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The Garden Mix




Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.

New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.


Limp and Yellowing Leaves on African Violets

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
Warm the water and eliminate the salt if your African violet has limp leaves that eventually yellow and drop off.
 
Use room temperature water to avoid cold damage to the leaves. Then check for a white crusty substance on the soil surface or plant container. This salt buildup is from the minerals in the water and fertilizer. African violet leaves are damaged and often drop when they come in contact with this material. Scrape off the crusty white substance. Then water the soil thoroughly with room temperature water. Allow the excess water to drain from the pot. Repeat this several times at 20 minute intervals. Leaching the soil like this will help wash any excess salts out of the soil.
 
Some growers cover the rim of the pot with foil or a similar material to protect the petioles from the salt laden container rim. Others raise their plants in plastic or ceramic pots, with drainage holes, to avoid this problem.
 
A bit more information: Once you correct this problem you may want to start more plants. African violets can be started from just a single healthy leaf. Listen to my audio tip for more details.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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More Herbs, Less Salt Day (August 29)

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
Put away the saltshaker and season your meals with herbs instead.
 
August 29th is National More Herbs, Less Salt Day.  Substituting herbs for salt can increase the flavor and health benefits in your meals.
 
Use turmeric, fresh ginger and fresh garlic for added flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits.
 
Fans of savory flavors can add onions and garlic for a bit of kick. Try dill on potatoes, tomatoes, fish and green beans.
 
Season your tomatoes, chicken and green beans with oregano.
 
And add rosemary to lamb, chicken and potatoes and sage and thyme on beef and potatoes. Use marjoram in soups, peas and summer squash.
 
Get the most flavor from fresh herbs by crushing or rubbing them just before adding them to the dish. Use them as rubs or in marinades to increase flavor.
 
Plus, fresh herbs can make your meal look and smell more appealing.

A bit more information: Though we can’t grow all possible salt substitutes, we can add a few to our pantry. Try using cinnamon in place of salt. Season your soups, squash, and carrots with nutmeg. Try cloves for seasoning fruit and beef and curry powder or cumin on corn, tomatoes, and fish.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Faster Results with Trees and Shrubs

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
It’s hard to imagine and even harder to wait for that stick of a tree or small potted shrub to grow into a much larger and beautiful addition to the landscape. But we can help speed up the process.

Fast growing species are an option, but unfortunately most tend to be weak wooded and short lived. Proper pruning starting at an early age can help establish a strong structure that is more resistant to storm damage.
 
Speed up the growth of slower growing trees and shrubs with proper care.  Amend the whole planting bed, not just the planting hole, with organic matter when developing shrub beds and plant borders.
 
Keep the area around individual plants and throughout the planting beds free of grass and weeds that compete with the trees and shrubs for water and nutrients.
 
Mulch the soil around the plants and water thoroughly as needed.
 
A bit more information: Use a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, like Milorganite, to promote drought tolerant growth without impeding flowering. Let the plant, soil and weather conditions, and your landscape goals act as your guide to how frequently you need to fertilize.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Cancer Fighting Vegetables

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.

Cancer prevention starts on your dinner plate.  Well, actually it can start in the garden.  Growing your own nutrient rich cancer fighting vegetables allows you to grow pesticide-free vegetables, harvest them at their peak and use them right away, insuring the highest nutrient value and best flavor.
 
Include some broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and turnip greens.  When cut or chewed these vegetables release cancer fighting substances that help fend off several types of cancer.  Include these vegetables in your stir fries, as a side dish with meals or eat them fresh as a snack or appetizer. Three weekly servings of these vegetables can greatly reduce your cancer risk.
 
In the garden, grow these beauties during the cooler parts of your growing season for the best flavor and productivity. And don’t worry about frost.  These can tolerate a light frost, and for some, their flavor even improves.
 
A bit more information: Another popular and cancer-fighting vegetable, the tomato, can easily be grown in any size balcony or landscape. Whether eaten fresh, juiced, sauced or added to your favorite dish the lycopenes in this vegetable will help in the fight against cancer.
           
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Reviving Neglected Houseplants

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
Don’t send that drought stressed houseplant to the compost pile just yet. You may be able to revive it.

Vacations and busy schedules may result in neglected houseplants suffering from a lack of water. Most potting mixes are soilless and contain organic materials like peatmoss that shrink away from the pot and harden when overly dry. Water runs over the surface, down the side of the pot and out the drainage hole without moistening the potting mix.
 
Start the recovery process by loosening the potting mix surface with a fork. Then set the pot in warm water until the potting mix is moistened and you no longer see bubbles in the water.
 
