Texas Spring Gardening Tips

Texas Spring Gardening Tips

It’s so tempting to jump right into the spring season. But don’t jump in without reading some Texas spring gardening tips. Our weather has been so mild this winter, so the green thumb may be getting a little itchy. Whether you are just getting started or ready to develop a new hobby, it’s time to start planning and working on your spring garden.

Many people think they are no good at growing anything, leading to the name “brown thumb”. But, anyone can grow some basic crops, you just have to know a few essentials to get started.

So, check out these Texas spring gardening tips to prepare for your new garden. Let’s get growing!

Soil

You have to start with the ground. The soil is THE foundation of gardening and for healthy plants. If you have not been gardening previously, your soil will probably need nutrients. Compost will help add some of those nutrients so you can prepare your land for planting.

Drainage

Rainfall can be “unpredictable” to say the least. When planning your garden, you want to make sure its raised enough to prevent waterlogged plants in the event of a heavy rainy season. But, you also want to make sure it’s close enough to your faucets that you can access it with the water hose.

Sunshine

When you pick the plants you want to grow, look for their sunlight recommendations. Many vegetables require full sunlight at least 6 hours a day, so planting a garden under a huge oak tree wouldn’t be beneficial.

Use Proper Varieties

You want to choose plants that are adapted for the Texas weather (hello, heat in July). You’ll want to go to a nursery or gardening expert to find the best crops for your specific area. Also, you want to pick a variety of plants so that you have a selection.

Planting Time

Planting should occur after the last freeze. However, being in Texas, who knows WHEN that may occur. For some plants, it’s safe to wait a little longer. But, for others, like tomatoes, you may want to get a head start by planting indoors and transplanting later.

Don’t Overplant

It is so tempting to plant ALL of the seeds. But unless you’re feeding a large family or are planning on sharing, you don’t need rows and rows of okra and tomatoes. They WILL produce a lot. It can easily become overwhelming when it comes time to harvest.

Check for Pests and Weeds

With these things, prevention is way better than trying to maintain. Keep a look out for pests and weeds and stay on top of their treatments. Check your local gardening store for the best treatments before and during gardening season.

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Eliminate Sugar Ants in Your Home

Sugar ant infestations are a common problem in the Texan summers and not easily removed. Sugar ants are a simple pest, eating sweets and other food scraps left behind. The ant however, isn’t technically a “Sugar Ant”, as that is a specific species of ant common in Australia. They aren’t found here. The ant species we have is most likely Pavement and Pharaoh ants, but for this post and to use common terminology, we will refer to these ants as sugar ants.

Sugar Ants and Other Ants

The Pavement and Pharaoh ants we refer to as sugar ants are the most common and abundant ants found here in North America.

Sometimes, Little Black Ants are called by the same name, although they are completely different. The black ants will eat a variety of foods and really prefer dark spaces and rotting wood.

Whether you have sugar ants or Little Black Ants, getting rid of them can be accomplished by the same methods. Baits are going to be your friend, both indoor and out.

Best Ways to Control Ants

It really is a daily task to control ants during the peak season. The season runs March through September and ants are most likely to be found in your kitchen.

Kitchen Sink

Keeping your kitchen sink clean and dry is the most important preventative method. Washing dishes, cleaning the sink, and wiping down the counters are crucial. You want to make sure there is no residual food particles on the surfaces that may attract the ants.

To be extra cautious, you can add a little bleach water down the drain to get rid of any food smell.

Counter Tops

Be extra detailed by the coffee station. The few crumbs of sugar is all that’s needed to signal that food is available to ants. Once again, bleach water is a good option to get rid of any lingering smells.

Floors

Sweep and mop DAILY during the summer to take care of extra crumbs. Vacuum carpeted areas daily as well.

Garbage

Use strong trash bags and make sure the trash is taken out regularly. Also, check the bottom inside of your trash can for any spills after removing the bag. Always, make sure everything is clean and dry.

