Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale

Everybody, go out and look at your crepe myrtles.  Right now!  You’re looking for fuzzy/felt-y white patches on the bark.  If you find one look closer.  If it is a cluster of insects, squish a patch of them, if it ‘bleeds pink’ you probably have Crepe Myrtle Bark Scale (CMBS).  This is a problem.

Yesterday a customer brought in a picture of a crepe myrtle infested with white fuzzy bugs.  I had mealy bugs on my mind when I looked at the picture and even though I’ve never seen mealy bugs on a crepe myrtle I thought that may be the case.  However, after thinking about it, I’m worried the customer may have had CMBS.

Having CMBS in our area is not a good thing.  Since the scale insects responsible for CMBS are not native to our area, they have few natural predators at this time, allowing them to spread and do damage at a faster rate than might otherwise be the case.   I sold my customer a product that contains an insecticide and a fungicide spray which is my ‘go to’ for crepe myrtle problems because insect problems are generally followed by powdery mildew problems.  However, I wish I had sold him the same active ingredient product in a drench form rather than a spray.  A systemic insecticide drench is showing to be the most effective treatment at this time.   Multiple treatments are recommended.

Here are a couple links to related articles:

https://extension.msstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/publications/p2938.pdf

https://agrilifecdn.tamu.edu/citybugstest/files/2010/05/EHT-049-Crape-myrtle-bark-scale.pdf

Dog Wash Event, Saturday July 14th

On Saturday, July 14th we’re hosting a benefit for the Friends of the Pflugerville Animal Shelter.  Volunteers will be here to wash your dog from 10am til 12pm.  K&A Groomers will be here to do nail trims with the bath.  We are asking a $15 donation for small dogs and a $20 donation for large dogs.  Even if you don’t want to bring your dog for a bath, that’s an excellent price for a nail trim.  Many thanks to K&A for their time and talent!!!

Danny De La Pena, from United K-9, will be here at 10am to talk about dog behavior.  This is a great opportunity to learn more about your pet.  Plus it is free.  Many thanks to Danny for donating his time.

Then at 11am, Diane will be here to do a class that will show you how you can introduce raw foods into your pet’s diet.  (My dog’s teeth are doing great because of raw bones.  If Bella is here, I’ll show your her 13 year old teeth to prove it.)   For everybody who attends the class, Diane has a coupon for you to trial some raw food for FREE.

This should be a fun event.  Please bring the kids too.  We will have face painting, cookies, and games with prizes!

 

Call me at the store if you have any questions.  512-251-4611.  -Kim

 

 

Revitalizing an Old Flowerbed

Mark and I are slowly tackling neglected yardwork at our home.  Our latest project is a flowerbed that runs along the narrow west-facing side of our house.   We have done absolutely nothing to this bed for the past three years.  And I suspect that the last time this it had flowers in it was back when we lived here almost 20 years ago.

I was eager to make this an early project  for us because it’s located close to where we park.  I wanted to see something colorful and happy when arrived home after a hard day of work, instead of an unattractive reminder of work to be done.  –I also thought this would be a quick and easy project I could use to test out several new-to-me annuals that are supposed to be sun tolerant.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  You can view our YouTube video of this project here.  I’ve included information about the plants we used at the bottom of this article.

How to revitalize a neglected flowerbed:

  1.  Remove old mulch, leaves, and debris from the top of the bed and place in your compost pile.
  2. Remove any dead, struggling or unwanted plants.  Relocate, give away, compost or trash as indicated.
  3. Trim away dead foliage from existing plants.  Lightly prune if needed.
  4. Evaluate the soil.  At the very least you will want to add fresh, quality compost to your existing soil and mix it in well.  You may even want to remove some of the tired old soil and replace with a fresher planting mix and compost.  Be careful when digging around existing plants so that you don’t disturb larger roots.  Cutting through ‘hair-like’ roots is usually not a problem, but damaging larger roots can harm the existing plant.
  5. Evaluate the planting site and determine sun exposure as well as the amount of protection from heat in the summer and cold north wind in the winter.  Also evaluate the bed for soil condition and soil drainage.  Choose new plants appropriate for these conditions.  Proper plant selection will largely determine the success of your gardening endeavors.
  6. Taking mature plant height, foliage and flowering color, and texture into account, arrange your bedding plants in the flowerbed.  When you are happy with the design, plant.  Use a starter mix or planting fertilizer when you pop your new plants into the soil.  Water well.  If bedding plants are ‘leggy’ or overgrown, consider trimming them back at this time.  Doing so will produce fuller foliage as the plant matures.
  7. Mulch well, making sure not to cover the stems or wood of bedding plants, trees or shrubs.
  8. Maintenance.  Keep watering throughout the season.  New plants will need careful attention during the first year.  If you are unable to water daily especially in the summer, install a drip system and a timer.  If you have planted lots of annual color, fertilize at least once a month.  As always inspect your plants regularly for water needs, fertilization needs, insect damage or signs of disease.  Treat any of these issues promptly.

