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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here's Something You Won't See Every Day
Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan gave the world a little gift yesterday on Live with Kelly and Michael.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, in a onesie, singing "Here Comes Santa Claus," doing a passable impression of Elvis Presley.
Definitely not something you'll see every day.
Unless of course you save this clip.
Then you can!
The Con is On
A trailer was released this week for Will Smith's new movie, Focus, due out in February.
He plays a veteran con man who takes a recruit under his wing, and falls for her romantically in the process.
It's a comedy and a drama all rolled into one
Good to see some old TV faces in the trailer - Gerald McRaney and BD Wong among them.
So This is a Christmas Tree?
Rihanna posted some pix to Instagram to show off her Christmas tree for this year.
Call me silly, but I see five sparkly pyramids piled on top of each other, sitting in a corner.
The stocking leaning against it doesn't reallly make it a Christmas tree.
I don't know - is it just me?
A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Dec 12, 2014 at 3:59pm PST
Now You Can Stay Home & Watch "The Interview"
Sony Pictures announced yesterday that they're making their controversial film, The Interview, available across the Internet today.
The movie, in case you're interested, will stream between 10 AM Pacific Time and 1 PM Eastern Time on Christmas Day, on platforms like Google Play, YouTube Movies, Xbox Video, and SeeTheInterview.com. You can rent the movie for $5.99, or buy the HD for $14.99.
Sony's official word is that it was always their plan to release the film on a national platform.
And here it is.
But only if you're American.
Seth Rogen apologizes for that.
CANADIANS! Sincere apologies but #TheInterview is not available 4 u 2 download yet BUT will be soon. We are working on it!
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) December 24, 2014
Will You Spend Your Christmas with "The Interview"?
It looks like you'll be able to see The Interview after all.
It's the Seth Rogen/ James Franco movie that Sony decided not to release because movie theater chains wouldn't play it because of threats from the Sony hackers.
Now, some independent movie theaters will run it.
Sony released a statement. "We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we're excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience."
They're also talking about a video-on-demand release for the movie.
Seth Rogen, who also wrote the movie, is delighted.
The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day!
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) December 23, 2014
The History of Tracking Santa
Most folks know about the offical Santa Tracker courtesy of the North American Aerospace Defense Command - aka, NORAD.
On Christmas Eve, all you have to do is log on to NORAD Tracks Santa, and they'll tell you where the Jolly Old Elf can be found.
The tradition began quite by accident back in 1955, when Sears published an ad that told kids to call Santa at ME2-6681 (back then, the first two characters in a phone number were letters for the phone exchange).
"Call me on my private phone, and I will talk to you personally, any time, day or night, or come visit me at Sears Toyland," read the ad. It showed a drawing of Santa, and the phone number.
Turns out that phone number belonged to Continental Air Defense Command (the precursor to NORAD) and it was the hotline, known only to two people.
The United States was in the middle of the Cold War, so when the hotline rang, the commander was expecting the worse when he answered the phone.
Imagine his surprise when a little boy said, "Is this Santa Claus?"
The phone calls kept coming, and the commander put some airmen on the phones to play Santa Claus.
From there, the tradition grew.
And if you want to call NORAD to find out what's going on with Santa's progress tonight, dial 1-877-HI-NORAD.
Reporter Gets a Little Too Close to His Story
The subject matter isn't funny.
But the results are hilarious.
BBC reporter Quentin Somerville was covering a drug seizure in Afghanistan, and reporting on the burning of eight-and-a-half tons of heroin, opium and hashish.
Looks like he got a little too close to the inferno.
Check out the video - and see if you can avoid laughing...
Happy Holidays: Oakland Raider Comes Up Huge for Little Girl
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports has a program called Touchdown Dreams where he uses his contacts in the NFL to help brighten the lives of kids struggling with life-threatening illnesses.
Over the weekend, he helped arrange a visit for 4-year-old Ava Urrea with the Oakland Raiders.
