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.
Selecting the Best Mulch
by Melinda Myers,posted Aug 26 2013 1:06PM
You can suppress weeds, conserve moisture, improve soil and save time with one garden resource. And that’s mulch.
Consider function and beauty when selecting mulch for your garden. Organic mulches like woodchips, evergreen needles and shredded leaves keep the soil cool and moist in summer, suppress weeds and improve the soil as they break down.
A 2 to 3 inch layer of wood mulch is great around trees and shrubs and for pathways. Woodchips were found to perform well and the mix of bark, twigs and leaves make them more resistant to compaction. Some mulches, like cedar, are naturally long-lasting, extending the time between applications.
Consider shredded leaves and evergreen needles for perennials and annual flowers and vegetables. These products look good, break down quickly to improve the soil and do not tie up the nitrogen when incorporated into the soil.
A bit more information: Consider price and availability when making your selection. Additional types of mulch may vary by region. Choices may include waste products from local products like cracked pecan shells, oyster shells and peanut hulls. See this Washington State University publication “Woodchip Mulch: Landscape boon or bane” for more information.
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
If you ever get a chance to see Milwaukee from the water...do it! I don't know what it is about the water but everything looks beautiful when you're on the water. I took these over the weekend and just looking at them calms me. We have a beautiful city enjoy it and enjoy what's left of summer:)