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The Garden Mix



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.


Grow a Pickle in a Bottle

Add some mystery and fun to this season's harvest by growing a pickle in a bottle.

Just like the ship in a bottle, finding a large cucumber in a clear bottle with a small opening will keep friends and relatives guessing.

Start by selecting a small immature cucumber. Leave it attached to the plant and slide it into a bottle. Leave your bottled cucumber tucked under plant leaves or create a little shade with cloth or newspaper to prevent it from overheating and rotting in the sun.

Check your cucumber regularly and watch it grow. Cut it off the vine just before it fills the bottle. Your cucumber in the bottle will only last a few days, but will provide lots of fun. Preserve it to extend the fun. Boil 2 cups of vinegar mixed with 2 cups of hot water and 3 tablespoons of pickling salt. Cool and pour the mixture over the cucumber and seal the jar shut.

A bit more information: Add some more fun to the garden by scratching your name, design or a message into the rind of winter squash. Take a sharp object and lightly scratch your idea into, but not through the rind of an immature winter squash. As it grows, matures and hardens your message will become clearer.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Upcycle Pool Noodles into the Garden

Don't throw away those worn out or forgotten pool noodles. Put them to work in the garden.

Make a lengthwise cut halfway into the noodle. Then use it to top a chicken wire or hardware cloth fence or plant cage. It prevents cuts from sharp wires and adds a bit of color and whimsy to the garden.

Or bend and insert the noodle into a lawn bag to hold it open. Adding green debris for recycling will be much easier, especially when it's a one person job.

Cover ½ inch PVC to create colorful structures in the garden. Stand on end and securely anchor in the ground for a trellis. Or create colorful arches for added interest or fun for the smaller gardeners in the family.

Or cut the noodle to the desired length and cover with ribbon, flowers, pine cones or other materials to create a wreath for your front door, garden entrance or shed.

A bit more information: Create a raised bed with the help of old window well sections and noodles. Bolt two window wells together. Top with a noodle to protect you from the sharp edges. Set in place, fill with soil and plant.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Plan and Plant Now for a Bountiful Fall Harvest

Now is the time to plan and plant vegetables for a bountiful fall harvest.

Start by looking for vacant spaces in the vegetable garden that are left after harvesting lettuce, spinach and other early maturing crops. Expand your search to other plantable areas in flowerbeds and mixed borders.

Sow seeds of beans, cucumbers, carrots, beets and other short season vegetables. Simply count the number of days from planting to the date of the average first fall frost in your area. Then check the back of the seed packet for the number of days needed from planting until harvest. As long as you have enough time for the seeds to sprout, grow and produce before frost, they can be added to the garden. Or extend the season with coldframes and floating row covers.

Those in frost-free areas can plant longer season crops that benefit from maturing during the cooler months of fall.

A bit more information: Wait for the soil to cool before planting lettuce and other vegetable seeds that require cooler temperatures to germinate. Or start the plants indoors and move them into the garden as transplants. Help keep the soil cool by mulching plantings with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic mulch. For more ideas and information on late plantings watch my Melinda's Garden Moment "Still Time to Plant" video or listen to the audio tip on this topic as well as the "Grow a Bountiful Harvest All Season Long" audio tip.


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


Add seasonal color and shade to your landscape with Celebration maple. This fast grower provides beauty with less maintenance.

Celebration maple is one of the freeman maple varieties. The freeman maple hybrids display the best qualities of each parent while minimizing their less desirable traits. The red maple provides the better structure and fall color while the silver maple increases vigor and high pH tolerance.

Celebration is a more compact cultivar with good structure that is more resistant to wind, ice, snow, and storm damage. The red flowers add a touch of subtle color to the spring landscape, while the red and yellow fall color end the season with a blaze.

This heat, drought and pollution tolerant tree is hardy in zones 4 to 8, and possibly 9, and grows 45 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide.

A bit more information: Celebration® Maple (Acer x freemanii 'Celzam') is virtually seedless, so you will have minimal seeds (also known as helicopters) to sweep off the sidewalk. And those that are grown on their own roots will not heave walks and drives.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Midseason Fertilization for Vegetable Gardens

Increase this season's harvest with a midseason fertilization.

The amount and type of fertilizer needed is dependent on your soil, past fertilization practices and the type of plants you are growing.

A soil test is the best way to get the information needed to develop a fertilization program for your garden. But until you have your soil tested, consider following these guidelines.

Select a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer like Milorganite to avoid damaging plants during hot dry summer weather.

