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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 November 2013


Balsam Fir Christmas Tree
The smell of a freshly cut balsam fir is a fragrant part of many holiday celebrations.

The resin blisters on this fir give it the distinct fragrance and the resin inside has quite an interesting history. It was once used to mount thin specimens on microscope slides. It was also sold in confectionary stores as a precursor to chewing gum.
 
Civil War soldiers used a resin balm to treat wounds and resin knots as torches.
 
And still today you may find people stuffing pillows with the aromatic needles. Today it is used as a festive touch to the holidays, in the past the “pine pillows” were used as a deodorant.
 
This evergreen thrives in cooler climates and prefers moist slightly acidic soil and humid conditions. So if your landscape lacks these conditions, enjoy your balsam fir for the holidays and look for a more suitable evergreen for your backyard.
 
A bit more information: As you hike through native stands of balsam you may find wildlife like moose and deer munching on the needles and chickadees, squirrels and porcupines eating the seeds. And others find cover under the fragrant branches.
 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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The Ash Tree – November 22 – December 1 Birth Tree
If your birthday falls between November 22nd and December 1st your birth tree is an ash. You are said to be uncommonly attractive, very reliable and trustworthy.

The native white and green ash trees have long been an important part of native forests, urban landscapes and the lumber industry. The wood is used for sporting goods like bats and oars as well as furniture and flooring.
 
Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has found its way to North America and killed many native and urban ash trees. The adult beetle is metallic emerald green and feeds on the leaves. The immature worm-like larvae are the real troublemakers. They feed under the bark preventing the flow of water and nutrients between the roots and leaves. This eventually kills the plant.
 
Visit www.emeraldashborer.info to find out more about this pest.
 
A bit more information: You can help prevent and reduce the spread of this and other invasive insects. Don’t move firewood; instead buy it at your destination. Visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info for more tips on managing firewood, woodchips and other wood products. And look for local arborists, wood workers and communities converting EAB infested wood into pest-free bats, bowls and more.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Winter Care for Unplanted Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
Fall plant sales and all those tempting new varieties have many of us buying more plants than we have time or space to plant.  Protect them over the winter and reduce your workload by heeling them in until you have time to find a permanent spot in your garden.

Look for vacant spaces and sheltered areas in your landscape. An annual flower or vegetable garden, newly established planting bed or one earmarked for renovation work great.
 
Dig a trench deep enough to cover the whole pot.  Set the plants pot to pot inside the trench. Cover with soil and water thoroughly to remove air pockets and moisten the roots. Water as needed throughout the winter.
 
Add an extra layer of insulation with mulch. Cover the soil surface with several inches of woodchips or shredded bark. This helps conserve moisture and protects the plants from our often fluctuating winter temperatures.

A bit more information: No vacant space in the garden? Group plants together in a sheltered location. Cover the pots with woodchips or other material to insulate the roots and conserve moisture. Those in colder climates can move plants into an unheated garage for winter. Be sure to water thoroughly whenever the soil is dry.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Encourage African Violet Bloom
African violets are a favorite indoor flowering plant. Your mother or grandmother may have had windowsills filled with these flowering beauties. But getting them and keeping them blooming is not as easy as grandma made it seem.
 
Insufficient sunlight is the most common cause of poor flowering. Grow African violets in a warm location in front of a sunny window or under artificial lights. Avoid the intense mid-day sun if plants begin looking stressed. You will need a combination of natural and artificial light, a set of cool and warm fluorescent lights, grow lights or full spectrum lights to encourage flowering.
 
Allow the plants to become slightly potbound and fertilize with an African violet or flowering houseplant fertilizer. Water often enough to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Use room temperature water and a gravel filled saucer to capture excess water. As this water evaporates it will increase the humidity around the plant.
 
A bit more information:  Do not use softened or highly chlorinated water. Both can cause browning of the leaves. Remove any salt buildup, the white crusty substance, which accumulates on the lip of the container. This can damage leaves and leaf stems, petioles, which come in contact with it.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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November 12 - 21 Birth Tree: The Chestnut
If you were born between November 12th and the 21st, your birth tree is the Chestnut.
 