Baits

Lastly, sweet baits can be put in your home as well for an extra elimination method. The ants eat the sweet bait that is poisoned with Borax and take some of the bait back to the colony. Using baits will help get to the bottom of the problem and wipe out the colony.

Things You Should Clean More

Things You Should Clean More Than You Probably Do

You clean your house, are you getting it all covered?

Even the cleanest people can miss things if they aren’t thinking about it. Now, of course, we don’t advocate for anyone to get obsessive in their cleaning. BUT, you don’t want to overlook some important items either. Check out the following list of things you should clean more than you probably do and see if there are any items you are completely overlooking on your household chores.

Don’t Forget the Remote Control

Everyone’s grimy hands fight over the remote. You don’t want to be fighting over each other’s germs as well. Use a Q-Tip and rubbing alcohol to wipe between the buttons and to get everything all sanitized. (And use that alcohol again for your computer mouse and your phone buttons too.)

Don’t Forget the Dishwasher

Clear out that extra gunk by pouring a cup of baking soda in the bottom basin of the dishwasher, and put a measuring cup of vinegar in the top shelf. Run the dish cycle as normal. The extra cleaning cycle will freshen the odor of your dishwasher and help clean out any caked-on gunk, for a more effective dish cycle.

Don’t Forget the Ceiling Fans

That dust builds up over time, and it always seems to fall off in the most inconvenient times. Catch that dust by wrapping an old pillowcase around the fan blades and pulling the dust into the case.

Don’t Forget the Fridge Handles

And can opener, and any other gadget, tool, or appliance you touch daily that doesn’t go into the dishwasher. These things don’t need to be done often, but an occasional sanitizing is well worth the extra couple of moments. Especially in the kitchen.

Don’t Forget the Pillows

Did you know it is generally safe to throw pillows in the washer and dryer? It won’t extend the lifespan forever, but it is good to give pillows a quick washing every now and then. Cut down on germs, improve smell, and add some extra fluff by washing bed pillows and throw pillows when needed.

Trash Overhaul, Reduce Waste Now

Trash Overhaul

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was not “Reduce Waste”, then you may want to consider it. Whether you cut back on trash production for environmental reasons, cost reasons (some cities charge for bigger garbage receptacles), or just because it’s a hassle to take out the garbage SO much, a few helpful tips can get you on the right track. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done, and try out a few of these tips this week!

Reduce Waste With these Trash Overhaul Tips

  1. REUSABLE BAGS! Did you know that some cities have now banned plastic bags? Some stores have gotten rid of all bags together. And some charge for disposable bags. We may not be in an area where those things are happening, but they are very likely around the corner. So, get into the habit now of bringing your reusable bags to the store. (If you forget, make sure to reuse your bag later in the week or recycle it, but don’t just toss it in the trash can.)
  2. Cut back on single serve containers. It may be more convenient, especially for packing lunches and for after school snacks, but it’s less wasteful and less costly to buy in bigger packaging. So, bag up your chips and cookies in reusable containers, and TRY not to leave them at work at the end of the day.
  3. Try your hand at composting. Quite a bit of our trash comes from food waste. Plan your list in advance, buy what you need, and if you do have scraps, consider a compost heap in the back yard.
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  5. Purchase soaps and detergents in concentrated forms. Some products are made to be diluted, or can be used for multiple purposes. Try to cut back on plastics by finding refillable options!

Making the Most Out of After Christmas Shopping

Making the Most out of After Christmas Shopping

Whether you didn’t get everything on your Christmas list, or you’re looking to score some great deals, after Christmas shopping is the way to go. Not only can you get great deals on some big ticket items, you can also prepare for next year’s holidays. (Of course, we recommend you have the space and an organizational system in place before you start buying a surplus of wrapping paper. If you’re not organized, you risk losing your items or forgetting what you’ve purchased before the next season.)

