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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.


Give Houseplants a bit of TLC this Summer

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

Even your houseplants need a bit of protection from the heat, air conditioning and intense sunlight of summer.

The longer days and more intense summer sun streaming through your windows can scorch some houseplants. Watch for brown leaf edges and stunted growth. Close shears, adjust blinds or move plants away from harsh sunlight as needed.

Keep houseplants away from air conditioning vents. The cold drafts can cause damage.

Protect plants summering outdoors from strong winds and harsh sunlight that can dry the leaves and soil more rapidly. Move plants to a sheltered, more shaded location if possible.

Adjust your watering regime to meet the change of growing conditions during summer. Plants summering outdoors or growing in more intense sunlight indoors or out will need more frequent watering. Plants growing in cooler air-conditioned homes may need less.

A bit more information: Be careful when transporting houseplants in the summer. Provide shade for the plants when traveling in the car. And avoid leaving plants in a hot car with the windows closed. The heat can damage, even kill these plants.

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

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Scarlet Lily Beetle

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

Holes in lily leaves may mean the scarlet lily leaf beetle has moved into your garden.

This European native was first discovered in North America in Montreal Canada back in 1945. The Asiatic lily is most susceptible. Dayliles and some Oriental lily varieties appear to be resistant. You may also see this pest feeding on Solomon seal, potatoes, Smilax and flowering tobacco.

The adults overwinter in the ground and emerge in spring when they begin feeding on leaves and mating. The bright red beetles are less than ½ inch long. The females lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves. The eggs eventually turn red before hatching into larvae that resemble slugs.

Control these pests by removing and destroying the adult, larvae or egg masses as soon as they are found. Larger populations can be controlled with organic pesticides.

A bit more information: Always read and follow label directions carefully when using any pesticide, organic, natural or synthetic. If this is a new pest in your area, consider contacting your local extension office. This will help them track the spread and monitor the populations of this pest.

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


Photo by Charlesjsharp (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Starting Clematis from Seed

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

Looking for a way to expand your clematis, or should I say as some prefer KLEM-a-tis collection? Try starting new plants from seeds this summer.

Once the seedheads turn brown, shake out the seeds and collect the fatter, swollen ones for propagating. Remove the feathery attachments.

Pack the seeds in a plastic bag filled with a mix of equal parts of perlite and damp peat moss. Place in the refrigerator for at least three months.

Plant the seeds in a flat or shallow container filled with a seed starting mix or mixture of equal parts damp peat and perlite. Keep the soil moist and move the flat to a sunny location as soon as the seedlings appear.

Be patient, it can take up to several months for seeds to sprout. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots, once they have at least one set of true leaves.

Your new plants may not look like the original, but the surprise results add to the fun.

A bit more information: You can also expand your collection while maintaining the clematis's original features by layering. This method helps the plant form roots on the stem, while still attached to the parent plant. Listen to my Melinda's Garden Moment audio tip on this topic for more details.

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

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Improve your Lawn and Save Time by Sharpening the Mower Blades


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

Save time, fuel, water and improve the look of your lawn by sharpening your mower's blades.

Dull blades tear the grass instead of making a clean cut. This results in a dull or brownish cast to the lawn. This also increases the risk of disease as the tears close more slowly than a clean cut, providing an entryway for disease.

Sharp blades also save time as you can cut more efficiently when the blades are sharp. And speaking of savings, you'll consume 22% less fuel and the lawn will use up to 30% less water when using sharp blades.

Sharpen blades at least twice a season. Always remove the spark plug before removing the blades for sharpening. Make it easier to implement this change of habit by investing in a second set of blades. That way you will always have a sharp set ready to install.

A bit more information: Avoid cutting grass when it's wet and more likely to tear or during extended dry periods that can further stress the lawn. For tips on safely sharpening and balancing mower blades, click here.


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

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Downy Mildew on Basil


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

Yellowing along leaf veins, black spots and fuzzy gray growth on basil may mean downy mildew has infected the plants.

This fungal disease is carried on seeds, infected transplants and diseased leaves. It rapidly spreads from infected to healthy plants during damp weather or by overhead irrigation.

Reduce the risk by growing basil in sunny locations with plenty of room to grow into their mature size. The extra space allows sunlight to reach all parts of the plants and the added air movement quickly dries the leaves.

Avoid overhead irrigation whenever possible. Instead, use soaker hoses, drip irrigation or a watering wand that allows you to apply the water directly to the soil.

Remove and destroy infected leaves as soon as they are discovered. Remove and destroy infected plants at the end of the harvest season.

A bit more information: Sweet basil tends to be more susceptible than the red leaf, Thai and other more exotic types of basil. Growing less susceptible types, purchasing healthy plants and changing the location of your basil plantings each year will help reduce the risk of downy mildew. For more information, click here.

