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The Garden Mix




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 August 2013


Eco-friendly Weed and Moss Control
Tired of cutting or pulling weeds and scraping moss out of the cracks in your patio and walkway pavers?  Enlist the help of some of the new more eco-friendly products. 

Many of the organic weed killers use vinegar, soaps and plant oils to burn the tops off unwanted plants.  Once the tops die the weeds can more easily be removed.  Repeat applications are needed as new weed seeds sprout and perennial weeds grow new tops from their roots that were not killed by these products.
 
Similar products are available to manage moss. Just keep in mind that unless you eliminate the cause, which is usually excess shade, the moss will return. If you can’t eliminate the cause, you may want to embrace the moss as part of the walkway.
 
Eco-friendly products are good solutions for those seeking a more eco, pet and child friendly weed control options. As always be sure to read and follow label directions carefully.
 
A bit more information: Many gardeners are replacing the sand in between their pavers with new products like EnviroSand and Joint-Lock that resist washout and prevent weeds from sprouting. Evaluate cost and time of installation when deciding if this is the best option for you.
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Plastic Lumber for the Landscape
While “milk does a body good,” its’ recycled cartons can also do some good in the garden. 
 
Consider using all plastic lumber, wood/plastic composite or fiber-reinforced plastic lumber for your garden construction projects.  Plastic lumber is constructed from 100% recycled plastic and is often used for docks and decks. 

Wood/plastic composites are usually made from 50% recycled plastic and 50% sawdust or other recycled fiber and often made with a wood-grain texture.  Fiber reinforced is a mix of plastic and chopped or strands of glass fiber.  This is the most expensive, but the strongest of the three. 
 
All three come in a variety of colors, sizes similar to standard lumber, and never need staining.
 
And consider giving milk jugs a second life before recycling. Use them to make a hands-free harvest basket, cloche or soil scoop.
 
A bit more information: Use a milk jug to make a hands-free harvest basket to use when picking raspberries and strawberries. Enlarge the opening at the top, but leave the handle intact. Secure the milk jug around your waist by running a rope or belt through the handle. Now you have two hands free for harvesting and a safe place for your harvest.

For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Selecting the Best Mulch
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.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Caring for Drought Stressed Houseplants
Summer often has our attention focused outdoors on the garden and other fun activities. Houseplants can often be overlooked and suffer from a bit of neglect. Revive water stressed houseplants with a little TLC. 

Most houseplants are grown in peat based soilless mixes. Once these dry out, they’re hard to rewet. You may have noticed the water running over the surface and down the side of the pot.
 
Start by gently loosening the soil surface with a fork or chopstick.  Then place the pot in a bucket of warm water. Allow the soilless mix to absorb the water. The potting mix will feel moist and there will be no more bubbles.
 
Allow the excess water to drain. Store stressed plants in a cool bright location until they perk up.
 
In the future, use your finger to monitor soil moisture.  Water thoroughly when the top few inches of potting mix are slightly moist.
 
A bit more information:  Make proper watering easier. Place the potted houseplant on a saucer filled with pebbles. The gravel-filled saucer captures and stores excess water below the planter. There’s no need to pour off the excess water. As the water evaporates it increases the humidity around the plant, improving its growing environment.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Eco-friendly Lawn Mowing
Mow your way to a fit body and healthy environment.  
 
Using a push mower instead of a power mower can help reduce CO2 in the atmosphere by as much as 80 lbs a year.  Plus, you burn more than 300 calories for each hour you mow. 

Or consider an electric mower for larger lots.  And if a new mower isn’t in the budget, keep your old gas powered mower running properly to reduce fuel consumption and pollution. 
 
Change the oil, replace spark plugs, clean the air filter and sharpen the blades before the start of each mowing season.
 
And use a funnel when filling your mower.   According to the EPA, 17 million gallons of fuel, mostly gasoline, are spilled every year while refueling lawn equipment. Even small spills can contaminate our soil, water and air. And even a few ounces of spilled gasoline may be enough to contaminate a nearby well.
 
