Last month I wrote about a visit I made to the Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard. I have since discovered an olive tree growing nearby with olives on it. The tree is growing in the vacant lot in the 1600 block of S. Presa at Jacob Street. The owner of the lot happens to be a King William neighbor and told me that any newsletter reader was welcome to go by and pick as many olives as they like.

I found out during my tour of Sandy Oaks Orchard that you do not just pick an olive and eat it. Olives contain a bitter tasting compound and must be “cured” to make them palatable. I did a little internet research and found that at “Olives-Safe Methods for Home Pickling” there are directions for the curing process. If you are adventurous give it a try.

We are approaching fall and there are things to do to get ready for winter...


One is to mulch around trees, shrubs and perennials to protect their roots from cold. Yes, after two fairly mild winters we may have a typical winter season. Also, add enough mulch to flower beds to maintain a depth of 4 to 5 inches. As trees lose their leaves, shred them with a mower or put the leaves in bags and crush them. They are a good source of “homemade” mulch and should not be bagged for the landfill.

Fall and early winter is the best time to plant trees and shrubs. Check your favorite nursery for sales. A free list of adaptive plants for our area and crepe myrtles is in the folder to the right of the door to the KWA office. If you are looking for a large tree, I recommend cedar elm or Monterrey oak. Both grow at a moderate rate and have few problems.

Cedar elms lose their leaves in winter and the Monterrey oak is evergreen, although it does lose some leaves in early spring as it puts on new growth. Older neighborhoods have an abundance of pecan trees planted over decades by homeowners and squirrels.

Because of good rains this year there promises to be a bumper crop.

A good place to have pecans cracked so you can easily pick them is Brookes Pecans at 3515 Sunbelt off Austin Highway ( 8 2 8 -0 1 6 1 ) . They have been in business many years. They ask that you bring the pecans in paper bags. -Alan Cash

Garden Note: It seems those who grow things are happier than other folks.

From Wisdom of Mark Twain: A Book of Quotations: “There are many sorts of good books, but good ones are the sort for the young to read."