It is an impressive tree that grew to heights of 100 feet tall and represents honesty. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) is native from Southern Maine to Michigan and south to Alabama and Mississippi. It is the tree of holiday songs, you know, “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”. 
 
Unfortunately chestnut blight killed most of the native stands of chestnuts. Root sprouts from blighted trees may grow to 20 feet tall and a few isolated trees remain.  The American Chestnut Foundation is working to reestablish the chestnut. In 2005 they harvested what they hope will be the first blight resistant American Chestnut trees. They hope to reintroduce chestnuts to benefit wildlife and the environment.
 
The Chinese chestnut is similar and also produces edible nuts. These plants aren’t immune, but are resistant to Chestnut blight.
 
A bit more information:  A gift membership to the American Chestnut Foundation may make a great birthday gift for family and friends with a chestnut birth tree. The recipient will receive information on chestnut tree research, receive blight resistant seeds and know that they are supporting the reintroduction of their birth tree.

For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Growing Orchids Indoors
 
Add exotic long lasting blooms to your indoor garden with the help of orchids. They’re much easier to grow than you think.
 
Orchid care varies a bit with the type of orchid you are growing.  But here are some general guidelines to get you started.  Grow your orchid in a sunny window. Don’t let the leaves touch cold windows and never trap the plant between curtains and the window in winter. 
 
Keep the soil evenly moist, but not too wet. City tap water is fine, but avoid softened water that can damage the plants.  Fertilize actively growing plants when the soil is moist.  Use a dilute solution of a complete fertilizer such as a 20-20-20 labeled for use on orchids or flowering houseplants.  Avoid excess fertilization that can cause damaged black root tips, green floppy growth, and no flowers. Most orchids prefer daytime temperatures around 70 and cooler at night.
 
A bit more information:  For more detailed information and culture sheets on yours and other orchids visit the American Orchid Society website
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For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Bulb Forcing Project for all Ages and Experience
No matter your age or gardening experience - you can have a bit of fun growing your own mini bulb garden indoors. 
 
All you need is a small container with drainage holes, potting mix and a few bulbs. Short daffodils and tulips, crocus, squills or grape hyacinths work well.
 
Cover the bottom of the container with soil.  Set several bulbs, pointed side up, on top of the potting mix. Pack them in tight for an eye-catching display.  Cover the bulbs and fill the container with potting mix.
 
Now sprinkle some grass seed over the surface and lightly rake with your fingers.  Water thoroughly.
 
Set the planted container in your fridge for its 3 month chill. Make sure the soil stays slightly moist, but not soggy wet.  Bring the container out of cold storage, anytime after the 3 month chill. Move it to a cool sunny location in your home and watch the beauty unfold.
 
A bit more information:  Keep your bulbs away from apples and pears when chilling in the refrigerator. These fruits give off ethylene gas, a natural hormone that does not harm people, but can hasten ripening and interfere with flowering when susceptible fruits, veggies and flowers are stored in the same refrigerator compartment.
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For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Scale Insects on Weeping Figs (Ficus benjamina)
Falling leaves on weeping figs is common with a change of season. It’s also a common response to insect feeding. 

Take a close look at the leaves and stems of your ailing weeping fig. If you find a clear sticky substance, your plant is being attacked by one of several insects.
 
Examine the stems, undersides of the leaves and the place where the leaf stem, petiole, joins the plant stem. Check for brown bumps that can be scraped off with your finger. These are adult scale insects, a common pest of weeping figs grown indoors. Gently scrape off the scale using your fingernail or an old toothbrush. Then spray the plants with insecticidal soap or Neem to kill the translucent immature scale that are sure to be present. Continue the treatment once a week or so until the scale are no longer present.
 
Persistence is the key to successfully controlling this pest.
 
A bit more information: Aphids and mites also secrete honeydew, but are less common problems on weeping figs. Dislodge small populations with a strong blast of water. Make several applications, one week apart, of insectidical soap or Neem if needed to control these pests.
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For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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National Sweet Potato Awareness Month
Celebrate National Sweet Potato Awareness month by including these tasty and nutritious vegetables as a main course, appetizer or side in your meals.
 