A bit more information: Save yourself some time and further reduce the impact on the environment by growing a No Mow Lawn or Habiturf. No Mow lawns are a mix of fescue and can be mowed monthly to form a stand of turf, once a year, or not at all.  Click here for more information.  HabiTurf™ is a mix of native southwestern grasses that tolerate extreme weather and was tested by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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National Potato Day
Whether you prefer them baked, mashed or fried, include them in today’s meal in celebration of National Potato Day. They are the fourth largest food crop in the world.

These nutrient rich vegetables are not only tasty, but high in potassium and calcium. And, if you limit the toppings, you will get all the benefit without added fat, sodium and cholesterol from the potato itself.
 
Harvest a few from the garden. Use a garden fork to carefully lift a few or all the tubers out of the soil. Once the tops are brown and dried, the potatoes have reached full size and should be harvested.
 
Or visit the farmer’s market if you didn’t grow your own. Support your local farmers and enjoy freshly harvested potatoes.
 
And consider adding this vegetable to next year’s garden. They grow great in containers, raised beds and planting bags. All you need is 6 or more hours of sun and well-drained soil.
 
A bit more information: Red, white, blue and yellow describe some of the potatoes you’ll find at the store or can grow in your garden. Use thin skinned round, red and white potatoes for boiling and stewing. New potatoes are freshly harvested, have a sweet flavor and are also good for boiling and stewing. Russets are a favorite for baking and mashing.

For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Plant and Grow a Sound Barrier
Tired of hearing the drone of passing traffic? I have a beautiful and effective solution. Plant a sound barrier of shrubs, trees and evergreens. 

Plants are effective at absorbing the high frequency sounds, the ones that are most annoying to our ears.
 
You’ll need two to three rows of shrubs and trees to be effective. Start with a row of shrubs roadside. Back it with tall trees. Mix in some evergreens for year round screening.  Once the planting is dense enough to screen the view, it will also block much of the sound.
 
Use a mix of plants. This makes it easier to replace any plants that die along the way. Use ornamental grasses or fast growing trees and shrubs as temporary fillers. Remove these as the other plants reach maturity and start to crowd them out.
 
Plant your sound barrier on a berm for greater noise reduction. It will seem about one third as loud.
 
A bit more information: Always match the plant with the growing conditions. Consider using deciduous trees and shrubs with multi-seasonal interest. Look for those with flowers, fruit and fall color. Add in evergreens for a colorful year round backdrop and noise barrier. 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Verticillium Wilt
Sudden wilting and death of individual branches of maples, redbuds and other susceptible trees may mean verticillium wilt has infected the plant. 
 
The dead branches may occur on one side of the tree or be scattered throughout the crown.  Have a professional diagnose the problem since the symptoms can be confused with other disorders.
 
Though verticillium wilt is fatal you can prolong the plant’s life with proper care.
 
Remove grass growing under the tree and replace it with a three inch layer of woodchips or other organic mulch. You’ll remove the competition for water and nutrients, while keeping the roots cool and moist. Water trees thoroughly as needed during dry periods.
 
Prune out dead branches as they occur. Disinfect your tools with a one part bleach and nine parts water solution between cuts to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
 
Do not replace dead trees with wilt-susceptible plants
 
A bit more information: Do not use woodchip or leaf mulch collected from susceptible plants. These are a source of future infection. Do replace infected trees and shrubs with resistant species. Here are a few of the verticillium wilt resistant trees and shrubs to consider: Apples, crabapples, pears, hawthorns, ginkgo, hackberry, honeylocust, katsura tree, birch, beech, oak, azaleas, dogwoods, holly, and flowering quince.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Vote for your Favorite Flower (American Garden Awards)
Be a part of the American Garden Awards and vote for your favorite annual flower now through the end of August.
 
Some of the world’s most prestigious breeders are showing off a few of their best at seventeen highly respected public gardens.
 
These include the Compact Electric orange sunpatiens. Good in sun and shade the vibrant color is a standout in containers or gardens. Cherry Zahara Zinnia is a fast growing, long blooming annual that has good disease resistance and is drought tolerant. Surfinia Summer Double Pink petunia is heat and rain tolerant. And the unique red and white flower pattern of Verbena Lanai Candy Cane inspired this varieties name.
 
Stop by a participating public garden and text or mail in your vote. Or visit http://www.americangardenaward.org to see photos of the entries, find out more about each plant and to cast your vote.
 