The greeted her with signed helmets and footballs, and made her the team's captain for the day.
But one player - offensive lineman Menelik Watson - did all that one better.
He handed his game check to Ava's dad, and told him that he wanted to be sure that Ava had the best holidays ever.
According to those who know, that's more than $36,000.
An amazing story...
Amy Adams Hacked from Today Show
Amy Adams was supposed to appear on The Today Show to promote her soon-to-be-released film, Big Eyes.
But she reportedly told the show's producers that she didn't want to talk about the hack of Sony Pictures, because she didn't want to contribute to the media coverage of the event.
Her name is one of many that came out of the hack, specifically about how she was paid less than Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper to do American Hustle.
And because of that, The Today Show cancelled her appearance.
They issued a statement to set things straight. "As a news program, the Today show doesn't allow guests to put restrictions on interviews. In this case, after hours of discussion we felt uncomfortable with the demands being made and we determined the best course of action for all parties involved was to cancel the interview. "
Isn't that cute?
The Today Show thinks it's a "news program."
Maybe Meryl's Invisible on Instagram
Ellen Degeneres had the ladies from Into The Woods - Emily Blount, Anna Kendrick and Meryl Streep - on her show the other day.
Ellen took the moment to grab a picture for Instagram.
"I brought my phone out because the selfie that we took at the Oscars, the whole idea was I was going to get a selfie with Meryl and everyone else jumped in," Ellen told eonline.com. "Meryl was hardly in the selfie."
You'll remember that picture (it's at the bottom). It caused Instagram to crash for a bit.
Anyway, the Into The Woods selfie didn't exactly have the desired effect. You can see even LESS of Meryl than you could in the first one.
I guess Ellen will just have to keep trying.
I got to take another selfie with Meryl. You can’t see her very well in my Oscar selfie. This went much better.
A photo posted by Ellen (@theellenshow) on Dec 12, 2014 at 2:04pm PST
Who likes a selfie during Oscars? Apparently... everyone does #oscars
A photo posted by Ellen Degeneres (@_ellendegeneres_) on Mar 3, 2014 at 8:37pm PST
Happy Holidays: Hells Angels to the Top of the Nice List
What a warm feeling.
The video is from the beginning of the month, when some members of the local Hells Angels club visited the Wal-Mart in Fresno, California to buy up some bikes on sale for their annual toy drive to help the Poverello House.
The Poverello House is a local non-profit, dedicated to helping the homeless and needy.
Great lesson in not judging a book by its cover.
Bang the Drum, Craig Ferguson
On Friday night, two late night talk hosts signed off - Stephen Colber wrapped up The Colbert Report to prepare for taking over David Letterman's show when David retires in May.
The other was Craig Feguson, who's ably helmed The Late Late Show, with Letterman's show as a lead-in.
No word - yet - where Craig is headed.
But like Colbert, he decided on a musical send-off.
Singing "Bang the Drum" by Dead Man Fall, a Scottish band from Craig's home town, Craig was joined on percussion by some of his favorite guests.
Check it out as we wish him a bon voyage as well...
It's a two-parter, so be sure to check each of them!
Hey, Cardinals, Let's Talk "Spiritual Alzheimer's"
Yesterday, Pope Francis issued what you might call a State of the Vatican address in front of the Curia - the bureaucrats of the Vatican, the cardinals, bishops and priests who help him run the Roman Catholic Church.
It was his Christmas message to his employees, basically, and it did not resemble a Rockwell painting.
According to CBSNews.com, the Pope said that some:
"lust for power at all costs"
"live hypocritical double lives;" and
"suffer from 'spiritual Alzheimer's' that has made them forget they're supposed to be joyful men of God"
In all, 15 "sins of the Curia" that the pope would like to see fixed in 2015.
If you got a Dunkin' Donuts gift card from your boss, be happy, folks!
Peace on Earth - But Not in the Geekdom
What you're about to see isn't real - yet - but what if it were.
