Hill Country Gardens
Gardening in the Texas Hill Country
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more tips for your garden


We're looking for tips that save time, money and backache.

If you've discovered a way to make gardening in the Hill Country easier please send your tips to the webmaster

Creating A New Garden Bed

Here's a great tip for creating a new bed from a Lago Vista gardener. It shows that a little patience will save your back.
Here is a little trick I use. I'm in the Highland Lakes area. Very rocky. When we built our house, of course the builder put "sandy loam" down. We put buffalo over that.

When I want to make a new flower bed, I do this: Recommended for natives and naturalized plants only!

  1. Edge first, using the plastic kind that goes into the    ground for 3 inches & you have the rolled edge above the ground.
  2. Weed eat the grass or weeds down to the dirt.
  3. Sprinkle manure and compost over entire area.
  4. Put down at least 4 layers of newspaper. Wet it as you go so it will not blow away.
  5. Top with 4 inches of mulch. I use cedar chips.
  6. Wait 6 months or so and then begin planting. 

    The grass will die and the ground will soften up immensely!!!! Much easier to dig a hole after doing this. I recommend it for natives because they like our natural "soil". This would not be a good method for exotics that need a bed to be entirely tilled and amended. I think that solarization could also be used for this. Especially if trying to use this method over Bermuda or St. Augustine. Thank you






Common Household Items

Wake Up and Feed Your Garden 

Faye T. recycles her coffee grounds- "I have been adding them to the compost generally, but also just putting them on top of the ground in the flower beds, too."

If you use the filters for making coffee, they can be used for putting on the bottom of the pots to cover holes when planting new flowers. It works really well.

Deer Cages & Coat Hangers

Sturdy deer cages can be formed from galvinized fencing material found at your local home improvement store. It can be used as a simple tube or cut to form a cage around and over your plants.

Save those wire hangers. Cut into 4-5 inch lengths and bend to form a U shape. They work great for anchoring your cage to the ground so the deer can't knock it over.

Save Water & Your Plants

"Several people have told me that deer eat their deer resistant plants---even lantana!   When starving they will try anything.

However you can make your deer resistant plants more resistant by not watering them. For example lantana does well even in drought (my lantana this year has been spectacular) but without water its leaves are dry and tough and very unappealing to deer. Deer resistance of many other plants can be similarly improved." -Joan M.

Bring in the Bees

From Frank Edges comes a great idea for bringing the bees into your garden. This might not be for those who are allergic to the stings but don't forget that we need those little guys to pollinate our gardens. No bees- no food or flowers!

Fred cuts up left over fruit into small bits and drops them into a recycled plastic jug. He hangs it from a tree near the garden and stands back to watch the bees come from near and far. He says you might want to poke a small hole in the bottom to drain rainwater but he seldom has to worry about that since the bees soon consume everything but the citrus rinds

Lack of habitat and discriminant pesticide spraying has lead to a real lack of bees to pollinate the crops in America. The agricultural business now uses mobile bee hives which travel across the country to pollinate our food crops.