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.
Gardening and weather go hand in hand. We monitor rainfall, frosts and of course the temperatures. These all influence when we plant, harvest and what plants we can grow. Now you can take this interest one step further and volunteer to be part of a network of volunteer weather watchers.
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is a non-profit community based network of volunteers that provides daily measurements of rain, hail and snow that fall in their backyards.
The goal of the Network is to provide more localized weather information to scientists, researchers, resource managers, decision makers and more.
Volunteers receive training and use high quality rain gauges to take measurements.
All you need is a few minutes a day and an interest in the weather. For more details visit their website at cocorahs.org.
A bit more information: Weather watching is a great way to learn more about the world around us. Make this a family activity. Or if you are a teacher or know one, consider getting your classroom involved. CoCoRaHS is in the process of developing classroom materials for teachers.
Can my tree be saved? I am often asked this question when a homeowner discusses a crack in a large branch or trunk of their tree. Some can be saved and the hazard minimized with the help of cables and braces.
The solution starts with a call to a certified arborist to evaluate the tree and feasibility of installing a tree support system.
Cables and braces are the usual means of support. Steel cables anchored into two areas on a tree are used to brace large branches in risk of failure. For example, two upward trunks with a V shape connection at the base are subject to breakage. The cable adds support, reducing the risk.
Braces are rods placed through branches or a trunk with a visible crack. Cables may also be used for additional support. Once installed, these should be inspected every few years to make sure they are doing their job.
A bit more information: Visit the Trees are Good website to find a certified arborist in your community. These tree care professionals are trained and experienced in the field of arboriculture, have passed the International Society of Arboriculture certification exam and participate in continuing education to maintain their certification.
They’re not just pretty and delicious, peppers can help strengthen your bones, fight cancer and reduce inflammation.
Leave peppers on the plant as long as possible. As the color goes from green to yellow to orange and red the nutrient value and antioxidant levels increase. Plus, the flavor is a bit sweeter.
The capsican is the substance that puts the heat and spicy flavor in chile and other hot peppers. It helps fight inflammation, soothes sore muscles and boosts your metabolism. It is used in medicines for a variety of reasons including stomach issues, heart problems and sinus infections.
You’ll get the greatest health benefits by eating them raw since cooking tends to reduce some of the nutrient value.
And be sure to wear gloves and don’t touch your eyes when preparing hot peppers. Always wash gloves and hands thoroughly when you’re finished as the volatile oils can cause burns.
A bit more information: The sautéing of peppers has minimal impact on their nutritional value. Try combining with zucchini and onions for a tasty and nutritious side dish.
It’s edible, ornamental and space efficient. Malabar or climbing spinach (Basella alba) is a heat-loving vine that can be used fresh or cooked just like spinach.
This is not a true spinach, but has a similar flavor that is a bit more buttery and nutty. It’s high in vitamins A and C and thrives in the heat that shuts down spinach and most greens. Eat the leaves fresh, in salads or cook in place of spinach. This vine thrives in the heat and creeps along in cooler weather. Protect it from frost.
Malabar spinach tolerates a wide range of soil conditions but prefers moist fertile soils. Jump start the season by starting seeds indoors six weeks before the last spring frost or purchase transplants for greatest productivity. Scarify the seeds by scratching the seed with a file or sharp knife. And be patient, it can take 3 weeks to germinate.
A bit more information: Plants and seeds can be difficult to find. Check with your local independent garden centers or online sources. And look for added beauty --grow Basella rubra, a Malabar spinach with purple stems.
Red, blue and yellow potatoes add color and flavor to your meal. But avoid those green ones.
The underground portion of a potato is a modified stem called a tuber. It turns green when exposed to sunlight. The sensitivity varies with the variety of potato grown.
The green is chlorophyll produced by the tuber in preparation for sprouting and growth. Solanine, a glycoalkaloid toxin, is also produced. This substance gives the potatoes a bitter flavor and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if enough green potatoes are eaten.
