Audio articles about Wilson County news made possible by the C Street Gift Shop in downtown Floresville!

South Texas Gardner

Question: Tell us again how we can tell if the grass is still alive, even if it’s straw-colored.

A: I recommend soaking the area in a small test plot for half an hour with a hose every day for a week. If the grass is alive, it should show some green shoots. Mark the area to about 4 square feet so water can be applied with the end of a hose or by hand. If there is no green response, the grass is likely dead. Don’t expect green to be perfect. But, most of the time, there is greening in the grass blades in the test area, which indicates that the grass is essentially still alive and will respond to cooler temperatures and moisture.

Q: When do you recommend we start our bird feeding program again for the winter, too, please List some feeds we should use to reduce squirrel dominance.

A: October 1st is a good time to start hunting some migratory birds and most winter birds. Use pepper-flavored suet to attract insect-eating birds such as woodpeckers, wrens, some warblers, and mockingbirds. The peppery-flavored seeds will satisfy the needs of seed eaters such as cardinals and chickadees. Use thistle seed in a tube with small access holes for goldfinches. House finches and sparrows especially like safflower seeds. Squirrels pass the pepper-flavored seeds and safflower seeds.

Q: Based on your recommendation, we got… Some porteroid plants to attract pollinators, including monarchs, to our garden. It used to be great at attracting hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, but now we’ve succeeded I discovered that she is very sensitive to cold. Is there a way to protect it during the winter? Does a mini greenhouse work?

A: Yes, Porterweed dies from temperatures in the low 40s. If you can keep the temperature in your greenhouse always above 40 degrees, you may be able to survive. I have used Porterweed as a nectar source for several years, but have never tried to protect it from the cold. Have any of the other gardeners in attendance had any experiences to report with this problem?

Q: Our favorite nursery already has broccoli plants. Will they survive in this heat?

A: Most winter vegetables will survive this temperature, but the “bloom” is a bit intense. The idea with broccoli is to plant it at this time of year so that the heads can be harvested in time for use at Thanksgiving. Spinach and lettuce seeds will not germinate until temperatures drop at night. Broccoli and kale will taste milder if temperatures are cooler. Hopefully and wait for the cooler temperatures.

Calvin Finch is a retired Texas A&M gardener. Listen to him on “Gardening South Texas” on KLUP Radio 930 AM Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2 p.m. or email him at

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: