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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.
Posts from December 2012


Try Black-Eyed Peas & Cabbage This New Year
 
Start the New Year with a good luck meal of black-eyed peas and cabbage. 
 
Be a part of this Southern tradition that dates back to the Civil War.  Many people believe that the swelling of the peas as they cook represents prosperity, while others think their shape resembles coins.

Increase your Good Luck and prosperity by including a cabbage dish. This German, Irish and U.S. tradition is tied to the fact that cabbage leaves resemble money, promoting personal wealth.
 
Increase the fun of future New Year’s celebrations by growing your own cabbage and black-eyed peas.
 
Grow black-eyed peas in full sun and warm to hot temperatures.  Allow some of them to mature on the plant.  Pull and hang the plants to dry. Then shell and store the black-eyed peas for your winter and New Year’s meal.
 
Preserve your cabbage by quartering, blanching and freezing some for use in your favorite cabbage dishes.
 
A bit more information: Cabbage and other cool season crops like broccoli and cauliflower perform best in cooler temperatures. Be sure to plant cabbage in spring for an early summer harvest or mid-summer for a fall harvest.

For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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2013 All-America Selections Flower Winners
 
Add some new sparkle to your garden with one of the 2013 All-America Selections (AAS) Flower winners. 
 
AAS winners are tested throughout the U.S. and Canada and selected for their unique qualities and suitability for the home garden.
 
Buy plants or start South Pacific Scarlet Canna from seed, not a tuber, for a great focal point in a container or backdrop in the garden.  This vigorous uniform plant grows 4 to 5 feet tall and produces large scarlet flowers throughout the summer.
 
Enjoy the colorful mixture of purple, pink, red and orange flowers the first season you grow Cheyenne Spirit Coneflower.
 
Pinto Premium White to Rose Geranium was selected as a 2013 Bedding Plant award winner.  The large long lasting flowers start out white then turn to a rose-pink for a bicolor effect. 
 
A bit more information: All-America Selection winners are “Tested Nationally and Proven Locally®”. New varieties are trialed next to several similar plants currently sold and grown in the garden.  Judges look for improved flavor, pest resistance, habit, and more factors that make these a good choice for home gardeners.

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

As the days shorten and gray, our indoor gardens may be suffering.  A move to a new location may be the solution.

Moving plants to an unobstructed south-facing window in the winter, is often enough to give them the sunlight boost they need. 
 
Next, help your plants deal with the dry air indoors. As we turn up the thermostat the humidity in our house lowers and our plants suffer.  Group plants together or place on gravel trays to increase the humidity around your plants.  As one plant loses moisture from its leaves, or transpires, the others benefit from this added moisture.  And as the water evaporates from the gravel tray it increases the humidity around the plants.
 
Adjust your watering schedule to compensate for the reduced light and changes in room temperature and humidity.  Only fertilize actively growing plants that need a nutrient boost.
 
A bit more information: If your plants continue to struggle, consider adding artificial lights to the natural sunlight your plants receive. For more information on artificial lights click here.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Miniature Roses

Add a bit of color to your indoor garden or dinner table this season with miniature roses. 
 
Add a miniature rose to one of your large indoor planters or dish gardens.  Or place it in a small decorative pot and use it as a centerpiece or place marker for your dinner guests. 
 
Grow your miniature rose in a sunny location like a south or west facing window where it will receive at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight.  Regularly turn the pot so every side receives an equal amount of sunlight for balanced growth.
 
Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil consistently moist.  And always pour off excess water that collects in the saucer.  Or elevate the pot above the water on pebbles in the saucer to avoid root rot. 
 
Avoid cold temperatures lower than 50 degrees and drafts of hot and cold air. Fertilize with a flowering houseplant fertilizer as needed.
 
A bit more information: Check your plants regularly for spider mites.  These pests suck plant juices, causing stippling, yellowing, and browning of the leaves, and distorted growth.  Use a strong blast of water to dislodge the mites.  If the problem continues, make several weekly applications of insecticidal soap to reduce the mite population and plant damage.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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The First Day of Winter

Celebrate the first day of winter with a walk around the neighborhood or nearby botanical garden.  It’s a great way to walk off a few of those holiday calories and plan for added winter interest in your landscape. 

Look for evergreen and colorful flowers you would like to include.
 
Hardy pansies and Johnny Jump-ups provide color and cheer in both northern and southern gardens.  In the north they flower until the snow covers the blooms and are among the first flowers to appear in spring.  In warmer climates they brighten the landscape all winter long.
 
Cheddar pinks and some of the other perennial dianthus will hold their blue green foliage throughout the winter.
 
Candy tuft as well as creeping phlox are two evergreen perennials that brighten our spring gardens with flowers.
 
Many perennial geraniums and Bergenia have leaves that turn reddish-purple in fall and persist throughout the winter. 
 
