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IN THE GARDEN: Spring has Sprung 101

dill plant

Plant dill to attract beneficial insects that prey on garden pests. Then, use it for pickling. Win-win!

New mesquite green is bursting. Scissor-tailed flycatchers are here, and painted buntings will arrive soon. Seniors are counting the days until high school graduation. 

Spring has sprung.


  • Feed and mulch!
  • Please keep bird feeders and watering holes full.
  • We can plant, plant, plant! Bright warm colors: allamanda, bougainvillea, hibiscus, mandevilla and penta. Warm seasonals: begonias, caladiums, cosmos, impatiens, lantana, periwinkle, and zinnias. Any and all herbs as well as hot weather vegetables.
  • Plant perennials for summer and fall. Here are some to choose from: Columbine, coreopsis, fall aster, firebrush, geraniums, plumbago, rock rose, sage, shrimp plant, and verbena.
  • Take care of itchy nuisances. Our working soldiers, the beneficial nematodes, come to the rescue for flea and tick challenges. For chiggers, apply elemental sulfur at 4 pounds per 1,000 square-feet. When the ground is dry, you may spread diatomaceous earth for ants, fleas, and roaches. Diatomaceous earth can be found at nursery and hardware stores.
  • Thin the peaches on peach trees. Remove bunches that are at the end of a thin limb, the ones that resemble a bunch of grapes. The bunch of peach grapes could become too heavy for the limb, and since they are so close together, the fruit will not have ample opportunity to evenly ripen. Thin your peaches so they are a hand’s breadth between fruit — for yummier results.
  • NO burning on RED FLAG days!


We’re going to plant some dill. Want to know why? Dill attracts lots of beneficial insects to your garden, including ladybugs, green lacewings, braconid wasps, tachinid flies, hoverflies, mealybug destroyers, and aphid midges. 

By planting dill, you can lure beneficial insects to help control aphids, tobacco hornworms, tomato hornworms, whitefly, leafhoppers, mites, fleas, Colorado potato beetles, cutworms, squash bugs, and some species of mealybugs. And then, when your cucumbers are ready for harvesting, use the dill for pickling.

And while we’re planting herbs, don’t forget mint. Mint repels less desirable visitors such as aphids, cabbage moths, flea beetles, fleas, and ants. (Side note: There are over 500 species of mint, including spearmint, pineapple, orange, chocolate (favorite), lavender, calamint, grapefruit, basil, ginger, pennyroyal, licorice. They will each get the job done.)


Melissa of Burnet inquired about more ways to control grasshoppers. Melissa, you can plant marigolds and zinnias in your garden, which will draw soldier beetles. And soldier beetles prey on grasshopper eggs.

Till next time. Keep your souls and 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 daughter-father gardening team Martelle and Bill Luedecke. If you have gardening questions, contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or or Bill at 512-577-1463 or