Fertilize leafy vegetables when they are about half size. Wait until the tomatoes and peppers start producing fruit before fertilizing them.

Apply 1 pound of a low nitrogen fertilizer for every 100 square feet. Sprinkle granular fertilizer along side or around the plants. Gently rake it into the soil if needed. Liquid fertilizers are applied by a sprinkling can or garden hose.

A bit more information: Always read and follow label directions for the mixing rates and application methods for the fertilizer you select. And with proper care you will have plenty of produce for you, your family, friends and the hungry in your community. Contact Garden Writers Association's "Plant a Row for the Hungry" program for information on donating extra produce to the hungry in your community. Call toll free 1-877-492-2727 or visit www.gardenwriters.org/.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Eco-friendly Control of Bean Beetles

Holes in the leaves of bean plants mean insects have moved in to share the harvest.  Don’t fret there are some easy ways to manage these pests.
Several insects can feed on bean plants and their pods. The bean leaf beetle, Mexican bean beetle and spotted cucumber beetle are the most common.
The bean beetle is ¼ inch long, yellow-green to red with four black dots on its back. High populations can devastate a planting. Cover plantings with floating row covers to keep the insects off. Firmly secure the edges to prevent the beetles from crawling underneath.
The Mexican bean beetle is a bit larger and can be yellow or coppery brown with 16 black dots. The immature stage, larvae, is orange or yellow, fuzzy and rather hump-backed. Remove and destroy any of the insects and their bright yellow eggs that you find.
A thorough clean up in the fall will reduce future problems.
A bit more information: The spotted cucumber beetle can also be found nibbling on your bean plants. It is long and narrow, yellowish green with black spots. Remove insects as found or use one of the more eco-friendly products like Neem, if needed.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Start New Perennials from Root Cuttings

Expand your perennial plant collection or share a family heirloom with friends and family. Root cuttings of butterfly weed, bleeding heart and oriental poppies to start new plants to share.
 
Take root cuttings of most fleshy rooted perennials in late winter or early spring before growth begins. Wait until after the bleeding heart has stopped flowering and oriental poppies go dormant to make these root cuttings.
 
Start by raking the soil away from the base of the plant so that several roots are exposed.
 
Use a sharp knife to remove several roots. Cover the remaining roots and water the plant.
 
Cut the roots into 2 to 3 inch segments. Lay them on a well-drained potting mix, moist sand or other rooting media. Cover the roots and keep the rooting media moist but not wet.
 
New growth should appear in several weeks.  Young plants can be moved into the garden or container in a sheltered location.
 
A bit more information:  Division is the easiest way to start new plants. Simply use a sharp spade to dig the plant and lift it out of the ground. Use a sharp linoleum knife, drywall saw or two  garden forks to cut the original plant into several small pieces.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Medinilla for Indoor and Outdoor Gardens

Add a bit of the tropics to your patio or indoor garden with a Medinilla Plant.
 
This Philippine native is a relative newcomer to the North American garden scene. It produces exotic pink flowers several times a year. The colorful buds slowly open and expand into a spike covered with pink flowers and bracts.
 
Grow your plant in bright light indoors or indirect sunlight outside. Water thoroughly whenever the soil just starts to dry. You’ll water less often in the winter.
 
Pour off any excess water that collects in the saucer or use a gravel tray to elevate the pot above the water. This will save you time and improve the growing conditions by adding humidity around your plant. 
 
Only fertilize actively growing Medinilla plants. Use a dilute solution of a flowering plant fertilizer whenever your plant needs a nutrient boost.
 
Keep plants indoors when outside temperatures are below 54 degrees F (12 degrees C).
 
A bit more information: Remove faded flowers as your Medinilla finishes blooming. Fertilize regularly as the plant produces new growth. Once stems are at least 10 inches long you can start the reblooming process. Move your plant to a cooler location with temperatures about 64 degrees F (17 degrees C). Continue to provide bright light throughout the reblooming process.  Move back to its original location once the buds are at least 1 inch long. For more information visit http://www.medinilla.ca/plant-care.html
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Eco-friendly Control of Asparagus Beetles

You wait all winter for your asparagus harvest and so do the common and spotted asparagus beetles.
 
These common pests of asparagus feed on the emerging stems causing browning, scarring and crooking of the stems.  Later in the season the larvae of the common asparagus beetle feed on the foliage.  Severe defoliation can weaken the plants.
 