A bit more information:  If your schedule or the weather doesn’t allow a walk outside, consider some other fun ways to celebrate the first day of winter.  You’ll find lots of good ideas at the Parent Dish website -
http://www.parentdish.com/2010/12/21/five-ways-to-celebrate-the-first-day-of-winter/.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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So far, SO GREAT!
3 & 1/2 months and counting since my family and I packed up our stuff in NJ and made the trek to Milwaukee! Anytime you leave what you've "known" for years and years, you always worry that: It won't work It's not a great fit It'll take a LONG time to FIT IN Well, I'm here to say that all of those answers couldn't be farther from the truth! From DAY 1, my radio family here at The Mix has welcomed my family and I with OPEN ARMS (My favorite JOURNEY song btw) and it's like we've known each other forever! At the same time, my new family of radio listeners (ALL OF YOU reading this right now) have also made me so incredibly comfortable and happy and as stated above, it's like I've known you well, longer than the 3.5 months I've been here! You've helped my family and I find a place to live, great restaurants (my family and I love to eat), great places to visit to entertain my kids, a travel baseball team for my oldest son Anthony and of course, great karaoke so I can get my sing on! I will continue to ask for your advice on different things along the way and I know WITHOUT A DOUBT, you'll be there to answer whatever questions my family and I have! For that, I'm very grateful! Just wanted to take a few minutes to say THANK YOU for welcoming Me, my wife Sarah, and children Anthony and Benjamin with such warmth and kindness! We look forward to being a part of the community for a long time to come! Thank you for listening to 99.1 The Mix! I'm havin' a BLAST! Hope YOU are too! Sincerely, Mark Summers
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Invite Frogs and Toads into the Garden
Celebrate National Frog Month by inviting insect and slug-eating toads and frogs into your garden. Start by providing water. A pond at least 20 inches deep with gently sloping sides will work. Include water plants that provide oxygen, shelter from predators and weather and breeding sites. Include a few rocks or logs in the pond for basking and a few alongside the water for shelter. Build a rock pile in the garden. Select a location that receives sun and shade each day. Position the rock pile in more sun if your summers are cool and more shade if your summers are hot. Line the bottom with stones for added protection from winter cold and leave cavities between some of the bottom rocks for nesting, shelter and hibernation. Use a pipe 1 to 2 inches in diameter and less than 2 feet to create an entryway. A bit more information: Look, but do not touch the frogs and toads you attract to your landscape. Bug repellent, lotions and oils on your skin can harm these creatures. For more information see Oregon State University Extension's publication Attract Reptiles and Amphibians to Your Yard. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Grow Potatoes in the Garden or Container
What is white, red or yellow, can be eaten fresh, fried or even raw and is one of the most important staples of the human diet? If you guessed potato, you are right. Grow your own in the garden, planting bag or containers. You can plant small potatoes or pieces of larger potatoes to start new plants. These contain "eyes" that grow into potato plants. You may have seen this happen on potatoes stored in the pantry. Buy certified seed potatoes at garden centers or from garden catalogues. Cut whole or large seed potatoes into smaller pieces containing at least one good "eye". Plant them in a 2-3 inch deep furrow, 10 to 12 inches apart, leaving 24 to 36 inches between the plants. As the plants begin to grow, mound the nearby soil over the tubers until the rows are 4 to 6 inches high. Keep the planting weeded and wait for the harvest. A bit more information: Save space and have some fun by growing your potatoes in a planting bag. Fill the bottom few inches of the bag with potting mix. Set the potato pieces on the mix. Cover with several inches of soil. As the potatoes grow, continue adding a couple of inches of soil at a time until the bag is full. Harvest by dumping the bag and lifting out your potatoes. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Brown Needles and Leaves on Evergreens
A walk through your garden this spring may reveal browning on both needled and broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs. Winter winds and sun, exposure to deicing salt and record low temperatures are likely the cause. Evergreens continue to lose moisture through their leaves and needles throughout the winter. The winter sun and wind increase moisture loss. Those gardening in areas with frozen soil are likely to see the most damage. But even those in warmer regions may see winter scorch on newly planted or exposed evergreen plants. We can't turn the needles and leaves green, but we can provide proper care to speed recovery. If the branches are pliable and buds plump you should see new growth this spring. Broadleaf evergreens will replace the brown leaves with fresh new growth. Brown needles will eventually drop and the new growth this spring may mask the damage. Wait for warmer weather to see what if any new growth appears. A bit more information: Once plants have started to show signs of new growth, you have a decision to make. Is the plant healthy and attractive enough to nurture and keep? Or, would you be better off starting with a new plant and one better suited to the growing conditions. A difficult decision, but one that can save you time, money and frustration in the long run. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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A Multi-Season Beauty – The Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Add seasonal interest and bird appeal to your landscape with the white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). This slow growing small-scale tree can grow up to 20 feet tall and wide. The slightly fragrant white flowers cover the plant in spring. The male plants produce slightly larger and showier flowers, but the female plants produce an abundance of blue fruit in late summer. Though the fruit is somewhat hidden by the leaves, the birds seem to have no problem finding and devouring it. But don't worry however as they won't leave behind a mess. The fall color can vary from a good yellow to a yellowish green. And the smooth gray bark become ridged and furrowed with age. Fringetree is hardy in zones 4 to 9, grows well in full sun to part shade and though it prefers moist fertile soil, it is adaptable to a much wider range of conditions. It can be found in nature growing along stream banks and the woodland edge. A bit more information: Use fringetree as a small tree or large shrub, as a specimen plant, near buildings, or in mixed borders as an understory. And be patient in spring as it is late to leaf out. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Daisy – the April Birth Flower