Sweet potatoes, also known as kumara have long been an important food crop in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. You’ll also find the golden skinned sweet potatoes labeled as yams in many locations. True yams are starchy, drier and less sweet. They have a tough black skin with white, purple or reddish flesh.
 
The true sweet potato is a relative of the morning glory. Those with golden skin and creamy flesh have a crumbly texture. The orange-fleshed varieties are soft, sweeter and higher in Vitamin A.
 
Don’t store your sweet potatoes in the fridge – you’ll reduce their sweet flavor. Instead, store them in the pantry with your baking potatoes. Extend their storage life to a month by keeping them in a cool dry location, like your basement.
 
A bit more information: For more ideas on growing, using and the nutritional value of sweet potatoes listen to these Melinda’s Garden Moment segments: Growing Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes Tasty and Nutritious.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Take a Pass on the Tree Trunk Wrap
Skip the tree trunk wrap when planting and caring for your trees.
 
Research has shown that tree wraps are not effective at preventing sunscald, frost cracks or insect and animal damage. Some insects actually prefer the shelter of the wraps and many animals chew right through.  Plus, scientists found greater temperature fluctuations when certain wraps were used. These changes in temperature can contribute to frost cracks.
Protect your trees from animal damage with a fence of hardware cloth.  Create a protective cylinder at least 4 feet high around the tree. Sink the bottom few inches into the soil to keep out the voles.
 
Reduce the risk of frost cracks and sunscald with proper planting, pruning, and care. Plant trees with the rootflare at or slightly above the soil surface.  Water thoroughly as needed and don’t pile mulch over the base of the trunk. And when pruning, be sure to make cuts flush to the branch bark collar not the trunk of the tree. 
 
A bit more information: If you decide to wrap your tree, apply it in fall and remove it each spring. Wrapping the trunks year round or for more than 2 years can actually increase the risk of damage.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Chrysanthemum (Mum) November Birth Flower
Born in November your birth flower is the chrysanthemum often called mum. This fall beauty symbolizes cheerfulness, optimism and friendship.
 
The word chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words chrysos meaning gold and anthemon meaning flower. But this popular cut, holiday and garden flower comes in many more colors. And the flower shapes vary from small button mums to daisy shaped to the large pompom chrysanthemums and more.
 
Grow your own mums in the garden or add a few container plantings to your fall landscape display.  And pick a few blossoms to enjoy indoors. Harvest them early in the day and just as they’re starting to open for the longest-lasting cut flower display.
 
Or stop by your nearby florist and purchase a potted plant or a few flowering stems. The variety of flower shapes and long-lasting vase life have made them one of the most popular florist flowers, second only to roses.
 
A bit more information: So celebrate yours or someone else’s November birthday with a bouquet of mums.  And when you grow potted mums indoors, you’ll help improve the indoor air pollution in your home.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Croton Add Fall Color Indoors
Bring a little fall color indoors with the help of the tropical plant known as Croton.

The colorful leaves may be a combination of green, red, yellow, orange and purple. The leaf shapes can vary adding to its ornamental appeal. The colorful leaves can be broad or narrow, shaped like an oak leaf, twisted like a corkscrew, or somewhat pinched in the middle.
 
Grow crotons in a warm bright location free from drafts of hot and cold air. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist during the summer months. Cut back on watering slightly during the winter as growth begins to slow. 
 
Only fertilize actively growing plants with a dilute solution of houseplant fertilizer. Avoid cold temperatures, droughty conditions and drafts that can cause leaf drop. Just correct the problem and wait for new leaves to appear.
 
Start new plants from cuttings to expand your indoor garden or share with friends.
 
A bit more information: Add a little fall flare to your indoor garden with the help of flowering potted plants. Combine small potted mums and foliage plants in a decorative basket or sink a small pot into a large planter.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Prepare for Winter Bird Feeding
 
Fall is a great time to prepare for the winter bird feeding season. A bit of house cleaning will help attract more birds and keep your winged visitors healthy.

