Triple P: Popsicles, Pesticides, Pond Care

Forecast: hot & icky, with more to come. Along with jumping into the nearest pool, cool down with home-made popsicles! Hey, much cheaper than moving to Alaska.

Homemade popsicles BPA free molds

Trisha Shirey shows how to make yummy, healthy versions. And they’re so easy that you won’t even break a sweat.

Homemade popsicles in Dixie cups

Get her recipes for watermelon berry, avocado mint, yogurt berry, pina colada, lime coconut, and green tea and peppermint; you could even add an “adult beverage” to the mix. All were super hits with the CTG crew taste-testers!

Homemade popsicles avocado, yogurt, berries

In summer, I crave cucumbers for snacks. Robin McGary gets this week’s Viewer Picture for her babies (now probably on her dinner table). What a kick to plant a seed and watch it grow into food of your own.

cucumber female flowers and fruit

Need cucumber recipes? Get Trisha’s for refreshing Aguas Frescas and salads.

And her easy icebox pickles.

In July, we dive for cover, as do our plants. One that stands up to brutality is native groundcover snake herb (Dyschoriste linearis), Daphne’s Plant of the Week. And she even pronounces that for us!

snake herb native drought plant

Its wispy foliage sports tiny flowers that butterflies won’t miss.

snake herb flower native perennial groundcover for drought

Although it flowers off and on through summer, mainly I grow this perennial for its spreading texture against other plants, in either sun to part shade. It went underground when my garden hit 12°, but returned before I got worried about it.

snake herb with lamb's ears and 'John Fanick' phlox

Raquelle Godbey inspired Daphne’s question this week: why organic pesticides are just as harmful as “chemical” ones. Daphne reminds us that just because a product is labelled “organic,” it doesn’t mean it will just kill the “bad bugs.” They can also wipe out our bees, butterflies and other beneficials.

ladybug on bolting cilantro natural aphid control

When cilantro bolts in heat, flowers attract beneficial pollinators. If we hang on through the untidy process, we can harvest seeds for cooking (coriander) or collect for next fall’s planting.

cilantro flowers for coriander seeds

Racquelle discovered another benefit. Aphids.

Yikes, you say! But thanks to them, Racquelle’s got generations of ladybugs and green lacewings who showed up to the aphid table. Really, if you need to buy insects, you’re doing something wrong.  They’ll show up on their own if you don’t kill them or their food supply.

ladybug and green lacewing natural pest control

I’ve heard more than one sad story about pesticide drift that killed pond fish. Certainly, we don’t want that, but what about a safe way to deal with floating green algae?

Steve Kainer from Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery has the answer when he joins Tom with on-target tips for summertime pond care.

Steve Kainer Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery

One top question: floating green and string algae. First, fend it off with at least 60% plant coverage. Feed goldfish only what they can eat in a few minutes. For koi, provide small feedings 3 times a day. Follow his ratio: an inch of fish per 10 gallons (in other words, not too many fish!).

Keep things tidy and use a skimmer. A few preventive products include barley hay straw.

barley hay straw natural pond algae control

Aerate, since lots of oxygen diffuses algae.

pond aerate Hill Country Water Gardens and Nursery

Steve reminds us to fertilize monthly with aquatic plant tablets, one pellet per gallon pot. And to fend off those herons, he has great luck with Scarecrow!

scarecrow motion-activated animal deterrent

On tour, Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery installed Claudia and Ronnie Hubenthal’s ponds and streams. Claudia designed it around a bridge that she lucked into.

bridge and pond design Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery

Here’s where they started. I love the “top” dog getting a better look.

before pond design Central Texas Gardener


pond design Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery

In progress.

pond design Georgetown Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery pond design Georgetown Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery

Dive in to see it all!

Thanks for stopping by! Next week, Scott Ogden adds new perspectives with hardy bromeliads. See you then, Linda