Fortunately, the bitter flavor usually prevents people from eating enough to make them sick. You can cut away small areas of green and still have a tasty potato. In the future keep potato tubers covered with soil or mulch while growing in the garden and store them in a cool dark location to avoid the problem. A bit more information: Americans consume an average of 126 pounds of potatoes per person each year. And many grow their own or a good portion of these in gardens and containers. Americans grow about 17.7 million tons of potatoes. If you are not one of these gardeners, it may be time to join the ranks and grow a few spuds of your own.
Looking for grass-like plants that tolerate the shade? Many of our native and ornamental sedges thrive in shady conditions.
Pennsylvania sedge is the grass-like plant you see growing in the forest. It tolerates full to partial shade and dry soils. Or consider one of several cultivars of Silver Japanese grass. Most grow one to one and a half feet tall and tolerate full to part shade and moist soils. Palm sedge and the dwarf cultivar Little Midge (Carex muskingumensis ‘Little Midge’) will tolerate moist to wet soils, partial shade or full sun and are hardy in zones 4 to 9.
Sweet flag (Acorus) is another option. The long narrow leaves give the look and feel of a grass and these plants tolerate wet soil and part shade. Variegated varieties with creamy stripes running the length of the leaves help brighten the shade in zones 3 to 9.
A bit more information: Pennsylvania sedge is starting to appear in scattered home lawns and public areas. You’ll enjoy its evergreen foliage during mild winters or the quick greening of dormant plants in spring. Purchase plugs and plant in spring or fall for best results.
Grilled, fried, mashed or made into a pie, sweet potatoes are a delicious and nutritious vegetable.
These tropical natives thrive in warm summer temperatures. Harvest when they start reaching the desired size or right after a light frost kills the leaves. Don’t leave them in the ground as cold wet soils can damage the roots.
Carefully dig the tuberous roots. Gently rub off any soil that clings to the roots and allow them to dry on the soil surface in the garden for a few hours.
Save only the damage-free tuberous roots for storage. Cure these in a warm place about 80 to 85 degrees for 7 to 10 days. This helps seal any surface wounds and toughens the skin to reduce drying during storage.
After curing move to a cool location like a basement where temperatures hover at 55 to 60 degrees and the humidity is high.
A bit more information: One medium baked sweet potato with the skin is 100 calories and provides about 377% of the Daily Vitamin A. You can burn those 100 calories by walking 28 minutes, jogging for 11 or swimming for 8 minutes.
Brighten your garden with the cheery blooms of Goldhill golden aster (Heterotheca jonesii x villosa ‘Goldhill’).
This low growing plant is covered with small daisy-like flowers from spring through fall. Mature plants are about 2 to 4 inches tall and 6 to 10 inches wide. Goldhill golden aster works well as a ground cover, in rock gardens, near water features and at the edge of planting beds.
The gray fuzzy leaves make a nice backdrop for the cheery yellow flowers. Grow it in full sun and well-drained soil. Hardy in zones 5 to 8, it’s drought tolerant once established. And the deer tend to leave it be.
Grow it around taller blue flowered perennials like campanula and salvia. Or mix it in with other low growing perennials like sedum and creeping speedwell.
This Plant Select perennial thrives in adverse conditions with fewer resources and less environmental impact.
A bit more information: Plant Select is a brand of plants designed to thrive in adverse conditions of the high plains and intermountain regions of Colorado. The goal is to successfully grow beautiful plants with minimal resources and less environmental impact. For more details visit http://plantselect.org/about-plant-select/
Part of the fun of gardening is trying new plants and pushing the growing limits. This fall try moving a few of your favorite annuals indoors to brighten your indoor garden.
You may have tried growing geraniums in a sunny window and been rewarded with a few colorful blooms. But have you tried ageratums and pentas? And don’t stop there - wax begonias, annual vinca, impatiens, heliotrope, torenia and even petunias may surprise you with a few blooms.
Start new plants from cuttings to minimize the risk of bringing insects in with the plants. Root the cuttings and grow in a well-drained potting mix. Or move small potted plants into a sunny window. Add artificial light as needed to encourage healthy growth and flowers.
Water thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil is slightly moist. And only fertilize if the plants are actively growing. Use a dilute solution of flowering plant fertilizer.
A bit more information: Reduce the risk of insects moving in with your plants by quarantining plants in a spare room for several weeks. Check the upper and lower leaf surfaces and stems for mites, aphids and other pests. Treat with organic insecticides like insecticidal soap or Neem if needed.