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

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Blanching Cauliflower and Celery

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

Cover the heads of cauliflower and stalks of celery for that creamy white appearance and less bitter flavor.

This technique, called blanching, prevents sunlight from reaching these parts of the plant and turning them green. Unblanched vegetables are edible – but have a bitter flavor.

Cover the leaf stems of celery with soil or wrap them in paper or cardboard at least 10 days before harvest. Some gardeners use boards alongside the rows of plants.

Use the large leaves of the cauliflower plant for blanching. Start when the flower bud is less than 2 inches in diameter. Tie the outer leaves over the center of the plant with rubber bands or string. Check your plant often. The cauliflower head will be ready to pick in 7 to 12 days when it reaches 6 to 8 inches in diameter.

Many of the newer cauliflower varieties are self-blanching, eliminating this task. The upper leaves naturally fold over the center of the plant, blocking the sunlight.

A bit more information: Blanching is also the technique used for growing white asparagus. Soil or a container is placed over the young spears. The lack of sunlight interferes with cholorphyll (green pigment) production, resulting in white tender asparagus spears.

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

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Managing Picnic Beetles

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

Don't share the harvest with picnic beetles this summer. Regular harvesting and sanitation can help reduce problems with this garden pest.

Picnic beetles are small, up to ¼" long, brown or black oval-shaped insects that have a knob on the end of each antenna.

These insects feed on fruits and vegetables in the garden such as corn, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries and muskmelons. They're usually secondary pests, meaning they feed on the fruit that was already damaged by another insect or disease. The picnic beetles are attracted to the fermenting fruit and vegetables. Once in the garden, they may also feed on undamaged produce.

Regular harvesting and removal of damaged fruit from the plants and surrounding soil will eliminate their food source and reduce damage.

You can reduce their populations with traps of overripe fruit, stale beer or a molasses-yeast and water mix. Empty the traps and replace the bait every three to four days.

A bit more information: Skip the pesticides. Since these insects are present during harvest, spraying is not practical. The wait time between spraying and harvest means you will have more overripe fruit and vegetables in the garden. And that means more food to attract the picnic beetles.


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

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Anthracnose on Ash, Maple and Oaks

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

Irregular shaped brown spots on the leaves of maple, ash, oak and sycamore trees could mean your tree has anthracnose. This disease is caused by several different fungi and is common in years with cool wet springs.

Anthracnose usually infects younger growth and can be more prevalent on the lower leaves. The leaf spots usually occur along the veins. Severely infected leaves may even curl and fall off.

Fortunately, this disease is usually not harmful to healthy mature trees. Sycamores are the exception since twig and branch dieback can occur. Avoid the problem by growing resistant Sycamore varieties like 'Bloodgood', 'Columbia' 'Liberty' or the London plane tree (Platanus x acerifolia).

Reduce the risk of disease next season by raking and destroying fallen leaves. Bury or burn, if your municipality allows, infected leaves. Only compost infected leaves if your compost pile reaches 140 degrees.

A bit more information: Several other diseases can cause leaf spot on trees. Oak wilt usually occurs at the top of the tree. The leaves turn pale and brown from the leaf edges in. Verticillium wilt can infect maples, ashes and other trees, shrubs and vegetables. The damage usually starts as wilting on a few upper branches. The leaves then turn pale and eventually dry.

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

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Don’t Step on a Bee Day – July 10th

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


July 10th is Don't Step on a Bee Day. Celebrate this fun holiday by taking a moment to watch the bees busy at work in your garden.

Did you know bees use dance to communicate? Karl Ritter von Frisch was the scientist that cracked the honeybee's communication code and won a Nobel Prize for his discovery in 1973.

Once a bee discovers a food source, it returns to the hive. The dance tells fellow worker bees the quality as well as the location of the flowers. The bee calculates the shortest route to the flowers and shares this information with the other bees.
The bee shakes its body and dances in the direction of the newly discovered flowers. The number of vibrations and length of the dance tells the others the distance they will need to travel. This allows the bees to take just enough honey for the trip.
A honey bee will visit about 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip.
A bit more information: The scientific name for honey bees is Apis mellifera. Apis means bee in Latin and mellifera is honey-carrying. The honey bees are the only insect that produces food for people. To see the bee dance visit
http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/honeybee-dance.html.

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

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Design Strategies for a Low Maintenance Landscape

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

A thoughtful plan or a few changes in your current design can help reduce your workload and improve the beauty of your landscape.

Avoid the temptation to plant perennials and shrubs closer together than the tag recommends. You'll have greater impact in a shorter amount of time, but more work in the long run as you dig, divide, prune and remove overgrown perennials and shrubs.