Remove the pots from the water and allow them to drain. Place in a cool well-lit location and wait for a few hours.  If you intervened in time, the leaves will perk up in a few hours.
 
A bit more information: Busy gardeners and those that travel a lot may want to grow more low maintenance drought tolerant houseplants. Cacti and succulents are great for those with lots of sunny windows. Gardeners with low light conditions can grow snake plants, cast iron plant and ZZ plant.
           
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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National Potato Day

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
August 19th is National Potato Day. This simple vegetable is the fourth largest food crop in the world with an interesting history.

The potato was first cultivated by the Inca Indians about 8000 BC and made its way to Europe, North America and most recently outer space.
 
In October of 1995 the astronauts on the Space Shuttle Columbia grew potatoes. They used a combination of an agriculture technique from China and controlled environment technologies developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The goal was to develop growing systems for feeding astronauts on long space journeys and eventually feeding future space colonies.
 
One medium size potato is only 110 calories. It is high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber, B6 and iron.
 
So take a moment to appreciate your next side of potatoes.
 
A bit more information: Growing potatoes and other plants is not just about the food supply. They also help replenish oxygen and remove excess carbon dioxide from the air. For more on potatoes grown in space visit http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/everydaylife/spacespuds.html
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Wooly Aphids on Trees and Shrubs

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
Aphids come in a variety of colors and some, like wooly aphids, look pretty bizarre with their white stringy protrusions.

Wooly aphids are small pear shaped insects covered with waxy strands that make them look as though they are covered in white wool. The waxy strands help protect them from predators.
 
They feed on a variety of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Like other aphids, they suck plant juices causing the leaves to discolor, curl and drop when populations are high. These insects secrete a clear sticky substance called honeydew on the leaves and objects beneath the plant they are feeding upon.
 
Their feeding is usually just cosmetic and not harmful to healthy established trees and shrubs. Natural predators like lady beetles and lacewings usually keep the problem under control.
 
Provide proper care to reduce the overall stress and the impact of the wooly aphid feeding.
 
A bit more information:  A black sooty fungus forms on the honeydew secreted by these and other aphids. The fungus does not attack the plant but can block the sunlight reaching the leaves causing some leaf drop. For a fun look at aphids, click here.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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No Tomatoes? Check the Weather

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
No fruit on your tomato plants? Blame it on the weather. Tomatoes thrive in warm sunny conditions; but temperature extremes can prevent otherwise healthy plants from setting fruit.
 
When daytime temperatures rise above 90 degrees and night temperatures remain above 70 degrees, blossom drop and poor fruit development can occur.
 
Cool weather can also hinder fruiting. Night temperatures below 59 degrees will reduce the amount and viability of pollen and consequently fruit production.
 
The simplest solution is to wait for weather to change. Once this happens the plants will begin producing fruit.
 
When hot weather arrives be sure the plants receive ample moisture. Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, pine straw or other organic matter to keep roots cool and moist.
 
If this is a yearly problem, look for tomato varieties better suited to your growing conditions.
 
A bit more information:  With proper selection and care you will enjoy an abundant harvest in spite of less than ideal weather.  Use recommendations from the local University extension service or use the Bonnie Plant tomato chooser guide to find heat tolerant varieties and those that best fit your gardening style and cooking needs.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Grow Nutritious Goji Berries

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
Nutritious, flavorful, beautiful and easy to grow describes the goji berry. Consider adding one of these shrubs to your garden.
 
Goji berries are often called a superfruit because they’re loaded with antioxidants, protein and Vitamin C. You can eat them fresh, cooked or dried. Just leave them on the plant until fully ripe for the best flavor.
 
This large shrub can quickly grow to 8 to 10 feet tall and nearly as wide. The long branches tend to crawl along the ground. You can stake or prune the plant to control the size and shape.
 
Grow goji berries in full sun and moist soil for the best fruit production. Plants will tolerate some shade and dry soil once established.
 
White or lavender flowers appear in early summer followed by elongated berries that turn bright red when ripe. The plant keeps producing flowers and fruit throughout the season.
 
A bit more information: Goji berries are self fertile. That means you only need one plant to produce a bumper crop of fruit.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Low Maintenance Eco-Friendly Garden Tips

Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company.
 
Reduce maintenance and be kind to the environment with a few simple changes in your gardening practices.

Be waterwise. Reduce water use by growing drought tolerant plants and mulching the soil to conserve water. And always water thoroughly and only when needed to encourage deep, more drought tolerant roots.
 
Reduce, reuse and recycle yard waste. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to add water and nutrients back to the soil. Shred leaves and use as a mulch around plants. Then convert the rest into soil enriching compost.
 
Manage pests in harmony with nature. Let the good bugs manage the bad bugs and handpick small populations of troublesome pests.  
 