Clean feeders regularly throughout the season. This helps reduce the risk of disease caused by bacteria and other disease-causing organisms that can develop in dirty birdfeeders.
 
Wear rubber gloves to protect yourself and use a stiff bottlebrush or old toothbrush to clean those hard to reach places. Use a one-part bleach and nine-part water solution, commercial birdfeeder cleaner or a mild solution of unscented dishwashing soap.
 
Wash the inside and outside of the feeder, perches and feeding ports. Once cleaned, rinse and dry before refilling
 
And don’t forget to clean the area around the feeder. Remove any damp and rotten seed and fruit birds may have dropped.  Then finish it off by adding a fresh layer of mulch to cover the droppings.
 
A bit more information:  Monitor your landscape for bird-friendly plants. Look for trees, shrubs and perennials that provide food and evergreens that provide shelter. Plan to add a few more along with feeders for future seasons.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Dragon and Damselflies – Nature’s Prehistoric Insect Hunters
Attract a few of nature's prehistoric insect hunters, the dragonflies and damselflies, to your garden. You'll enjoy their beauty, acrobatics and fewer insects thanks to their eating habits. Dragonflies and damselflies eat mosquitoes, flies, gnats and other insects. A few strategic plantings and a water feature can help you attract them to your landscape. If you have a nearby population of these beneficial insects, it will be easier to get a population started in your own yard. Add a water feature with varying depths to provide a variety of plants these insects need to live and multiply. The immature nymphs live in the water. They need the habitat provided by plants growing in at least 2 feet of water. Plus, this depth protects them from predators like raccoons. The adults need reeds and other plants that grow in shallow water for laying their eggs. A bit more information: Add a few shrubs around your water feature. These plants provide perches for the adults, giving them a great vantage point for hunting other insects. For more information on attracting these insects into your landscape, visit: http://www.nwf.org/How-to-Help/Garden-for-Wildlife/Gardening-Tips/Attracting-Dragonflies.aspx http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/uniramia/odonatoida.html For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Late Season Bloom, Moisture Tolerant Turtlehead
Add some late season color to your garden with the versatile turtlehead perennial plant. A close look at the flowers will reveal the source of its common name. The clasping petals look like a turtle's head. The botanical name Chelone comes from Greek mythology. A nymph named Chelone insulted the gods and was turned into a turtle. These North American natives typically grow along stream banks, in bogs or moist woods. You can find cultivated varieties such as Hot Lips and Black Ace at some garden centers and nurseries. Use turtleheads in rain gardens, moist areas and for added late summer through fall color. The deer tend to leave these alone, but the butterflies find them attractive. Plants grow in full sun to shade, moist soil and are hardy in zones 3 to 8 or 9, depending on the variety. Plants growing in shade may need some staking or strong upright neighboring plants for support. A bit more information: Hot Lips turtlehead has rosey-pink flowers and dark green leaves that have a bronze tinge as they emerge in spring. Black Ace has a blackish tint to the leaves and white flowers. Click here for more information. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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You Can Plant Cucumbers Next to Pumpkins
The old adage "don't plant your cucumbers next to your pumpkins" is not true. You can plant pumpkins next to other squash, melons and cucumbers. When we purchase and plant a seed of one of these tasty vegetables; that seed grows into fruit we desire. If the bees carry pollen from one plant to another, cross-pollination can occur. This affects the seeds, not the fruit you'll eat. If you save the seed from these plants and use them in next year's garden, you may be in for a surprise. The offspring might be a yellow and green acorn squash, yellow spotted zucchini or pumpkin with green warts. And even if you didn't save and plant seeds, you may find a few surprises in the compost pile or garden. Cross-pollinated fruit added to the compost pile or allowed to decompose in the garden leaves a few cross-pollinated seeds behind. A bit more information: Cross pollination occurs within close members of this family. The female flower of the plant will only accept pollen from closely-related members. So a squash and cucumber cannot cross pollinate. But an acorn squash can cross with the more closely related zucchini or gourd. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Disease Resistant Major Wheeler Red Honeysuckle Vine