A mash-up artist named Alex Luthor has taken characters from the Marvel universe and put them in the same universe as the characters from DC Comics.
Superman versus Thor. Batman versus Captain America and/or Iron Man. And more.
You get the gist.
What follows is mayhem - and a shot of "Hallelujah!" from geeks around the world
Who needs mistletoe when you've got Alex Luthor kissing one and all smack on the lips?
Rest Well, Joe Cocker
Joe Cocker, singer, musician, passed away yesterday at the age of 70.
His performance style was quirky to say the least, and he certainly left his mark on the music industry.
In 1983, he won a Grammy for his duet with Jennifer Warrens, "Up Where We Belong."
But in 1976, he did a very different sort of duet - sort of a duet of one - with John Belushi on Saturday Night Live.
At the time, some said that Belushi out-Cockered Cocker. He sure had his movements down.
Check it out, as we mark Joe's passing.
Legit, or Stunt?
Here's a chance for you to be the judge.
The Oxygen Network was in Houston recently auditioning for its show, Bad Girls Club.
While women waited in line to be seen, another woman was in a conversation with a police officer who had just put a traffic boot on the driver-side rear tire of her new BMW X5.
It's not really clear why the boot was put in place, or if the woman was there auditioning.
What is clear is that she didn't want to be booted.
So she drove off with the boot in place.
Clearly, it's not the proper size boot for that car, as the wheel is able to rotate almost freely.
And as she drove off to the cheers of the folks in line, the boot actually fell off.
Watch the video - the wind sounds on it can't be avoided.
Then weigh in. What do you think?
Legitimate circumstances, or a stunt staged by the producers of the show so they've got something to show for their time in Houston?
And the Newest Kardashian is...
Kourtney Kardashian gave birth to her third child, again sired by her boyfriend Scott Disick.
That happened last week, on December 14, on her firstborn son's 5th birthday.
Over the weekend, the happy couple announced the baby boy's name.
Joining brother Mason and sister Penelope is...
Well, read the Instagram post. I mean, that's how we ALL keep up with the Kardashians, isn't it?
Madly in love with my little Reign Aston Disick.
A photo posted by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on Dec 12, 2014 at 8:36am PST
Happy Holidays: All I Want for Christmas Done Right
After all the buzz about Mariah Carey's troubles with singing "All I Want for Christmas" at the Rockerfeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony, here's a chance to see and hear it done right.
The group is Out of the Blue - the a cappella singers from Oxford University in England.
And, not only is it a good arrangement, the group is selling the single to raise money for the Helen & Douglas House, which provides hospice care for children in the United Kingdom.
Good to Have Support on the Home Front
Gisele Bunchen - aka Mrs. Tom Brady - posted another cute picture to Instagram yesterday, moments after her husband's team clinched a day off in the first-round of the NFL playoffs by beating the New York Jets.
It wasn't a pretty victory, or an easy one either, with the Patriots limping out of the Meadowlands with a 17-16 win.
Still, it was a win, and good enough for Gisele to hoist her daughter to her shoulder and post a picture of it to Instagram.
File this one under #godaddy!
And be sure to check out the look on the face of the dog - almost like he's saying, "Again?"
Yeeeeaaaaahh! #godaddy #gopats ❤️❤️❤️❤️
A photo posted by Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:07pm PST
Cold Open, Cold Shoulder
If this weekend's cold open of Saturday Night Live is any indication, there could be some life left in the old dog afterwards.
It started with a spoof of Sam Smith, the automaton with the fantastic voice, promoting his new special, A Very Somber Christmas.
Suddenly, the "broadcast" was hijacked by none other than Doctor Evil - that would be one of Mike Myers' characters from the Austin Powers films.
Doctor Evil took issue with North Korea and Sony Pictures for giving "evil organizations a bad name."
Funny stuff - and biting satire as well.
Fare Thee Well, Colbert! See You in May!
On Friday night, Stephen Colbert was one of two late night comics to say farewell to the shows and audiences who'd grown to love them.