Both beetles are about ¼ inch long and oval in shape. The common asparagus beetle is bluish black with cream-colored spots while the spotted asparagus beetle is reddish orange with black spots.
 
Start watching for these pests as soon as the asparagus peeks through the ground.  Remove and drop the beetles and their worm-like larvae into a container of soapy water.  Smash any of the eggs as soon as they are discovered.
 
Avoid chemicals as these also kill the parasitic wasp that helps control these pests. A little time controlling these insects means a bigger and better tasting harvest.
 
A bit more information: Control the weeds and you will also increase your harvest. Regular removal and mulching will keep annual weeds under control. Quackgrass and other perennial weeds require more persistence to remove these from the garden.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Cilantro

Add some flavor and potassium to your family meals with a bit of homegrown cilantro.
 
Plant transplants or sow seeds directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Cilantro grows best in full sun, cool temperatures and well-drained soil. Gardeners in cooler climates can sow seeds every 3 to 4 weeks throughout the summer for continual harvest. Those with hotter summers will have the best results growing cilantro in the cooler temperatures of spring, fall and even winter in some areas.
 
Harvest the leaves back to the ground when they are at least 4 to 6 inches long. Only harvest a third of the plant to allow it to keep producing. After several harvests or as temperatures warm the plant will set seed. After the white flowers fade, green seeds appear and eventually turn brown. Harvest and use the seeds, they are the herb known as coriander, or allow them to drop to the ground and sprout new plants. 
 
