, perilla, rosemary, sage, santolina, summer savory, winter savory, sesame, sorrel, austral, 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, moon vine, glory vine morning, periwinkle, sunflower, tithonia (Mexican sunflower), zinnia.

Remember to keep a journal or take notes on where you planted what.

ALTERNATIVES TO RAISED BEDS

Maybe you’re not comfortable enough with a hammer to build a raised bed. Or, you just want something different. Your goal is some kind of planter that will hold the soil and drain properly. That said, your options are limitless. Here are some alternatives that offer the same results as a raised bed.

Swimming pool for children. Drill a few holes in it and you’re good to go. Instant decorative raised bed. How about old portable fireplaces? Or a plastic storage box whose lid you’ve lost? Or a watering can that doesn’t hold water? Or one of our favorites, an old wheelbarrow? Or a metal milk can? Or a drawer? Or a wooden crate? Or a dented binder? With a filing cabinet, you can pull out the drawers (use them separately) and lay the filing 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 will drain on its own. If it contains water, drill a few holes in the base. Stagger the holes so that the water drains evenly.

Now fill 10% of your alternative with granite gravel. Then fill it one-third from the bottom with manure compost. Then, fill with topsoil. If your alternative is deep, you can put in sticks and bark before adding topsoil. Woody filler not only takes up space, but will also 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 scoop the lettuce out of the wheelbarrow and pull the carrots out of the sorter.

Till next time. 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

“In the Garden” is written by father-daughter duo Bill et Martelle Luedecke and Bill Luedecke. Contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or luedeckephotography@gmail.com. Contact Bill at 512-577-1463 or bill@texasland.net.

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