A bit more information: Last year’s winner was the Santa Cruz Sunset Begonia. This cascading plant is perfect for hanging baskets, containers or mass plantings. The plentiful scarlet/orange blossoms brighten your garden and the plants are tolerant of full sun and partial shade, heat, drought and rain. For more information on last year’s winners, listen to my Melinda’s Garden Moment audio tip.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Eco-friendly Control of Bagworms
Check your trees and shrubs for clusters of needles or leaves bound by silken threads. These are the homes of bagworms. The worm-like immature stage of these insects feed on over one hundred varieties of plants. Early detection and removal will help limit the damage in an eco-friendly way. 

Fortunately, nature helps keep these pests under control. Birds will feed on the larvae. And the much smaller parasitic wasp and flies also help control these pests. If bagworms are an ongoing problem, consider planting asters and daisies near those plants. The flowers help attract the beneficial insects to the plants and help keep the bagworm populations under control. 
 
Remove the bags when they are found. You’ll have the best results by removing them fall through early spring before eggs hatch. Each bag contains 300 to 1,000 eggs, so a bit of handpicking can have major benefits.
 
A bit more information: Bacillus thuringiensis (kurstaki strain) is a naturally occurring bacterium that only kills leaf and needle eating caterpillars.  It is most effective against the young (1/2 inch or smaller) bagworms.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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National Zucchini Day
Celebrate National Zucchini Day, August 8th, by adding fresh zucchini to your relish tray, frying it with onions as a side or by leaving a few of the baseball bat sized fruit on your neighbor’s front porch.  Just be sure to ring the bell and run.

Zucchini is high in vitamin C and very low in calories. Harvest zucchini when the fruit are 6 to 8 inches long. The rind will be tender, seeds small and flavor at its best. Regular harvesting will keep these plants producing. Use larger fruit for zucchini bread and pancakes.  And try a few blossoms breaded and lightly fried.
 
Don’t worry if you didn’t grow zucchini in this year’s garden. Stop by your local farmer’s market.  You can store unwashed zucchini for up to a week in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. But try to use it within 2 to 3 days for the best flavor. And plan to add zucchini to next year’s garden.
 
A bit more information: Zucchinis are bush-type summer squash. They work well in containers, mixed with other plants or in a more traditional vegetable garden. Try Butter Blossom for maximum flower production. This variety produces lots of firm male flowers perfect for eating. Remove the female flowers to prevent fruiting and increase production of flowers.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Outdoor Vegetable Cleaning Station
Don’t let your garden soil end up in the kitchen. Instead create a produce cleaning station outside near the garden.

You can purchase a harvest basket or make your own. The idea is to rinse your freshly harvested vegetables in the garden instead of the kitchen sink. This way the soil stays in the garden instead of plugging up your plumbing.
 
Keep in mind many fruits and vegetables store best unwashed. So lightly brush the soil off these before storing. Then take them back outside for a shower right before using them.
 
Consider placing your cleaning station near the kitchen door.  Simply replace the bottom of a wooden container with hardware cloth. Secure the cloth to the sides of the wooden crate.
 
Set the vegetables to be cleaned in the container and rinse. Place the crate over the lawn or a plastic container to catch rinse water. Use this to water containers or other garden plants.
 
A bit more information:  Proper care of homegrown or purchased vegetables can improve your enjoyment and increase food safety. Make sure your counters are clean when cutting and preparing food. Wash produce right before use to avoid bacteria that can form on produce in storage. Trim away and compost damaged leaves.  Visit http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09380.html for more tips on handling fresh produce.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Propagate Trees and Shrubs with Semi-Hardwood Cuttings
Expand your collection of trees and shrubs with semi-hardwood cuttings.

Take cuttings when the new growth has started to harden and turn brown. Use sharp pruners to cut 4 to 6 inch pieces from the stem. Remove flowers, seedpods, the lowest leaves and about an inch of bark from the bottom of one side of the cutting. 
 
Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone for woody plants. Place the cuttings in a container filled with a mix of coarse sand and peat moss or a similar mixture.  Space the cuttings so the leaves do not touch. Water thoroughly and cover with plastic to conserve moisture. Place in a shaded location.
 