A bit more information: The 2006 All American Selection Award Winner Delfino Cilantro has fine ferny foliage. It branches freely, producing more leaves to harvest and enjoy. Plus, it tends to form flowers and seeds later than other varieties.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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4th Of July Weekend 2014...AWESOME!
4th Of July Weekend 2014 was one for the ages! LOVED having my daughter and our adopted son Cameron (not really, but kinda) here for the fun! Here's how it went down: Friday: First Summerfest experience for the family and I and it didn't disappoint! Food, FUN, laughs, music and just a great time enjoying a MILWAUKEE SUMMER DAY…it FINALLY showed up! Saturday: Used bumpers and STILL got beat by a 3-year old, two 14-year olds, a 15-year old and my wife Sarah. I'm NOT GOOD at bowling! Sunday: Spent the day in Lake Geneva and ya' know…NO BIG DEAL… just drove a speedboat for the FIRST TIME EVER! WHAT A RUSH! Can't wait to do it again! Kids jumped off the boat and swam around for a bit and we just relaxed for a couple of hours…was PEACEFUL & AMAZING! I hope you and yours had a GREAT holiday weekend as well! As always, thanks so much for reading and THANK YOU for listening to 99.1 The Mix! Have a great week! -Mark Summers
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4th Of July Weekend 2014...AWESOME!
4th Of July Weekend 2014 was one for the ages! LOVED having my daughter Alyssa and our adopted son Cameron (not really, but kinda) here for the fun! Here's how it went down: Friday: First Summerfest experience for the family and I and it didn't disappoint! Food, FUN, laughs, music and just a great time enjoying a MILWAUKEE SUMMER DAY…it FINALLY showed up! Saturday: Used bumpers and STILL got beat by a 3-year old, two 14-year olds, a 15-year old and my wife Sarah. I'm NOT GOOD at bowling! Sunday: Spent the day in Lake Geneva and ya' know…NO BIG DEAL… just drove a speedboat for the FIRST TIME EVER! WHAT A RUSH! Can't wait to do it again! Kids jumped off the boat and swam around for a bit and we just relaxed for a couple of hours…was PEACEFUL & AMAZING! I hope you and yours had a GREAT holiday weekend as well! As always, thanks so much for reading and THANK YOU for listening to 99.1 The Mix! Have a great week! -Mark Summers
read more
Grow a Pickle in a Bottle
Add some mystery and fun to this season's harvest by growing a pickle in a bottle. Just like the ship in a bottle, finding a large cucumber in a clear bottle with a small opening will keep friends and relatives guessing. Start by selecting a small immature cucumber. Leave it attached to the plant and slide it into a bottle. Leave your bottled cucumber tucked under plant leaves or create a little shade with cloth or newspaper to prevent it from overheating and rotting in the sun. Check your cucumber regularly and watch it grow. Cut it off the vine just before it fills the bottle. Your cucumber in the bottle will only last a few days, but will provide lots of fun. Preserve it to extend the fun. Boil 2 cups of vinegar mixed with 2 cups of hot water and 3 tablespoons of pickling salt. Cool and pour the mixture over the cucumber and seal the jar shut. A bit more information: Add some more fun to the garden by scratching your name, design or a message into the rind of winter squash. Take a sharp object and lightly scratch your idea into, but not through the rind of an immature winter squash. As it grows, matures and hardens your message will become clearer. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
read more
Upcycle Pool Noodles into the Garden
Don't throw away those worn out or forgotten pool noodles. Put them to work in the garden. Make a lengthwise cut halfway into the noodle. Then use it to top a chicken wire or hardware cloth fence or plant cage. It prevents cuts from sharp wires and adds a bit of color and whimsy to the garden. Or bend and insert the noodle into a lawn bag to hold it open. Adding green debris for recycling will be much easier, especially when it's a one person job. Cover ½ inch PVC to create colorful structures in the garden. Stand on end and securely anchor in the ground for a trellis. Or create colorful arches for added interest or fun for the smaller gardeners in the family. Or cut the noodle to the desired length and cover with ribbon, flowers, pine cones or other materials to create a wreath for your front door, garden entrance or shed. A bit more information: Create a raised bed with the help of old window well sections and noodles. Bolt two window wells together. Top with a noodle to protect you from the sharp edges. Set in place, fill with soil and plant. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
read more
Plan and Plant Now for a Bountiful Fall Harvest
Now is the time to plan and plant vegetables for a bountiful fall harvest. Start by looking for vacant spaces in the vegetable garden that are left after harvesting lettuce, spinach and other early maturing crops. Expand your search to other plantable areas in flowerbeds and mixed borders. Sow seeds of beans, cucumbers, carrots, beets and other short season vegetables. Simply count the number of days from planting to the date of the average first fall frost in your area. Then check the back of the seed packet for the number of days needed from planting until harvest. As long as you have enough time for the seeds to sprout, grow and produce before frost, they can be added to the garden. Or extend the season with coldframes and floating row covers. Those in frost-free areas can plant longer season crops that benefit from maturing during the cooler months of fall. A bit more information: Wait for the soil to cool before planting lettuce and other vegetable seeds that require cooler temperatures to germinate. Or start the plants indoors and move them into the garden as transplants. Help keep the soil cool by mulching plantings with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic mulch. For more ideas and information on late plantings watch my Melinda's Garden Moment "Still Time to Plant" video or listen to the audio tip on this topic as well as the "Grow a Bountiful Harvest All Season Long" audio tip. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
read more
WHAT A WEEKEND!
If I had to pick JUST ONE WORD to describe this past weekend, it'd be: AMAZACRAZYAWESOME! (I totally just made that word up) Spent the weekend with the family at Key Lime Cove and WE HAD A BLAST! Alyssa, Anthony, Ben and Cameron had the time of their lives on the water slides! Sarah and I LITERALLY DID NOTHING on the lazy river, which I think is the idea when you're on that LOL. Embarassing moment alert: I fell asleep on my tube and some random kid cruisin' down the river decided he'd flip me over (that's HARD to do)...that was a fun way to wake up! It really was a GREAT family getaway…FUN & RELAXING! Highly recommend! As always, thank you for reading and thank you for listening to The Mix! -Mark Summers
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LIFE.IS.GOOD.
WHEW!  Now that the U.S./Germany game is over and the U.S. backed into the KNOCKOUT ROUND of the World Cup, I can write about how AWESOME the last few days have been and HOW MUCH FUN the next 2 weeks are gonna be!   On Tuesday, my daughter Alyssa came to visit for 2 weeks from NJ!  Yesterday, Neon Trees came by before their SUMMERFEST performance…then Jonathan Jackson from the hit show “Nashville” came to the radio station and did his thing for us.  Last night, we sat around the dinner table and played Apples To Apples.  FUN GAME!   This weekend, my son Anthony has a baseball tourney in Crystal Lake, IL and his games are on Saturday & Sunday.  Soooo, what are we gonna do IN BETWEEN?  Glad you asked!   Key Lime Cove for the ENTIRE WEEKEND and just a GREAT TIME as a FAMILY, TOGETHER!  Sorry, CAPS LOCK is broken LOL (not really)   What MORE could I ask for?  That’s right, not much.  I already have what I need…including YOU!  Thanks as always for listening,  thanks for reading this and most importantly, thanks for allowing me to be a part of your daily life!  Means SO much to me!   Have a GREAT WEEKEND! -Mark Summers
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