The time to buy bulbs, corms and rhizomes at the garden center is not always the most convenient or best time to plant them in the garden.
Shop early for the best selection and to find quality bulbs. Then store them in a cool location until it is time to plant. Place bulbs in a perforated, not closed plastic or paper bag. You can store them in a cool location at 60 to 65 degrees or in the refrigerator. Just keep the bulbs away from ripening fruit and vegetables that give off ethylene gas that can hinder flowering. And since some bulbs are poisonous, be sure to clearly label them so no one accidently eats one.
Pack rhizomes, tuberous roots and tubers in peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, since they dry out faster than bulbs and corms. Store these, packing material and all, in a cool location as well.
A bit more information: Looking for unusual varieties or bulbs species? Consider ordering from one of the bulb companies. They have a wider selection and most ship the bulbs when it is the right time to plant in your area.
You Didn't Come to My Wedding... Here's Your Bill!
This could be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.
A couple in Minnesota was scheduled to attend a wedding, but at the last minute, their babysitter was unable to take care of their kids, so they couldn't go to the wedding.
Things happen, right?
But a couple of weeks afterward, they got a bill in the mail for just under $80, the cost of the two meals that were ordered and not eaten, plus the service and tax charge. The bill came from the new bride and groom.
I wonder if the RSVP fully-disclosed the No-Show Fee?
We should check on that, don't you think?
Contemplating the Mysteries of Existence
Stephen Colbert's already making his unique mark in the late-night spot vacated earlier this year by David Letterman.
The bits he's doing are so different than the bits being done on the other talkers.
Like this one, where he lies down on a blanket in a field and contemplates life with a buddy.
The buddy for this bit - Tom Hanks.
Very funny. Check it out.
Top 10 Most Malicious Celebrities
The folks at Intel Security released a list of the top ten most malicious celebrities on the planet this week.
The celebrities themselves aren't necessarily malicious.
But doing an Internet search for them will more likely than not land you on a link to a website that's malicious - i.e., capable of whacking you with an Internet virus.
They rated the celebrities according to the likelihood that you'll end a search for them with a virus.
# 10. Actress Nina Dobrev - 13.2% likelihood
# 9. Singer Lorde - 13.6% likelihood
# 8. Actress Betty White - 14% likelihood
# 7. Comedian Amy Schumer - 14.7% likelihood
# 6. Singer Katy Perry - 14.9% likelihood
# 5. Rapper & Mr. Beyonce Jay Z - 15.8% likelihood
# 4. Singer Britney Spears - 16.4% likelihood
# 3. Singer Usher - 16.7% likelihood
# 2. Luke Bryan - 17.6% likelihood
# 1. DJ Armin van Buuren - 17.9% likelihood
Honestly, I've never heard of the last guy.
And I'm too afraid to Google him. Lord knows what might happen!
Honest Trailers Takes on "Age of Ultron"
We talked about this already. Marvel is releasing the BluRay version of The Avengers: Age of Ultron this week.
So what better time than now to trot out the honest trailer for the movie.
I'm sorry, that's Honest Trailer.
It's the creation of Screen Junkies, a YouTube channel that pulls apart and pokes fun at the movies and TV shows we know and may or may not love.
And this one for Age of Ultron is pretty hilarious
Check it out.
This Was Necessary Why?
Eighteen years ago, in Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion - it was a movie, let's set the scene - Romy (played by Mira Sorvino) told her high school pals (also played by actors) that she invented Post-It notes.
And obvious lie, and an obvious joke, in the script of a movie.
I mentioned it's a movie, right?
Yesterday, during an interview on The Huffington Post, Mira came face-to-Skype with the actual inventor of Post-Its, a guy named Art Fry.
And she, as Romy, apologized to Art for saying she'd invented Post-It notes.
It's an interesting bit - except no one seemed to know what part he or she was playing.
What do you think?
You Learn Something New Every Day
The eastern seaboard of the United States is getting whacked with rain.
Between five and ten inches of the wet stuff in some areas in the mid-Atlantic.
All because of something called a rex block.
It's a weather pattern. Ever heard of it? Neither have I.