(The other was Craig Ferguson on CBS's Late Late Show. More on him tomorrow.)
But first, Colbert wrapped up The Colbert Report on Comedy Central in an interesting way.
By turning it into a musical, sort of, with an amazing hodgepodge of singers. Starting with Jon Stewart from CC's The Daily Show, the seemingly endless list of guests included Big Bird and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, former president Bill Clinton, an astronaut from the International Space Station, Barry Manilow (who was misidentified initially by another reporter as Rod Stewart) and more. Dozens, maybe even hundreds of folks, all singing "We'll Meet Again."
Check it out - and be sure to keep watching when it appears to be over.
Stephen will be back in May, when he jumps into David Letterman's seat on CBS's Late Show.
Most Ridiculous Man of the Year
Here's a late-comer for the Most Ridiculous Man of the Year award.
A professional makeup artist in Manchester, England has reportedly spent about $150,000 for plastic surgery and more to look like his favorite reality TV star.
He's had lip fillers, laser hair removal and eyebrows tatooed on.
Take a look at the picture to see the results. And no, it is NOT Halloween.
Sooo, someone actually dropped $150,000 on plastic surgery to look like Kim Kardashian! See for yourself: http://t.co/6eSkniAajM
— Us Weekly (@usweekly) December 18, 2014
And he doesn't care what he looks like, according to The Sun, London's daily newspaper. "My look is all about the shock factor. I love all the attention and stares I get in the street. I welcome the hate — it just means more attention. And if anything, it just spurs me on to get more work done."
Good money chasing bad, folks. Especially since the guy looks more like the Octomom than the NorthWestmom.
Please Define "Top"
Scratching my head just a little.
US Magazine put out a list yesterday of the Top 14 Celebrity Instagram Photos of 2014.
Six of the 14 involve the Kardashians in some way - by that calculation, they're taking up 43% of the internet, which sounds right and wrong all at the same time.
The rest of the list:
Jessica Simpson in a bathing suit holding a golf club
Macauley Culkin wearing a T-shirt with Ryan Gosling on it
Jessa Duggar's wedding kiss
Taylor Swift's 4th of July party
Nick & Vanessa Lachey's pregnancy announcement
Lauren Conrad's haircut
Bethenny Frankel wearing her 4-year-old's Hello Kitty PJs
The only one that really belongs - or at least makes some sense in being relevant - is the post Diem Brown's boyfriend put up after her passing, expressing his grief.
You have always been My Angel. And now you have your wings. We've been thru so much over the years. Thru the ups and downs we somehow managed to keep our promise. We never gave up on each other. Our plan to be together forever hasn't changed... it's just going to take a little longer now. And I'm going to hold onto this ring for you till we are together again. So don't worry mama, I'm not afraid. I know you will always be with me to give me your strength. You are The Love of My Life. My reason to be a better man. I Love You Always and Forever
A photo posted by CT (@theofficial_ct) on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:50am PST
It's the Most Wonderful Prank of the Year
Jimmy Kimmel and his wife have a holiday tradition - well, sort of a tradition - with acting couple John Krasinski (from The Office) and Emily Blunt (most recently from Into The Woods).
They live across the street from one another, and for Christmas, they play pranks on each other.
This has been going on for a couple of years, and each year, the pranks get bigger and more out of control.
Watch the clip to see what Jimmy did to them last year - the thing he thought would bring the prank-feud to a conclusion.
And then watch to see watch Emily and John did to raise the bar considerably higher this year.
Nice to have that kind of money to throw away, but it is sort of fun to watch.
"Governor, This Is Barack Obama..."
What a fun moment.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made his final appearance on Boston Public Radio yesterday, and got a very interesting phone call as part of his farewell.
President Barack Obama called in, identifying himself as a former resident of Somerville, a suburb of Boston.
The president spent some time in the state while a student at Harvard, and he's got a good relationship with the outgoing governor.
So why not call in?
Watch the video of the call. Seems legit to me.