Roots should begin forming in several weeks. Gently tug on the cutting. If it resists, roots have started to form. Now remove the plastic bag, separate the cuttings and repot into their own individual containers.
 
Harden off rooted cuttings and plant in the garden at the end of the season or next spring.
 
A bit more information:  Abelia, Artemisia, Camellia, Caryopteris, Deutzia, Viburnum, and Weigela are a few of the shrubs that can be propagated this way.  You may choose to leave the rooted cuttings in the container for the first winter or summer after propagating. Those gardening in cold climates will need to provide winter insulation. Simply sink the pot in the ground or move it to an unheated garage. Water whenever the soil is thawed and dry.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Harvest and Enjoy Edamame (Soy)
Get the best flavor and nutritional value from your homegrown edamame, also known as edible soybeans, with proper harvesting and care. Harvest soybeans when the pods are plump, green, rough, and hairy. Check frequently and pick when the seeds are fully enlarged, but before they get hard and begin yellowing. Waiting too long to harvest the seeds reduces the flavor and quality. Since the seed-filled pods usually ripen at the same time, you can pull up the whole plant and harvest the seeds from the pods, while sitting on a chair in the shade. Use them cooked or uncooked as a snack or as a fiber rich ingredient with other vegetables and meat dishes. Many gardeners eat them right out of the pod like peanuts. Boil or steam the pods for 4 to 5 minutes, cool under running water and pop the seeds out of the pods. Use immediately or freeze after cooking. A bit more information: These nutritious legumes help promote overall health, reducing the risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Plus, the high fiber in soy helps fight colon and some other cancers. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Add Color to the Fall Landscape with Asters
Add some color to your fall garden with Asters. Brighten up your container gardens with a few of these fall beauties. Or create fall containers filled with asters, ornamental grasses and pansies. Set them in a pretty pot on your front steps to welcome guests to your home. Or place on decks and tabletops as a seasonal centerpiece. Move them into the garden as they fade. Or add to the compost pile where they can eventually help improve your garden's soil. Use asters to replace fading annuals or fill in voids in your garden. They grow and flower best in full sun with well-drained soil. Asters are hardy in zones 4 to 8, but can be grown as an annual anywhere they are sold. Leave the plants intact for winter to increase overwintering success. Northern gardeners often cover the plants with evergreen boughs or straw once the ground is frozen. A bit more information: The plant taxonomists have been at it again. The plants we commonly call Aster have been reclassified and names for these new groups include Symphyotrichum, Ionactis, Eurybia, and Doellingeria. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Eco-friendly Crabgrass Control
Reduce crabgrass problems in your lawn and garden with a few basic lawn and garden care practices. Crabgrass is an annual weed grass with a small fibrous root system. The wide grass blades lay flat on the ground. Each fall they release hundreds of seeds before dying. Crabgrass thrives in hot dry weather. Reduce the problem in your lawn by mowing high and often. The taller grass shades the soil, preventing many weed seeds from sprouting. Leave clippings on the lawn and fertilize at least once, preferably in the fall, to help your lawn grass outcompete the weeds. Pull the plants in the garden before they set seed. This will reduce the number of weeds you'll be fighting next year. Mulch the garden with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material. The mulch will help prevent many of the weed seeds, including the crabgrass, from sprouting. It also helps keep roots cool and moist. A bit more information: If cultural control measures have failed, you may consider the organic pre-emergent crabgrass killer made from corn gluten meal. Apply in spring about the time the forsythias are in bloom. These chemicals prevent seed germination. This means both the weed and good grass seeds will be affected. Wait until late summer or fall to reseed or overseed treated lawns. And as always be sure to read and follow label directions carefully. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Starting Roses from Seed
Expand your garden and have a little fun by growing a few plants from the seeds of your favorite rose. Collect the rose hips, those berry-like fruit on your roses, as soon as they are fully colored. Cut open the rose hip exposing the seeds. Soak the seeds 12 to 24 hours, drain and mix with equal parts of moistened sphagnum moss and vermiculite in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least three months. You can begin planting the seeds anytime after the chilling period is complete. Plant seeds in a container filled with a mixture of sphagnum moss and vermiculite. Keep the mixture warm and moist. Move to a sunny window or under artificial lights as soon as the seeds sprout. Then transplant seedlings, if needed, after they form two sets of true leaves. Just remember seedlings may not look like the original plant. A bit more information: You can also start new roses from cuttings. Take a 6 to 8 inch cutting from a healthy stem. Remove any flowers and buds. Dip in a rooting hormone and plant in a well-drained potting mix. You'll have roots in about 3 weeks. Keep in mind you cannot propagate patented roses. These rights belong to the breeders that introduced the plant. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Fall Webworm