But it's real. High pressure to the north blocks low pressure to the south, so the normal weather patterns that flow east to west don't flow so well.
And because of that, and Hurrican Joaquin just off shore, we're talking massive amounts of rain.
Don't ask me. Ask Al Roker.
He's got the low down. And now you know!
On Stage "Redemption"
This weekend's Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park saw some inspired musical pairings.
Like Beyonce joining Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam on stage to peform Bob Marley's "Redemption Song."
I don't know the song, so I took a look at Bob Marley's performance, and compared it with Beyonce and Eddie's.
I think they improved on it a bit, and made it their own.
What do you think?
"I've Always Hoped that the Good Lord Has a Sense of Humor"
Mark Wahlberg was asked to speak at a ceremony for Pope Francis during the pope's recent visit to the US.
Yes, that Mark Wahlberg. The one who used to be Marky Mark, the one who has starred in some fairly raunchy yet successful films.
Mark's Catholic, so why not get some face time with the guy in charge, right?
During his speech, he mentioned Ted, the movie about a foul-mouthed teddy bear, and asked the pope's forgiveness.
Sort of an odd and out-of-place thing, don't you think?
This news story on NBC last night is pretty scary.
There are folks out there who believe that crumb-rubber artificial turf could be causing cancer among people who use the turf regularly.
Crumb-rubber is the term used for ground-up automotive tires.
When asked about it, the federal government - in the form of the Environmental Protection Agency - doesn't have much to say.
In fact, they don't have anything to say.
And that's more scary than the possibility that the turf is carcinogenic.
Check out the story...
Would You Give it Back?
On Sunday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady tossed his 400th touchdown pass in front of a hometown crowd.
That makes him only the fourth QB in NFL history to hit that mark - the other three are Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Dan Marino.
The pass was caught by wide receiver Danny Amendola, who thought about spiking the ball, but instead, handed it to a season ticket holder hanging out of the stands.
Naturally, Tom wanted that ball, so someone from the Patriots swapped it out with the fan, who gave it up willingly.
On Monday, Tom met with that fan, to say thanks, and to give him a nice bit of autographed swag.
I guess it pays to be nice, right?
What do you think? If you had your hands on a piece of sports memorabilia, would you just hand it over?
"Why is Damon Naked in this New 'Vampire Diaries' Trailer?"
Okay, I've never been interested in the CW's Vampire Diaries.
And seeing naked men? I can take it or leave.
But, my hat's off - and that's it, folks - to Ian Somerhalder, who plays Damon on this show I've never seen.
He posted a trailer for the show on social media - this one to Instagram - that talks about his being naked in it.
Guess what? While he might be, you get to see just his torso, so he just as easily might not be naked.
Clever boy though. He got a ton of hits, and a ton of views for the trailer too.
He must have majored in theater and minored in marketing...
Why is Damon naked in this new Vampire Diaries Trailer...?
A video posted by iansomerhalder (@iansomerhalder) on Sep 29, 2015 at 3:27pm PDT
You Can't Unsee This...
Please, someone explain to me how this happened?
Just when you thought the Honey Boo Boo Clan was gone, they're back.
With a music video.
A. Music. Video.
I can't even describe it. Honey Boo Boo's singing (she's getting some help in that department), and she's sort of dancing around some sort of studio...
And Mama June and Sugar Bear are with her.
If they end up on Dancing with the Stars, I'm throwing my TV out the window.
Wait! I Shouldn't Cut-and-Paste That Warning?
If you've been on Facebook in the past couple of days, you've seen dozens, hundreds, maybe even more of your friends make a public post.
They proclaim that what's on their Facebook page belongs to them, and no one - not even the mighty Facebook itself - can violate their privacy.
There's another one out there that says Facebook will start charging you $5.99 a month to keep your private things private.
That one says the poster heard it on Channel 13 (or Channell 11), so it's got to be true!
It ain't real, folks. It's all a hoax. Just like Facebook said:
"While there may be water on Mars, don't believe everything you read on the internet today. Facebook is free and it always will be. And the thing about copying and pasting a legal notice is just a hoax. Stay safe out there Earthlings!"
Or maybe that's the hoax... Hmmm...