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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.


Flaky Growths (Lichens) on Trees and Shrubs

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

Don't panic when you find flaky gray, green, white or yellow substances, known as lichens, on the trunk or branches of your trees and shrubs. These growths do not damage the plant, but may indicate your tree and shrub needs a bit of TLC.

Lichens are composed of a fungus and green or blue-green algae. The algae provides the photosynthesis to produce food, while the fungus supplies water and minerals and protects the algae. This mutually beneficial relationship allows them to withstand harsh environmental conditions.

Although the lichens usually do not harm the plant they reside upon, they are most common in declining trees and shrubs where branches have died, allowing the sunlight to reach the lichens.

Reduce the problem by providing plants with proper care. Expand the mulch beds around trees and shrubs. Remove dead and damaged branches and water plants thoroughly when needed.

A bit more information: Further increase the health of your trees and shrubs by expanding the mulch beds. This will make maintenance easier for you and improve the growing conditions for the plants. Use organic mulches like woodchips and shredded bark that conserve moisture, suppress weeds, reduce competition from grass and improve the soil as they decompose. For more information on lichens, click here.

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

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Managing and Enjoying Reseeding Perennials

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

More is often considered better, except when it comes to unwanted seedlings. Self seeding perennials mean lots of free plants to move to other gardens in the landscape, but sometimes it just means more unwanted plants to control.

Purple coneflower and Black-eyed Susan are two popular perennials that can quickly fill your garden with their offspring. You can reduce the problem by removing faded flowers and thus eliminating the seeds. The downside, the birds will miss eating the seeds and you'll miss the winter beauty and bird activity the seeds provide. I choose to leave the seedheads intact, enjoy the birds and share the seedlings with friends, community organizations or my compost pile.

Garden phlox is another prolific seeder. Deadheading – removing the faded flowers - reduces reseeding, but also encourages additional bloom.

A bit more information: Plume poppy, Northern sea oats, columbine and blackberry lily are other perennials that tend to self seed. Share your extra seedlings with friends. Keep a few old pots or plastic bags and a trowel on hand. When your gardening friends come to visit, hand them a trowel and container and let them dig a few of their favorites. You'll have fewer seedlings and they'll have more plants for their garden.

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

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Save Money by Starting Plants from Seeds Directly in the Garden

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

Maximize your plant budget and enjoyment by starting plants from seeds right in the garden.

Select flowers and vegetables suited to the growing conditions. This includes sunlight, soil, temperature and the length of your growing season. Check the back of the seed packet for the best time to plant the seeds directly outdoors. Also look for the number of days from planting until harvest. Make sure the seeds you sow will have time to flower or fruit before the end of your growing season.

Radishes, lettuce, cucumbers, and beans are a few of the vegetables that are relatively quick maturing and easy to start from seed in the garden.

Annuals like ageratum, bachelors button, sweet pea and sweet alyssum can be started in the garden as soon as the soil is workable. Wait until the danger of frost has passed to plant cosmos, French marigolds, nicotiana and sunflowers.

A bit more information: Further maximize your plant budget by swapping plants and seeds with friends. Buy the large economy package of seeds and divide it amongst your gardening friends. As you dig and divide perennials swap divisions, so everyone ends up with something new for their garden. Best of all, the plant will be a great reminder of your friendship.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Plant A Row for the Hungry in Your Community

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

Gardeners are some of the most generous people I know. They love to share their ideas, passion for gardening and of course produce. So when you are overwhelmed with tomatoes, peppers, greens and zucchini, contact a nearby food pantry or meal program that can get these vegetables to people in need.

You may be surprised to discover there are hungry people in all our communities. Many are children and seniors who greatly need the nutrition that fresh produce provides.

Consider making a difference in their lives by planting a few extra tomatoes, row of greens or zucchini plants so you have plenty to donate. It is a great way to justify buying more seeds and plants as well as convincing your family that you need a larger garden.

