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.
Sweeten your Garden and Meals - Stevia - The Garden Mix
Grow your own natural sweetener. Use leaves of the Stevia plant to sweeten soups, sauces, or beverages.
Grow it outdoors during warm frost-free weather. It’s a perennial in USDA zones 8 and warmer, so those gardening in colder areas must grow Stevia like an annual.
Check garden centers and mail order catalogues for plants. Place stevia plants 12 inches apart in full sun or light shade with moist well-drained soils. You’ll get the best growth and most leaves during long warm days.
Water thoroughly and whenever the top few inches of soil are crumbly and slightly moist. Be sure to mulch by spreading a layer of evergreen needles, shredded leaves, or other organic matter over the soil surface to conserve moisture, suppress weeds and improve the soil.
Harvest leaves as needed for sweetening your dishes. I often eat a leaf when I am having a sweet craving.
A bit more information: Wait for cool short days at the end of the growing season when the sweetness is most intense to make large harvests for drying. Cut, bundle, and hang stems upside down to dry. Knock leaves off the stem and save dried leaves in an airtight jar. Grind the leaves by hand or use a coffee grinder to crush the leaves and release the sweetness. Dried leaves stored in an airtight jar will last for several years.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com