All apples are picked out for year.
We had a poor berry season but great peach, apple, and fig seasons!
We will have some Oriental Persimmons in October during The Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch.
We are planting some Victoria Red Grapes with the hope of some good eating grapes in a few years!
Visit State Gifts USA for gift ideas. Naturally, they include Love Creek Orchards for Texas made products.
Dallas New recognizes Love Creek Orchards in their travel section. Sure it’s a bit of a drive from Dallas, but stay over night and enjoy the Hill Country.
Southern Living selects Love Creek Orchards as one of the Top Ten Places for Pie in Texas.
Spring is here! The trees and bushes at the orchard are starting to grow and bugs are starting to appear with the warm weather. Naturally some of the bugs are mildly harmful and some are majorly harmful but others are beneficial. I would like to concentrate on a couple beneficial beetles: the ladybug and the soldier beetle.
The Ladybug. Most people are aware that the ladybug or ladybird bug is a beneficial beetle which feasts on aphids, mites,
and scale. In addition to the common red with black spots, they can be orange and yellow with black spots or even black with red spots. Don’t confuse black lady bugs with the smaller brassy willow beetle. The brassy willow beetle is a harmful beetle which eats leaves and has a distinctive brassy shine.
It is also important to learn what the ladybug larvae looks like. These scary looking critters eat hundreds of aphids before they grow up to be ladybugs so don’t kill them!
You can buy ladybugs from the internet and release them to help clean your garden. If you do this, remember that they will follow the food and water so keep the plants moist and don’t be surprised if they leave once the aphids are gone.
The Soldier Beetle. Also called the leatherback beetle and the leather wing beetle, the soldier beetle eats aphids, mites, and even caterpillars. They are long, grey and black with red, orange or yellow color and are thin, sometimes resembling fireflies but without the luminescence. They are often found on flowering plants eating pollen or lying in wait to ambush other bugs.
The soldier beetle larvae are dark worm like creatures often found in the soil, under dead bark, or in dead leaves. They eat the eggs and larvae of grasshoppers and moths.
I am not aware of soldier beetles being for sale, they just show up in swarms some years. They are currently swarming the peach trees and blackberry bushes at Love Creek Orchards.
It is important to know these beneficial insects. Using pesticides to kill aphids can kill the beneficial bugs feeding on the aphids. If the aphids are too much for the labybugs or soldier beetles to control, a strong stream of water can kill aphids without hurting the beneficial bugs. In fact, the ladybugs will appreciate the water on the leaves for them to drink.
Now is the time to plant your trees whether apple or Bigtooth Maple. Trees are best planted when the tree is still dormant and there is some moisture in the soil. This allows time for the roots to start developing before leaves appear at the tops of the trees. For Texas, this usually means February or March. Trees can break dormancy in Texas early if we get warm weather early.
The number of nurseries that carry the Bigtooth Maples from Love Creek Orchards has increased in the last few years. Ask your local nursery about the Bigtooth or come out to the Apple Store for a scenic drive to buy your trees. Stay for lunch! Our Patio Café is listed as one of the “40 Best Small Town Cafes in Texas” by Texas Monthly Magazine!
To help cover the costs of your trees, San Antonio and Austin offer grant and rebate programs for trees which qualify. Both programs include the Bigtooth Maple! These programs have an expiration date, so get your applications and purchases in soon.
Texas Rides calls Love Creek Orchards the World HQ for Apple Pie. Organize a Pie Run with your buddies and see for yourself.
The Great Hill Country Pumpkin Patch is open for school tours every Friday and some Thursdays during October. Tours are by reservations only.
Texas Monthly will be doing an article about sites to see in the Hill Country in the June 2012 issue. Of course they stopped by Love Creek Orchards for a walk through the orchard and some Apple Ice Cream from the Apple Store.