As you drive through your community in late summer or fall you may spot webby nests in the branches of apple, ash, birch, cherry, sycamore, walnut and willow. These are the home of the North American native fall webworm. This pest attacks more than 100 species of deciduous, those that lose their leaves in winter, trees and shrubs. The pest is a green and yellow caterpillar that spins its nest near the ends of the branch. These worm-like insects eat the leaves on the branches near their webby nest. Fortunately this is a cosmetic problem since it occurs late in the season and only a few branches are affected. Keep your plants healthy and they'll be better able to tolerate the feeding. Several natural predators and parasitoids help keep the populations in check. You can knock the nest out of the tree with a stick or a strong blast of water if desired. A bit more information: An organic insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), is effective against young caterpillars. Apply it to the leaves surrounding the webby nest early in the season. As the webworms eat the treated leaves they stop feeding and eventually die. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Dividing Spring and Summer Blooming Perennials
Late summer through early fall is a great time to dig and divide overgrown spring and summer blooming perennials. The soil is warm, air much cooler and the plants will have time to adjust to their new location before winter. Dig and divide plants that have stopped blooming, flopped over, or have a dead center. Use a sharp spade shovel or garden fork to dig up the plant. Cut the clump into 2, 4 or more pieces. Remove the dead center and add it to the compost pile. Some gardeners use two garden forks back to back to pry the clump apart. I prefer a sharp linoleum knife or drywall saw. Though some fleshy rooted plants like daylilies and willow amsonia may require a hatchet or machete. You can replant one piece back in the original location after amending the soil with compost. Use other divisions in other areas or share with friends. A bit more information: The old adage "Divide spring blooming perennials in fall, fall blooming perennials in spring and summer blooming perennials in spring or fall" is a good guideline. But experienced gardeners have all stretched these limits. Sometimes necessity and your schedule determine when you divide perennials. Proper post-transplant care will give your plants the best chance of survival no matter when you divide them. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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National Acorn Squash Day
Bake it, broil it, microwave it or stuff it– acorn squash that is. And if you didn't grow your own, visit the Farmer's Market and buy it. Acorn squash is typically acorn shaped, dark green with longitudinal ridges. They are ripe when the fruit is a solid deep green and the rind is hard. Use a knife or pruners to remove the fruit from the vine. Leave an inch or two of stem attached to the fruit, if possible, for better storage longevity. And be sure to use any blemished or frost damaged fruit as soon as possible. Store this and other winter squash in a cool, preferably 50 to 55 degree, dry location. Place the fruit in a single layer spread out to avoid fruit from touching. The better the air circulation the greater the storage longevity and less likely one rotten squash will affect its neighbors. If space is limited, don't pile more than two high. A bit more information: September 7th is National Acorn Squash Day. This member of the squash family contains vitamins C, B6, A, thiamine and more. You'll get the best nutritional value and flavor by harvesting it at its peak. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Bluestem Goldenrod
Add some bright yellow to your late summer and fall garden with Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia). This plant is also known as wreath goldenrod and naturally grows in open woodlands and bluffs. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8 and is native to 32 states in the continental U.S. and 3 Canadian provinces. Bluestem goldenrod grows about 18 to 36 inches tall and wide and works well in native gardens, woodland gardens, borders, meadows, cottage gardens and more. The cluster of bright yellow flowers occur along the stem and attract butterflies and other beneficial insects to your garden. Grow the plant in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. Bluestem goldenrod tolerates clay soil and once established, it is drought tolerant. This fall bloomer is basically pest-free and the deer tend to leave it be. A bit more information: Fireworks goldenrod (Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks') is a popular ornamental cultivar. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8 and grows best in full sun with moist to wet, well-drained soil. The plume-like flowers that top this 2 ½ to 3 feet high plant resemble fireworks. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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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
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