Do a bit of research before planting to help you select the plants and planting strategy that best meets your needs. Keep in mind some perennials grow quickly, self-seed and need frequent dividing while others, like peonies, do not.

Properly space plants to reduce future maintenance. Fill in the vacant spots with annuals until the perennials reach their full size.

This is a good strategy for shrubs as well. Cramming too many shrubs into a small space for quick results means you will be pruning often and removing some of the plants.

A bit more information: Further reduce maintenance and improve the beauty of your plants with proper pruning. Match the pruning strategy to the plant for the best results. For more tips on planting, growing and pruning see my Great Courses' How to Grow Anything: Make Your Trees and Shrubs Thrive DVD set.

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

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Plant Broccoli, Kale and more Now for Fall Harvest

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

Plant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, kohlrabi and other cool season crops now, for a fall harvest.

These vegetables taste best when harvested during the cool temperatures of spring and fall. Many gardeners are unable to get the plants in the ground in early spring, so they will be ready for harvest before hot summer temperatures arrive. Other gardeners just can't get enough of these tasty vegetables and would like another harvest before winter.

A mid-summer planting of these cool season vegetables can satisfy both needs. Short season gardeners need to start with transplants, while those gardening in milder regions can start some from seeds. Just check the plant tag or seed packet to make sure you have enough growing days left in your season.

And don't give up if you don't. You can extend the season with floating row covers and cold frames. Plus, most of these will tolerate a light frost and taste even better.

A bit more information: Plant a few short season vegetables like radishes and beets between your cabbage and broccoli. You'll be harvesting the radishes and beets about the same time the cabbage and broccoli are starting to reach full size. For more information, listen to my audio tip on planting late season vegetables.

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

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Test Before Treating the Lawn

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

Insects can damage our lawns, but many of the insects in the soil are essential for creating and maintaining healthy soil and plants. So make sure insects are the cause of your failing lawn before breaking out the sprayer.

Test several areas and make sure there are enough problem insects present to warrant treatment. If control is needed, select the most eco-friendly option available. Be sure to read and follow label directions when using any natural or synthetic control.

For grubs, cut and remove a one square foot area of grass. Check the top 4 to 6 inches for the white worm-like grubs. Replace the grass and keep the soil moist, so it re-roots.

Use the flotation test to bring chinch bugs to the surface for easy detection. The irritation test uses a mixture of 1 tablespoon of dishwashing soap in a gallon of water to help move sod webworms into view.

A bit more information: Reduce the risk of insect and disease problems with proper lawn care. Mow high, leave short clippings on the lawn and fertilize according to your soil test report.

For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Add a Bit of Patriot Flare to Your Garden

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

Add a little patriot flare to the garden with a bit of paint, a few flags and a few new plants.

Don't worry if you didn't plant a patriotic-themed garden for our national celebration. You can still add a bit of festive flare by painting a few pots, old boots, bucket or other containers for the holiday. Simply set existing potted plants inside the freshly painted containers.

Add some patriotic art to the garden. Use colorful spirals, painted bamboo stakes or other decorative items for a festive flare.

Or maybe you are hosting a holiday party. Purchase some small colorful containers and fill with full size annuals, flags or other festive decorations. They make perfect centerpieces for your event. Then send some or all of these decorations home with the guests. A living party favor is a great way to keep the celebration going throughout the season.

A bit more information: Or use fresh-from-the-garden produce to create your holiday décor. Try red strawberries on top of a cake with white frosting to create the Canadian flag or add some blueberries for the red, white and blue of the United States.