Celebrate April birthdays with a bouquet of daisies. This April birth flower symbolizes childhood innocence or according to the Farmer's Almanac they were given between friends to keep a secret. Many flowers share the common name daisy. It comes from the English name "days eye" referring to the fact many daisy flowers open during the day and close as the sun sets. Bellis perennis, known as English daisy, is most often designated as the April birth flower. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8, grows about 6 inches tall and flowers from spring through mid summer. You will find this plant listed as an attractive perennial or nasty weed. In the south the plants often burn out after flowering during the heat of summer. In cooler climates they are often dug after flowering to maximize enjoyment and minimize spread. The young leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked. A bit more information: Sweet peas are also considered the April birth flower. This is especially true in April. This flower represents modesty and simplicity. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Garden Longer with Less Aches and Pains – It’s National Garden Week
Avoid sore and strained muscles that often arise after a long day in the garden. A few simple changes in your gardening habits can keep you gardening longer and with fewer aches, pains and strains. Use long-handled tools to extend your reach and minimize bending and stooping. And if you need to get a bit closer to the ground, try placing only one knee on the ground or using a stool and keep your back straight. Keep your tools handy by wearing a carpenter's apron with lots of pockets or using a tool caddy. An old wagon, wheeled golf bag or trash can make moving long-handled tools a breeze. Use foam or wrap your tool handles with tape to enlarge the grip and reduce hand fatigue. Or better yet, invest in ergonomically designed tools with larger cushioned grips. They are designed to position your body in a less stressful position, allowing you to work longer. A bit more information: Further extend your energy by taking frequent breaks. Use sunscreen, wear a hat and drink lots of water. For more ideas, check out my 10 Pain-free Gardening tips. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Celebrate National Dandelion Day – It’s not just a weed
Stop, don't pull those pesky yellow flowered dandelions popping up in the lawn and garden. These beautiful flowers have not only been used as bouquets for mom and crowns for children, but have a long medicinal and edible history. On April 5th, Dandelion Day, celebrate the benefits and beauty of this perennial plant many consider a weed. You'll find this adaptable plant growing in a wide variety of locations. The name dandelion comes from the French "dent de lion" meaning lion's tooth. This refers to the leaves with their jagged tooth-like edges. Dandelions are high in Vitamins A, B, C and D and were used by Native Americans for kidney disease, swelling and skin problems. Harvest the young leaves in spring and add them to a salad or sauté with onions. Brighten up a salad with just the yellow portion of the flowers or ferment them into wine. A bit more information: Dandelions are also known as 'wet-the-bed'. This refers to the old belief that just touching a dandelion can cause bed-wetting. This may be tied to the fact that dandelions have been used as a diuretic. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Celebrate National Celery Month - Grow Your Own Celery Indoors or Out
Celery, an unassuming vegetable has long been used as a flavorful ingredient in soups, stews and casseroles. You'll also find it fresh on a relish tray or as a crunchy low calorie snack. Its value is being recognized and celebrated during April, National Celery Month. This long season vegetable is difficult to grow in many areas. The plants are slow to germinate and the young transplants will bolt if subject to cool periods. Grow celery in full sun with moist organic soil. Provide ample moisture and mulch to keep the soil moist throughout the season. Wrap or cover the stalks two weeks before harvest to blanch the stems for a milder flavor. Or have a bit of fun and grow some celery from kitchen discards. Next time you chop up a bunch of celery for soup or stew, save the base and grow a new plant. A bit more information: It's easy to grow your own celery from kitchen discards. Save the base of the celery in a shallow dish of water or bury the bottom half in a well-drained potting mix to root. Set in a bright location. Keep water in the saucer or the soil mix moist until new growth appears. Pot up and move to a sunny location. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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It's that time...
It's that time of year...ALLERGIES! This morning I walked my dog only to experience ichy watery eyes... So off to Walgreens I went to pick up Visine A eye drops...We are teaming up with Visine A eye drops to help me get some relief! Just a drop in each eye and aaaahhhh relief. So, if YOU experience allergies and want to get back to feeling normal...I recommend Visine A eye drops and get back outside and enjoy the things you like to do without looking like you're sick! NICE!
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Definitely Gonna Miss This Guy!
It's definitley time for David Letterman to retire, especially with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel doing so well! But after I heard his announcement, I have to admit, I was a little sad, I'm a HUGE fan! Below is a picture of me in New York visiting my friend Shelby who was one of his writing interns this past year!
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Definitely Gonna Miss This Guy!
It's definitley time for David Letterman to retire, especially with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel doing so well! But after I heard his announcement, I have to admit, I was a little sad, I'm a HUGE fan! Below is a picture of me in New York visiting my friend Shelby who was one of his writing interns this past year!
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