Notes on our video:  The video footage we shot where I explained what plants we were using in our flowerbed turned out to be unusable.  So here it is.  We planted Black Rose Tattoo Vinca, Bordeaux Supertunia and Diamond Frost Euphorbia.  According to the plant tags, all of these purport to have the ability to tolerate ‘full sun’.  I want to see if this means full Texas sun, so planting them in a bed that faces west will be a real test.  After seeing the finished project, I do realize that the bed overall would look best if I had planted a small shrub in between the existing crepe myrtles.  However, we had a hard enough time planting bedding plants between the crepe myrtle roots, that I don’t think we could have made space for something with a larger root ball.

 

 

Mark & Kim learn to YouTube

Mark and I are proof that old dogs can learn new tricks.  After lots of trial and error we are finding our way around YouTube, a new camera and video editing software.  And our marriage is still intact!

As small small-business owners, we don’t have the budget to do much advertising.  I looked into print advertising and realized I could either hire a part-time employee or I could do a monthly ad in a local paper.  I didn’t do the ad.  But I did decide that we had to start being more creative in letting the community know who we are.

I started this blog and learned how to post on Facebook.  We’ve done some store events –super-fun!  And now we’re trying our hand at making videos.  We’re hoping videos can be a way to address common questions we hear from customers.  Our second video is about how to use our Brown Bag fertilizer.  It’s great fertilizer for our clay soil, but -apart from coverage information- there are no instructions on the bag.  Now we can direct our customers to our video to see how we set our spreader when we apply Brown Bag.

We have a bunch to learn.  On the most recent video I was so intent on getting Mark in focus, I didn’t realize I also had the tripod in the shot.  I tried to hide it in ‘post production’ but boogered-up and the tripod pops into frame for about a second.  I’m telling myself that getting content posted is more important than perfection.  I’d never post anything if I waited until I was fully competent.  –I think there’s a life lesson in there somewhere.

If you have any suggestions for future videos please let me know and I’ll see what we can do.    (Also, Bo is sad that Mark’s video is getting more plays than his.  You can watch Bo dig a carrot at Gaddy’s youtube channel.)

thumbnail-carrot-dog-3

Gaddy’s Turns 45! Help Us Celebrate!

With all the changes we’ve made at the store this last year, it’s feels like a good time to pause and celebrate the fact that we’re still here.  Mark and I are proud when we think that Gaddy’s has been around for 45 years and we want to thank the all the people and organizations who have helped us remain an active part of the changing Pflugerville community.

Help us celebrate on Saturday, April 28th by dropping by the store for some birthday cake and meet a few of our friends.  Here are a few of the other fun things going on at the party:

  • A farm-theme petting zoo will be at the store from 10am to 2pm.
  • Jessica from the Reynolds Roost will be at the store with some of her adorable chicks.  Jessica is my ‘go-to’ person when people ask me if I know where they can get some hatching-eggs or healthy chicks.
  • A couple of volunteers and a fantastic horse from the HELP center will be set up outside.  HELP is a non-profit therapeutic riding center for people with disabilities.  The HELP center has done business with Gaddy’s for almost as long as we have been around and we can’t say enough good things about this organization.
  • United K9 dog training will be at the store.  We had a dog food customer who started coming  into the shop with her beautifully behaved dog a few months ago.  It turned out she was in town to learn to be a dog trainer.  And while she has moved back home to start her business, one of the trainers she worked with, Danny De La Pena, will be at Gaddy’s with their dog.  We’re even talking about getting Danny to come teach a class at the store.
  • Thomas Moore Feed will be at the store to promote their wild bird feed line that is formulated specially for Texas.
  • Representatives from Champion Pet will be available to promote Orijen and Acana pet food, the newest dog food picked up by Gaddy’s.

 

 

 

Class: Organic Vegetable Gardening

We’re happy to welcome Linda Burch, Travis Co Master Gardener, to Gaddy’s on Saturday, March 10th from 2-3pm.  Linda will talk about organic vegetable gardening just in time for the Spring garden season.  Join us for some great information on gardening and composting.  And as usual, we have plenty of room, just not plenty of chairs.  Please bring your own folding chair if you’d like to sit.

Call Kim at the store if you have any questions – 512-251-4428.

Here’s the Poop About our Chicken Event

Gaddy’s first ever annual Crazy Chicken Day is just around the corner.  Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 3rd from 1-3pm, then tell all your crazy chicken friends.  You don’t want to miss the inaugural event.  Here’s what is planned . . . so far:

-Rob Cunningham from Coyote Creek Organic farm will deliver two free classes.  From 1-2pm, he’ll talk about what you need to know to raise laying hens from newly hatched chicks.  Then from 2-3pm, Rob will cover topics related to established flock management. (Bring a folding chair for this event, if you don’t want to stand.)