For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Mission: Impossible Lip Sync Battle
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Helen Mirren Cusses on Live TV
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No Explanation Possible
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Sleeper of the Summer?
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Goodbye, Dr. Huxtable... Hello, Mr. Hyde
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Hut One, Hut Two, Boo Boo BOO!
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Shoop for Me, Bobbi Kristina
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RIP, Bobbi Kristina
Bobbi Kristina Brown's family reported that she passed away last night at the age of 22. The daughter of the late Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown was found unconscious and unresponsive in her bathtub six months ago. She never regained consciousness. The Houston family issued a statement: "Bobbi Kristina Brown passed away July, 26 2015, surrounded by her family. She is finally at peace in the arms of God. We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months." Sad news of a life cut tragically short.
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This may be the best - and by best, I mean funniest - headline I've read in a while. It's an article from US Weekly. Headline: "Snoop Dogg Arrested in Sweden on Suspicion of Drugs" Suspicion? That's it? Suspicion? And the funniest part of the story - he apparently passed the pee-in-the-cup test. Yeah, me too. I'm shocked. Check out the story in US Weekly. There's an Instagram video there that Snoop posted about the incident. He's not happy, so it's Not Safe For Work!
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Epic A-Rod Wipeout
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Let It Go in the Shower
You learn something new every day. Today, I learned two new things. (1) Gwyneth Paltrow runs a website called goop.com. It was "launched" from her kitchen in 2008. According to the website, "goop has become a place for GP to introduce some of the incredible experts who have mentored her throughout her life to a wider audience, and a place where readers can find suggestions about where to shop, eat, and stay from a trusted friend—not from an anonymous, crowd-sourced recommendation engine." (2) Gwyneth and goop recommend that women pee in the shower for their inner health. This from the woman who consciously uncoupled late last year. Directly from the site, so you know I'm not making it up: "Try peeing in the shower squatting down. When you squat to pee as opposed to sitting up straight on the toilet, you automatically engage your pelvic floor and it naturally stretches and tones. Because your urethra is pointed straight down in this position all you have to do is relax for urine to flow out easily—as opposed to sitting up straight and having to strain to empty your bladder." So what do you think, ladies? Can you do it? Will you do it? Here's a link to the whole article, in case you're interested...  
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They're Called "Wild" Animals for a Reason
I guess some people see warning signs and say, "Well, yeah, but that doesn't mean me." Here's a story that could have ended up with a much more horrible ending. A woman and her daughter were visiting Yellowstone National Park with her family when they spotted a bison. So she and her daughter decided to take a selfie with the bison behind them. Maybe the bison didn't like having his picture taken? So he came up behind the pair and tossed mom into the air. Luckily, she wasn't hurt too badly, but she did have to get treatment at a hospital. So please, take this is a warning. And if you're thinking, "Well, yeah, but that doesn't mean me," we'll probably be writing about you someday soon.   ABC US News | World News
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Feeling Good About Saving a Killer
Scientists came to the rescue in a MacGyver sort of way last week to save a nine-year-old killer whale found stranded on some rocks on the coast of British Columbia. They think the orca got caught at low tide chasing a seal, and was unable to get back into the water. According to The Daily Mail: "The group designed what it called a 'MacGyver type water pump' to keep the animal from drowning, and ultimately were able to keep the nine-year-old mammal alive until high tide freed her that evening." Pretty amazing stuff. Here's the video of the whale swimming free...  
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Now Kim K's Fixing the Internet?
First, Kim Kardashian tried to break the internet. It didn't really happen. So now, she's trying to fix the internet. Well, the Twitter part of it anyway. She tweeted to the co-keeper of the Twittersphere, Jack Dorsey, the other day. I just emailed Twitter to see if they can add an edit feature so that when u misspell something u don't have to delete & repost Let's see... — Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 25, 2015 And he tweeted her back, saying it was a great idea. "We're always looking at ways to make things faster and easier," he wrote. So she tweeted words of hope. Well, sort of... Thank you @Jack #FounderOfTwitterUnderstands !!! https://t.co/SzCM03xAH2 — Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) July 25, 2015 But not everyone's happy about it. You've got to read Jack's Twitter feed. It's going a little nutty about the whole thing.
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Come Back, Rob Lowe, Come Back!
Rob Lowe's out as the spokesperson for DirecTV. You remember the ads where the regular Rob Lowe had DirecTV and a variety of "other" split-screened Rob Lowes had cable. Those ads were so cheesy, they were starting to grow on me. So anyway, he's out. Gone. See ya later, Gator. And he's been replaced by... Drum roll, please. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Let that sink in. And then watch his DirecTV commercial debut. Perhaps after that, you'll help organize the Bring Back Rob Lowe committee in your town?  
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"When Civilization Ends... It Ends Fast"
To date, the trailers for Fear the Walking Dead, the prequel to AMC's hit show, The Walking Dead, have been less than intriguing. Looks like the trailer the producers released at Comic-Con last week has got a little more meat to it. Okay, a lot more meat, and some of it human. I held off watching it until now, fully expecting more disappointment. My bad. Now I get it. To some degree, it's even more horrifying than The Walking Dead, since it tells the story of how the zombies came to be to begin with. I actually think I might have to tune in to the premiere now. What do you think?  
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Modern Technology Meets the Future
One of the most advanced personal cameras available to man today is the GoPro. People can strap it on anywhere and anything and capture some pretty interesting video points-of-view. So what would it be like if a Jedi warrior - someone like Obi Wan Kenobi - strapped one on and captured a day-in-the-life? Wonder no more, my friends. That moment has happened. Today has met the future, and it's pretty cool.  
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No Talking or Texting in the Theater
Seriously, is anything more annoying than someone talking or texting in the middle of a movie or a play. Last week, Broadway star Patti Lupone made news when she walked off stage and took away the phone of someone who was texting during a performance. Now, it's Kevin Bacon's turn, and he's upping the ante. Because in Kevin Bacon's world, talking and texting in a theater is a crime. And you could do time. Check out this PSA for Alamo Cinemas...  
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