Contact your local food pantry and visit www.gardeners.com resource page on Share the Harvest for more ways you can share your produce.

A bit more information: Garden Writers Association and Garden Writers Foundation launched the Plant a Row for the Hungry program in 1995. Since then, gardeners have donated over 20 million pounds of produce. To join the effort contact Plant a Row for the Hungry at http://gardenwriters.org/gwa.php?p=par/index.html or call 1-877-492-2727.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Clover; a Sustainable Lawn Grass Alternative

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

Once included in lawn mixes as a nurse crop, then considered a weed, clover is now being considered as a low maintenance, lawn grass alternative.

If you have tried to rid your lawn of clover, you know it is a persistent plant. Like other legumes, clover is able to capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and move it into the soil, making it available for plants to use. The deep roots make it drought tolerant and female dog urine won't discolor it.

Clover attracts honeybees, bumble bees and other beneficial insects. This is great for our gardens, but may not be good for barefoot kids running through the lawn. Plus, it is not as tolerant of heavy foot traffic as lawn grass.

Before converting your lawn to low maintenance clover, start with a small patch where lower maintenance is needed and increased bee activity will be appreciated.

A bit more information: Consider a mixed lawn/clover lawn for areas with moderate to high foot traffic. You can overseed an existing lawn with clover. It will act as a nurse crop, adding nitrogen to the soil to feed your lawn. The lawn grass will tolerate dogs, kid play and sports activity better. Just be prepared to manage the clover stains that can be difficult to remove.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Gardening Advice in your Pocket: Mobile Apps

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

Whether you are planning, planting or tending your garden, a bit of expert advice is always helpful. Now you can take this advice to the garden center, your garden or just about anywhere you need it. And best of all, it fits in your pocket.

More and more garden related mobile apps are now available. Just visit the app store and explore the many options. Universities are providing mobile apps to help gardeners and professionals identify plant disease and insect problems. Garden companies are using apps to help gardeners plan their landscape or select plants while shopping at the garden center.

A new one for this spring is Homegrown with Bonnie Plants. It is the most comprehensive app I have found for vegetable gardening. You can access information on various vegetable varieties, search for pest problems and even create your own garden journal using the app.

A bit more information: To find out more about Homegrown with Bonnie Plants mobile app see their User's Guide at http://bonnieplants.com/app/ or click here.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Low Maintenance Waterwise Gardening with Irrigation

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

Reduce your workload, increase productivity and be water wise.
Container gardeners may want to make a one-time investment in a drip irrigation system, like the Snip-n-Drip Pot and Planter Soaker System especially designed for container gardens.

Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are also a great way to water in-ground and raised bed gardens. These irrigation systems apply the water directly to the soil, reducing water lost to overspray, evaporation and runoff. They also reduce the risk and spread of disease by preventing water from settling on the leaves of the plants.

Opt for a micro irrigation system if your water has a high mineral content that tends to clog soaker hoses.

Correctly installed, irrigation systems can help conserve water by ensuring that you water properly and only when needed.

A bit more information: Raised bed gardens will also benefit from irrigation systems. Elevated gardens often dry out more quickly than their in-ground counterparts and need more frequent watering. Some, like the Raised Bed Snip-n-Drip soaker system (gardeners.com), are easy to assemble and allow you to water when needed. Further save time by using preformed corners with built-in spigots when constructing raised beds. Simply slide the boards into the metal corner pieces to create the raised bed. Some corner systems, like Aquacorner, have built-in spigots to make irrigation even simpler.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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May is National Physical Fitness Month: Get the Kids Outdoors

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

Celebrate National Physical Fitness Month this May by getting the whole family out into the garden. It is a great way to stretch, increase muscle strength, reduce stress and improve your mood. And if your garden includes some vegetables you will be increasing your health and fitness with nutritious and flavorful homegrown produce.