However, if you’re organized, and have a few items left on your wish list, there are a few great things to buy this time of the year. Stores are clearing out their inventory to make room for spring, and things need to go. Fast. Some of these items include…

Bedding

The tip: Wait until January. Deeper discounts occur in January, when many stores have their “White Sales”. Sheets, comforters, pillow cases, and other bedding items will be much more affordable this time of the year, as retailers look to clear out last year’s designs and make room for the new designs.

Electronics

We all think of Black Friday when we think of electronics. However, if you can wait until after Christmas, you may find your latest gadget at even lower prices. New technology is often released after the Consumer Electronics Show, which occurs in January. Soon, it’s in with the new, and out with the old. This year’s models will need to be cleared out to make way for the newest gadget. So, watch the sales and snag that new device you’ve been looking at.

Exercise Equipment

This is pretty self-explanatory. New Year. New resolutions. Lots of exercise equipment. So, if you’ve been looking for a treadmill, free weights, or a new pair of running shoes, NOW is definitely the time to hit the sales.

Christmas Accessories

Wrapping paper, boxes, bows, lights, and ornaments… what’s left will start hitting major price reductions. By next week, leftover stock can be found for up to 90% off. There may not be a lot of inventory left, but if you have a few extra dollars and a safe place to keep items for a year, this is the best time to stock up on some of those Christmas essentials for next year.

Guide to Holiday Organization

Your one stop guide to holiday organization. The holiday season is in full swing. Thanksgiving is over, and the Christmas and Holiday parties have begun. You many be looking at office parties, family parties, and friends events in the next few weeks. The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s definitely can feel like a whole season instead of just three or four holidays. If you haven’t taken some time to get organized, do it now! A few hours of planning and holiday organization will actually save you so much time and energy this month.

Our Tips for Holiday Organization

Start with a To-Do List

Obviously, a list is the first thing you need. Whether you use an app, a notebook, or a white board, get the big things on the list and on the calendar. Write down the major parties, gatherings, and other important tasks and dates so you can begin scheduling around those.

Set Deadlines

Once you have the major things on the calendar, it’s easier to backwards engineer your schedule. Pick a day to mail holiday cards, and from there, you’ll know when you need to have family portraits made and when to place the printing order.

Don’t Start Big Projects

Unless you have a lot of down time because of vacation hours, this is not the time to start any major projects. Any home renovations or extra work projects should be postponed if not necessary. Unless you are extremely scheduled, adding to the routine will only make things unnecessarily stressful.

Take Stock Before You Shop

Remember the 7 rolls of wrapping paper you bought on clearance last year after Christmas? Before you go shopping, take stock of what you have and what you need. Check the lights and the decor to see if everything works. If you’ve been buying presents throughout the year, take inventory before you shop for more.

Purge the Kids’ Rooms

If you have children, this is a MUST before you go anywhere where they’ll get more gifts. Go through toys and clothes. If they’ve outgrown it, never play with/ wear it, or don’t want it any more, then donate the usable stuff and trash the rest. Make room now, or the new gifts will get lost in the mess.

This Goes for You Too

After you purge the kids’ rooms, do some general de-cluttering yourself. If you’re buying replacement decor, planning on getting new clothes, or getting new kitchen gadgets, don’t leave the old stuff in a box collecting dust. Donate the things you don’t need and trash the stuff that’s broken.

Hire a Housekeeper

 We’re still booking! But, seriously, with all the running around, sometimes the basics get overlooked. Have someone come in to do a basic clean so you can run your errands. Or do a one time deep clean, and make sure those baseboards are dust free!

Schedule an “Un-decorating” Day

There are two types of people: the “get it all put away as soon as Christmas is over” people, and then “I’ll do it tomorrow and suddenly it’s February and my tree is still up” kind of people. If you’re in the second group, we won’t tell. But, it is a good idea to set aside a day, put it on the calendar, and have the whole family pitch in to get things put away neatly so you’re prepared for next year.