Add a spot of red to the garden and help bring in the hummingbirds. Major Wheeler honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler') is a cultivar of the North American native honeysuckle vine. It has been called the best red by many growers and is resistant to powdery mildew. Gardeners and growers report clean, mildew-free leaves even when plants are overcrowded or growing in droughty conditions. The red flowers appear in late spring and repeat throughout the summer. Remove the first set of blooms as they fade to increase the intensity of summer blooms. Grow this twining vine up a trellis, over an arbor, on a fence or climbing over a rock wall. The stems grow 3 to 8 feet long. And the plant is hardy in zones 4 to 8. You'll have the best results growing this plant in full sun and moist well-drained soil. It is heat and drought tolerant once established and will tolerate a bit of light shade. A bit more information: Try growing this and other vines in a container. It is a great way to add vertical interest to your container garden or a colorful accent on a patio or deck. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Build a Bee House
Convert scrap lumber into homes for native bees to raise their young. Native bees are important pollinators needed for plants to produce fruits, seeds and berries. Planting native flowers such as asters and beebalm and trees like lindens will provide food to help attract bees to your landscape and keep them healthy. Providing housing will also help attract these visitors to your garden. Drill holes into, but not through, any size block of untreated wood. The holes should be about 3 to 5 inches deep and 5/16th an inch in diameter for Mason bees. Insert straws into each hole to make cleaning easier. Paper straws are good for nesting but glass or plastic reduce the risk of mold formation. Mount the bee house on the south side of a fence or building. Keep your bees safe by eliminating the use of pesticides on or near the bee house. Better yet, use bee-safe insect control methods in your garden and landscape. A bit more information: No construction skills? Don't worry - you can use hollow stemmed grasses and reeds as the nesting cavities. Place these in a bucket or bundle them together to create a bee house. Click here for more information on building bee houses. . For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Blossom Drop and Fruit Rot on Vegetables
Don't let blossom drop and fruit rot reduce this season's harvest. A few adjustments in your garden care can help reduce the risk. Many vegetables will drop their blossoms when temperatures and soil moisture fluctuate. Extreme heat and cold nights can cause peppers to drop their blossoms and tomatoes to stop producing. Use floating row covers to keep things warm on cool nights or during heat waves wait for cooler temperatures for the fruit to form. Be sure to water thoroughly to encourage deep drought-tolerant roots. Mulch with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic matter to keeps roots cool and evenly moist. Even soil moisture also insures the uptake of critical nutrients. A lack of calcium can cause blossom end rot on tomatoes and other fruit. Adjust your watering and mulching before reaching for the fertilizer. A bit more information: Products like Blossom Set will help with tomatoes, but not peppers. The fruit will be smaller, but at least you'll have some. This will not work with peppers since they drop their blossoms during extremely hot or cold temperatures. A few diseases can also cause fruit rot. Remove the squash blossoms as they wilt to reduce the risk of damage caused by these diseases. And be sure to mulch the soil to reduce the risk of soil born diseases from infecting blossoms and developing fruit. Melon and Squash Cradles from Gardener's Supply Company help elevate your fruit off the soil further reducing disease problems. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Controlling Ragweed, the Allergy Sufferers Nemesis
If you suffer from a runny nose, stuffed up sinuses and itchy or watery eyes, the culprit may be hiding under your shrubs, next to your flowers or along a nearby roadway. Ragweed is the main cause of allergy and pollen asthma in North America and Central Europe. Common ragweed is an annual with ferny leaves that flowers in August and September. Giant ragweed has larger less dissected leaves and can reach heights of 8 feet. Mowing and removal not only eliminates the pollen, but also the 30,000 to 62,000 seeds that each plant can produce. Removing one plant means thousands less to weed next season. Keep your lawn mown, gardens weeded and replant ragweed infested areas with native and ornamental plants suited to the growing conditions. Proper selection and soil preparation will help your desirable plants crowd out this weed. A bit more information: A single plant can release as much as one billion grains of pollen throughout one season. And that pollen can travel more than 400 miles. Enlist friends, families and neighbors in the cause. The more we control this pesky weed the better for us all. For more information, click here. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Leaf Browning, Scorch, on Hostas and Other Shade Plants