Use plantings to reduce energy costs. Plantings near the home, trees shading the roof and windows, and shrubs and vines that shade your air conditioner can reduce energy costs.
 
A bit more information:  If nature doesn’t take care of your pest problems, try traps, barriers and other eco-friendly options if further control is needed. For more ideas see my article on
Eco-Friendly Pest Control in the Garden.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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"Not to Be Sexist, But..."
Star Wars has a Facebook page. If you knew that already, you could be a Star Wars geek. But that's not important right now. One of the characters in the much-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens is Captain Phasma, played by Gwendolyn Christie who also plays Brienne of Tarth on Game of Thrones. The Star Wars folks are having an art contest, inviting people to submit drawings of characters from the upcoming film. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Feeling inspired by Phasma? Your Star Wars: The Force Awakens-inspired art could land you a spot in a professional art... Posted by Star Wars on Thursday, August 27, 2015 That's one artist's conception of Captain Phasma, and the reaction to it was pretty good. Until one guy - probably one of those internet trolls - posted a comment: "Not to be sexist, but it's really hard to tell that's female armor for me." First off, nothing good is ever followed by the phrase "not to be sexist, but..." Second, it's armor. Not designed to be curve-hugging. As the Star Wars pagemaster pointed out: "It's armor. On a woman. It doesn't have to look feminine." In order words, back off, Jack. Don't make me flick on my lightsaber!
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Whale Watch Play-by-Play
This is some incredible footage taken from a show called Big Blue Live on BBC One's BBC Earth in England. Steve Backshall was interviewing a whale expert while on a whale watch when his helicopter camera crew let him know that a blue whale - the biggest animal on the planet - had been spotted nearby. This all happened live, and Steve got absolutely breathless with his play-by-play as the giant mammal sucked in lungsful of air prior to diving below the surface to feed for a bit. Amazing, really, in so many ways. Check it out... (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); The moment we spotted a blue whale - LIVE! GROUNDBREAKING TV MOMENT! Steve Backshall is interrupted by a blue whale live on BBC One for BBC Big Blue Live. During an interview with whale expert Dorris Welch, Steve has to intervene and cut live to a BLUE WHALE! Posted by BBC Earth on Monday, August 31, 2015
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Breakfast All McDay
McDonald's announced yesterday that it will be serving breakfast all day long. That's a nationwide move starting on October 6, following what must have been a successful test run in San Diego that started in the spring. McDonald's see the all-day breakfast as a way to goose slumping sales. Time will tell. Back when the test program began in San Diego, it was greeted with a bit of skepticism. Like from The Late Late Show's James Corden, who had this to say about it on April Fools Day...  
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The Name is Street... Too Street
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Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
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Ah, the White Knight After All
So Donald Trump took to Twitter yesterday to whine. Well, sort of. He wanted to let the world know that he felt "totally stupid" for "turning down millions of dollars" in campaign contributions. Really? That's what it takes to make him feel totally stupid? Good to know the bar's been set, anyway. I’m turning down millions of dollars of campaign contributions—feel totally stupid doing so, but hope it is appreciated by the voters. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2015
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Say It Ain't So - Please Say It Ain't So
A day after the Video Music Awards, during which Kanye West ran about ten minutes past his alloted two minutes, the folks at TMZ are reporting that MTV wants Kanye to host the show next year. Seriously? I mean, what did we do to deserve that, MTV? We've been good, haven't we? It's bad enough you wouldn't let the guys in the control room cut him off when he went over. It's bad enough one of your execs followed him to his dressing room to tell him how terrific he was. Now you want to put him in as host? Are you prepared for a weekend-long event, MTV? Cuz that's how this is shaping up!
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Just a Little Harsh, Wouldn't You Say?
So it looks like Demi Lovato's performance at MTV's Video Music Awards on Sunday wasn't all that well received. She performed outside the theater on a stage set up on there, and the people inside the auditorium watched on monitors. Demi was wearing what's been described as "dominatrix-style" boots and a bedazzled dress. And when Iggy Azalea joined her on stage - well, things didn't get much better. One viewer at home had a pretty harsh tweet about it. Check it out...   loving the demi and iggy performance! pic.twitter.com/0qWitxoxkC — nick. (@XXIPilots) August 31, 2015
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Downton Abbey Wrapping Up
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Hotel California, Sin Musica
This video's several months old, but I just stumbled on it, and it's worth sharing. An a capella group called Cubanos Acapella performed the Eagles' classic, "Hotel California." No music, except the music created by the performers. Percussion, guitars and more, all created vocally. And it's perfection. Check it out.  
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"Like That Little Cage is Gonna Help Ya"
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