And don't forget to bring the children along to the garden. Allowing children to explore nature in a garden, natural setting or your backyard will help them focus and do better in school. Give them a pile of dirt to explore; leaves, twigs and cones to create fairy gardens; branches to construct a hideout; and most importantly give them time and space to explore the outdoors. Unstructured outdoor play is important for mental, physical, emotional and social development.

Need some ideas? Check out these kids gardening projects.


A bit more information: For more ideas on helping kids connect with the outdoors see conservationtool.org's Nature Play booklet. Part 1 explores the essentials of nature play. Part 2 provides actions that organizations can take to help put nature play back into children's lives. You'll read about how to create spaces and features to include for nature play no matter what your budget is.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Plant a Tree for Mother’s Day

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

Give mom the gift that keeps giving for generations to come – a tree. And don't worry if there is no room in your backyard – donate a tree to your local botanical garden, community or American Forest.

I'm a mom that loves to garden, enjoys receiving plants and cut flowers. But more importantly I want to improve the world for my daughter and grandchildren. Adding trees to our environment can do just that.

Trees help capture rainwater, reducing soil erosion and storm water runoff. They also clean our air by capturing dust and pollutants, while releasing the oxygen we breathe. Plus, they provide food and shelter for wildlife.

If you are struggling for a local opportunity, consider Giving the Gift of Trees through the American Forests. They have planted more than 45 million trees in all 50 states and 44 countries since 1990. Just visit www.americanforests.org for details.

A bit more information: Or take a picture of a favorite tree. Maybe it is one you watch change with the seasons, or provides shade to your deck or shelter for family picnics. Or maybe it is just a pretty tree. Your mom will enjoy its beauty and your photography skills year round.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Add a Bit of Blue of the Spring Garden with Camassia

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

Add a bit of blue to your spring garden with Camassia. Spring is a great time to locate a spot for this beauty while fall is the time to plant it in the garden or force it indoors.

There are several species of Camassia, extending their adaptability and growing zones from 3 to 9.

Most prefer moist soil when blooming and drier conditions when dormant. This makes them suitable for rain gardens. They also make great additions to meadow, natural and even more formal perennial gardens.

The spikes of blue, white, or purple star shaped flowers appear in spring and look great in the garden or as a cut flower in a vase.

This durable beauty grows in full sun to partial shade, tolerates wet, dry and clay soils and will grow near a black walnut.

Plant it among perennials to hide the foliage that can become scruffy as the bulbs start to go dormant.

A bit more information: Camassia scilliodes also known as Wild Hyacinth is native to Ontario and much of the eastern and southern United States. Blue Camass (Camssia quamash) is native to the Pacific Northwest. And Camassia leichtlinii can be found along the west coast from British Columbia to southern California as well as many zone 5 to 9 gardens.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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National Salad Month; Grow Your Own Salad

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

May is National Salad Month. Grow your own ingredients for the best tasting and most nutritious salad.

You don't need a lot of space to grow your own salad greens and fixings. A small spot in the garden or a container will do just fine.

Grow leaf lettuce for fast results. Add a bit of color to the mix with red leafed varieties like red sails or variegated varieties like freckles. You'll be harvesting greens in 45 to 55 days.

Add some radishes and carrots. Just make sure your soil is well-drained or container deep enough to accommodate these plants. I like short carrot varieties that grow better in heavy soils and containers.

Save space by planting carrots and radishes together. You'll harvest the radishes first, leaving space for the later maturing carrots to continue to grow and reach full size.

Include pansies, calendulas, and other edible flowers for a bit of fun and flavor.

A bit more information: Harvest the outer leaves of leaf lettuce when 4 to 6 inches tall. The plants will keep producing, providing lots of fresh greens for you to enjoy.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Save Money and Still Have a Big Tomato Harvest

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

Whether you have a large or small planting budget, the more you save on each project means the more projects you can do.

Use 5-gallon buckets that contain non toxic materials or old nursery pots available from recycling bins at most garden centers, when growing tomatoes in containers. Be sure to fill the container with a quality potting mix.