Brown leaf edges are common on hostas and other shade lovers when the temperatures rise or the sun is too intense. Brown leaf edges, known as scorch, occur when the plant loses more water than is available or faster than the plant is able to absorb. Reduce the risk of this problem by growing shade lovers like hostas in shady areas free of hot mid-day and afternoon sun. Add organic matter to the soil to improve the water-holding ability of fast draining sandy soils. Water the plants thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist. Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic matter to keep the soil cool and evenly moist. Yes, I know, this also creates the perfect environment for slugs. If a slug problem develops, capture these slimy pests with beer in a shallow can. A bit more information: If slugs are a problem considering planting more slug-resistant hostas. These tend to have thicker leaves like the 2014 Hosta of the Year "Abiqua Drinking Gourd." For more information, listen to my audio tip on Eco-friendly Slug and Snail Control. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Night
Once again it's time to celebrate Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Night. August 8th, National Zucchini Day, inspired Pennsylvania gardeners Tom and Ruth Roy to encourage gardeners to share their excess zucchini with neighbors. If you've grown zucchini you know it can create an abundance of fruit. Harvesting when the fruit is 6 to 8 inches long gives the best flavor and keeps the plants producing. So after you've enjoyed those first dozen or so zucchini on relish trays, stir-fried or in baked goods you may be looking for ways to "share" the harvest. After friends and family refuse your offering of this tasty veggie you may decide to join the fun and leave a few zucchinis on your neighbor's front porch. Just include a few recipes if you want to keep them as friends. Or better yet, take your surplus vegetables, zucchini and all, to a nearby food pantry. A bit more information: Many seniors and children benefit from the flavorful and nutritious surplus vegetables donated by generous gardeners. Visit Plant-a-Row for the Hungry's web site at or call 1-877-492-2727 to find a food pantry near you. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Love-in-a-Mist Flower Growing Tips
Add a little love and beauty to your garden with Love-in-a-mist. The fine foliage, white, pink, blue or lavender flowers and attractive seedpods provide season-long beauty. This annual grows best in full sun and moist well-drained fertile soil. The flowers float above the dill-like leaves on plants 15 to 24 inches tall and 12 inches wide. Harvest a few of the long-lasting flowers to enjoy in a vase. Remove the foliage as it tends to wilt much more quickly than the blossoms. And harvest a few of the seedpods to use in crafts and dried arrangements. Pick when the purple or bronze stripes are visible on the balloon shaped pods. Hang in a warm shaded location to dry. Love-in-a-mist is self-seeding. So once you have a plant growing and flowering in the garden, just leave a few seedpods on the plants, don't disturb the soil and you'll be rewarded with lots of new plants each year. A bit more information: This plant is known botanically as Nigella damascena. It does not transplant well. So buy new seeds or collect seeds from existing plants when you want to start this plant in a new location in the landscape. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Joe-Pye Weed for you and the Butterflies to Enjoy
Add some bold beauty and butterfly appeal to your garden with Joe-Pye Weed. This summer through fall blooming perennial is hardy in zones 3 to 9. It grows best in full sun to part shade and moist fertile soil. The leaves will scorch - form brown edges - if the soil is allowed to dry. So be sure to mulch with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic matter to keep the soil consistently moist throughout the season. Joe Pye weed grows 5 to 7 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. The leaves give off a hint of vanilla when crushed. The small purple or white flowers form large clusters known as panicles 12 to 18 inches across. If this sounds too big for your landscape, don't fret. Shorter varieties like Gateway at 4 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide and Little Joe at 3 to 4 feet tall and wide may work for you. A bit more information: The Chicago Botanic Garden recently evaluated the various Joe-Pye weeds and their relatives. They looked at plants as short as 17 inches and as tall as 90. See the results of their comparative study by clicking here. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Cutest Sibling Video EVER!
I can't even handle how cute this video is!!
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