-With super short notice, the Immanuel Lutheran Youth Group agreed to take their Chicken Poop Bingo game on the road and will hold three games during the event.  One game will be before Rob’s 1pm talk, the second will be before Rob’s 2pm talk, and the third will be after Rob’s talk–a bit after 3pm.  (We’re going to be pretty fluid on the times.)  Bingo tickets are $10 each and all proceeds will go to the group’s mission trip to Puerto Rico.  I still have donations coming in, but so far the prizes are pretty awesome. Prizes will be available for viewing at Gaddy’s starting March 1st.

Saori Weaving demonstration by Sarah Gaddy Dauro.  Sarah, my talented sister-in-law, owns a Saori Weaving Studio in Belton.  If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand a weaving or even if you’d just like to spend a relaxing day creating, I encourage you to take a class.  I did and it was like fiber therapy–plus at the end of the day you have a beautiful piece of fabric.

-A representative from Zignature pet food will be here with coupons and free samples.

-T-Shirt door prizes from Gaddy’s.

pick-up-chick-shirt.jpg

-Posters, hats, shirts door prizes from Ideal Poultry.

-Chicks for sale (including some Bantums for this time).

-Sample some of Pflugerville’s best salsa from Beba’s Salsa

-I’ll have information available about Jessica from Reynolds Roost.  Jessica raises Easter Eggers, Cream Legbars and a couple other breeds.  Jessica also sells hatching eggs, but you might need to get on a waiting list for her specialty eggs.

If you have any questions, please give me a call at Gaddy’s  512-251-4428, Kim

 

 

 

 

Stop Spring Weeds, Use a Pre-emergent Herbicide Now

February is the ‘sweet spot’ of the year when it comes to applying pre-emergent herbicide to your lawn.  A little effort now can greatly reduce the weed pressure in your yard later in the season.  Pre-emergents work by drying up weed seeds so they never get a chance to sprout.  The trick is, you have to apply the pre-emergent before the seeds begin to germinate.  And that means, you have to do a little yard work before it is warm enough outside for you to really feel like doing yard work.

We have several pre-emergent options at Gaddy’s.  If you want an organic pre-emergent, we sell corn gluten meal.  Besides being a desiccant, corn gluten is a natural source of nitrogen, the element that helps ‘green-up’ your grass once it starts growing.  Our Fertilome-Hi Yield Grass and Weed Preventer is an economical chemical pre-emergent.  One $15.99 bag will cover 3,500 to 5,000 sq ft.  If you want a product with a pre-emergent and a post-emergent, we sell Weed Beater Complete.

Use a broadcast spreader to apply pre-emergent granules.  Read the directions carefully.  Most pre-emergents need a little bit of moisture to become active.  For example the Hi Yield product recommends about 1/2 inch or rainfall or irrigation.  But too much rainfall immediately after application can lessen the effectiveness of the pre-emergent by washing it away.

When using pre-emergent, think about places in your yard where you want seeds to germinate and avoid those areas.  Don’t apply pre-emergent in a vegetable bed where you want to start seeds next month or in an area of your yard that you want to reseed.  Some pre-emergent can be effective for up to 3 months.  The pre-emergent will not differentiate between the seeds you want to grow and those you want to kill.

Free Chick Event

For a long time, I’ve wanted to host some sort of educational event about raising chickens at Gaddy’s, but I’ve never been organized enough to make the idea a reality during the busy spring months.  This year, Ron Cunningham from Coyote Creek Organic Farm has come to my aid.  Ron has graciously agreed to come out to Gaddy’s and teach a couple of short chicken classes for us on March 3rd.  He’s doing the ‘beginner’ class from 1-2pm.  In this class Ron will talk about what you need to raise chicks.  It’s a great class if you have new chicks or are thinking about getting some.  The second class, from 2:15-3:15pm, will focus on things helpful to know when managing mature layers in a backyard setting.  Come to one or  both classes.  It’s a free event.  We’ll even have some feed and door prizes to give away.  The only catch is–please bring your own lawn chair or folding chair.  We have plenty of space, just not plenty of chairs.

Seed Potatoes are In Stock

Now that we’ve warmed up from last week’s ice-pocalypse, I’m ready to get out in the garden.  First on my list will be getting my potatoes ready to plant.  If you’ve never planted spuds before, now’s the year.  They’re easy to plant and so much fun to harvest.  Here’s a link to last year’s article on how to get potatoes ready for planting.  https://gaddys.com/2017/01/13/seed-potatoes/

And here’s a picture of our potatoes sitting next to our new purple check-out station.

potato counter