Start with the smaller less expensive tomato plants. They will suffer less transplant shock, recover quickly and catch up or even surpass the larger transplants.

Split a six pack or flat of tomatoes with friends. It is often cheaper to buy larger quantities and you will all save money when you share.

Use handles of broken garden tools or other found items to support your plants. And don't forget to mulch the soil. Use evergreen needles or shred fallen leaves that most of us have on our property.

A bit more information: Be sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom of 5-gallon buckets or other items you recycle into planters. Or double pot plantings made in containers without drainage holes. Plant your tomato in a pot with drainage holes. Then place pebbles on the bottom of the pot that lacks the drainage holes. Set the planted pot on top of the pebbles inside the decorative container that lacks drainage holes. Be sure to pour off excess water that builds up in the bottom of the decorative pot as needed.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

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Thank You for Your Service
It's Memorial Day, a time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. We should all the take the time to stop and say thank you to those who've gone before us. And let's not forget to say thanks to those that are still here. This amazing video is from a year ago, but it remains poignant. Runners in San Jose, California were participating in a charity race benefitting the military. A 95-year-old veteran named Joe Bell set up a chair in front of his home, and sat in his old uniform tunic and cap to watch the racers pass. And before long, the race was all about Joe, as the runners came up to him and shook his hand to thank him for his service. Touching. (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 sight of a 95-year-old veteran cheering on runners in a military charity race in San Jose triggered a spontaneous show of patriotism that captured the nation's attention.Joe Bell was waving at the runners when suddenly he became the one being honored. One by one, participants ran over to Bell, shaking his hand and thanking him for his service.The race benefited the Pat Tillman Foundation, set up in honor of the fallen Army Ranger and San Jose native.Watch KTLA's video here: http://ktlane.ws/1kwcgo9 Posted by KTLA 5 News on Tuesday, March 4, 2014
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Dave Grohl - The 5th Beatle
Music fans in London got a treat on Saturday night. Paul McCartney was in concert. Like that's not enough. But, he invited Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters on stage with him to assist with a Beatles classic, "I Saw Her Standing There." Couple of observations... (1) Paul's voice is holding out pretty well for a guy about to turn 74. (2) Dave and Paul together is a very cool collaboration. And I would love to see more of them!  
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"Can You Smell What the Rock is Officiating?"
So, Nick Mundy from Screen Junkies is a huge fan of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Over the years, they've developed an actual friendship. Enough so that the rest of the crew at Screen Junkies was able to get The Rock to help out when they wanted to pull a prank on Nick. Well, not really a prank. It was a surprise wedding. Not only did The Rock agree, he decided he wanted to be the wedding officiant, so he went and got ordained and registered with the state of California. Check out the footage - it's actually pretty cool.  
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Flaky Growths (Lichens) on Trees and Shrubs
Melinda's Blog is brought to you by American Transmission Company. Don't panic when you find flaky gray, green, white or yellow substances, known as lichens, on the trunk or branches of your trees and shrubs. These growths do not damage the plant, but may indicate your tree and shrub needs a bit of TLC. Lichens are composed of a fungus and green or blue-green algae. The algae provides the photosynthesis to produce food, while the fungus supplies water and minerals and protects the algae. This mutually beneficial relationship allows them to withstand harsh environmental conditions. Although the lichens usually do not harm the plant they reside upon, they are most common in declining trees and shrubs where branches have died, allowing the sunlight to reach the lichens. Reduce the problem by providing plants with proper care. Expand the mulch beds around trees and shrubs. Remove dead and damaged branches and water plants thoroughly when needed. A bit more information: Further increase the health of your trees and shrubs by expanding the mulch beds. This will make maintenance easier for you and improve the growing conditions for the plants. Use organic mulches like woodchips and shredded bark that conserve moisture, suppress weeds, reduce competition from grass and improve the soil as they decompose. For more information on lichens, click here. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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