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The Garden Mix



Make plans now to join Melinda on her famous Garden Walks at Boerner Botanical Gardens in 2014!

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.


Eco-friendly Control of Squash Bugs

Don’t let squash bugs ruin your harvest. Incorporate an integrated and eco-friendly strategy to keep their damage to a minimum.

These slightly oval coppery gray bugs feed on pumpkins and squash. They suck plant juices and can transmit the deadly Cucurbit yellow vine disease. Start by keeping your plants healthy.
 
Remove weeds and other debris that provide great habitat for these pests. A thorough fall cleanup along with crop rotation will help reduce future problems.
 
Control small populations of the adult and immature squash bugs by knocking them into a can of soapy water.  Be sure to check under the leaves and along the stems. Crush the small (1/16th inch) yellowish-bronze eggs found on the underside of the leaves and stems. 
 
And trap the adults with wet newspaper, boards or shingles laid on the soil around the plants.  The squash bugs will gather under these. Then collect and destroy and them. 
 
A bit more information:  Exclusion is another control option. Cover squash at the time of planting with a floating row cover such as ReeMay or Harvest Guard. Secure the base to insure the squash bugs are unable to lay their eggs on your squash plants. Remove the covering as soon as the plants begin to flower, so pollination can occur.  This delays the attack and is often enough to manage the damage.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.


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07/15/2013 4:13PM
Eco-friendly Control of Squash Bugs
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Eco-friendly Control of Thrips
Poorly developed flowers, stunted plants and silvery streaks on leaves are indications thrips may be feeding on your plants. These tiny insects have file-like mouthparts they use to puncture the outer surface of leaves, stems and flowers and suck out plant sap. They are very small and difficult to detect. Hold a white piece of paper under the plant and shake. Or remove the petals of damaged flowers, place in a sealed jar with 70% alcohol and shake the jar to dislodge and detect the pests. Control is difficult and often not needed as the damage is discovered after the thrips have finished feeding. Provide the proper growing conditions and care for your plants. Avoid excess nitrogen that promotes lush succulent growth these pests prefer. And remove spent flowers that tend to harbor the insects. Manage weeds in the garden and keep thrip-susceptible plants away from weedy areas where the pest populations tend to be high. A bit more information: Beneficial insects like predatory thrips, green lacewings, minute pirate bugs and some parasitic wasps feed upon plant damaging thrips. Invite these good bugs into the garden by planting a diversity of plants and avoiding persistent pesticides. Visit the University of California IPM online for more details on this pest. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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