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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 April 2014


Maximize Your Sweet Corn Harvest
Nothing beats fresh from the garden corn on the cob. But this is one vegetable that takes up a lot of space for a small harvest.  Each plant usually produces just one ear of corn.  A healthy pest free plant may produce two.  So get the most out of your harvest with proper planting and care.
 
Plant one of the newer cultivars that has sweeter longer-lasting flavor.  Then plant the corn in blocks.  This will improve the wind pollination and that means a bigger harvest. 
 
Plant the seeds in rows an inch deep and 9 to 12 inches apart.  You can maximize your planting with wide rows. Just leave 12 inches between plants and make sure you can reach all the plants within the wide row. Protect seeds from birds and speed germination by covering with floating row covers.
 
And before you know it you will be boiling that pot of water or stoking up the grill to cook your first ear of corn. 
 
A bit more information:  Poor germination or weak misshapen seedlings are usually the result of corn root maggot. Prevent the problem by planting at the proper time. Planting seed in cold wet soil slows germination and increases the risk of damage. Replant as needed.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Growing Fruit in Small Spaces
No space for a garden?  Don't worry you can add fruits to your patio, balcony or other small space landscape.

Try growing strawberries as a groundcover. The white flowers, edible red fruit and brilliant red fall color add sparkle to your landscape. Or grow them in a pot on your balcony or deck.  They’ll be close at hand and easy to harvest a few for your breakfast cereal or afternoon snack.
 
And plant breeders are adding lots of new compact fruit varieties for small and large space gardeners to grow.
 
Raspberry shortcake is a small 2 to 3 feet tall and wide thornless plant perfect for small space gardeners and containers. You’ll be picking fresh tasty raspberries for most of the summer.
 
The new compact blueberries add pretty flowers, edible fruit and great fall color to your container and in-ground plantings. And the narrow upright Urban apple trees make managing and harvesting apples a breeze.
 
A bit more information: Expand your fruit garden by growing citrus in pots. The fragrant flowers and tasty fruit make a nice addition to the garden and your favorite beverage. Those in colder climates will need to move the plants indoors for the winter.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Low E Glass Impact on Houseplants
You can conserve energy and still grow healthy houseplants.
 
Light, water and nutrients are the keys to growing healthy plants. Many energy conscious indoor gardeners are concerned when considering replacing their windows with Low-E glass.  Fortunately it only reduces the visible light needed by our plants by an additional 5 to 10%.
 
A side benefit to your plants is the Low-E glass moderates temperatures indoors keeping plants, especially those growing near windows, warmer at night and cooler during the day.
 
And no matter what type of glass is in the windows – keep them clean to maximize the amount of light reaching your plants.
 
Adjust your watering and fertilization practices to match the indoor growing conditions. Less light, lower humidity and the type of potting mix and containers used all impact the watering frequency and fertilizer needs.
 
A bit more information: Plants need a variety of light (color/wavelength) for proper growth and flowering. Blue light promotes leaf and stem growth, while red combined with blue promotes flowering and bud development. 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Don’t Let Aggressive Bargain Plants Take Over the Garden
So you’ve found a plant that blooms all season, tolerates a wide range of growing conditions and needs little maintenance. Sound too good to be true?  It probably is.

Lots of fast growing easy care plants are overly aggressive.  They crowd out their more timid neighbors and often need concrete barriers or regular weeding to keep them in check. 
 
Invasive plants go one step further. These plants leave the bounds of our landscape and invade our natural areas.  They crowd out native plants that provide food and shelter for wildlife.  These should be eliminated from gardens in regions where they are a threat.
 
And beware of bargain backyard plant sales.  These are often filled with aggressive plants that have overrun the seller’s garden.  Ask the seller about the aggressive nature of the plant before purchasing.  Years of weeding is not worth the money saved on bargain plants.
 
A bit more information: A good example is common yarrow (Achillea millefolium). This perennial flower can be found in both weed and perennial books.  It tolerates hot dry conditions and readily reseeds and spreads. Select less aggressive species and cultivars that do not reseed.
 
 For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Invite Frogs and Toads into the Garden
Celebrate National Frog Month by inviting insect and slug-eating toads and frogs into your garden.
 
Start by providing water. A pond at least 20 inches deep with gently sloping sides will work. Include water plants that provide oxygen, shelter from predators and weather and breeding sites.
 
Include a few rocks or logs in the pond for basking and a few alongside the water for shelter.
 
Build a rock pile in the garden. Select a location that receives sun and shade each day. Position the rock pile in more sun if your summers are cool and more shade if your summers are hot.
 
Line the bottom with stones for added protection from winter cold and leave cavities between some of the bottom rocks for nesting, shelter and hibernation. Use a pipe 1 to 2 inches in diameter and less than 2 feet to create an entryway.
 
A bit more information: Look, but do not touch the frogs and toads you attract to your landscape. Bug repellent, lotions and oils on your skin can harm these creatures. For more information see Oregon State University Extension’s publication Attract Reptiles and Amphibians to Your Yard.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Grow Potatoes in the Garden or Container
What is white, red or yellow, can be eaten fresh, fried or even raw and is one of the most important staples of the human diet?  If you guessed potato, you are right.

Grow your own in the garden, planting bag or containers. You can plant small potatoes or pieces of larger potatoes to start new plants.  These contain "eyes" that grow into potato plants.  You may have seen this happen on potatoes stored in the pantry.   Buy certified seed potatoes at garden centers or from garden catalogues.
 
Cut whole or large seed potatoes into smaller pieces containing at least one good "eye". Plant them in a 2-3 inch deep furrow, 10 to 12 inches apart, leaving 24 to 36 inches between the plants.  As the plants begin to grow, mound the nearby soil over the tubers until the rows are 4 to 6 inches high.  Keep the planting weeded and wait for the harvest. 
 
A bit more information: Save space and have some fun by growing your potatoes in a planting bag.  Fill the bottom few inches of the bag with potting mix. Set the potato pieces on the mix. Cover with several inches of soil. As the potatoes grow, continue adding a couple of inches of soil at a time until the bag is full. Harvest by dumping the bag and lifting out your potatoes.
 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Brown Needles and Leaves on Evergreens
A walk through your garden this spring may reveal browning on both needled and broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs.
 
Winter winds and sun, exposure to deicing salt and record low temperatures are likely the cause.  Evergreens continue to lose moisture through their leaves and needles throughout the winter. The winter sun and wind increase moisture loss.  Those gardening in areas with frozen soil are likely to see the most damage.
 
But even those in warmer regions may see winter scorch on newly planted or exposed evergreen plants.
 
We can’t turn the needles and leaves green, but we can provide proper care to speed recovery. If the branches are pliable and buds plump you should see new growth this spring. Broadleaf evergreens will replace the brown leaves with fresh new growth. Brown needles will eventually drop and the new growth this spring may mask the damage.
 
Wait for warmer weather to see what if any new growth appears.
 
A bit more information: Once plants have started to show signs of new growth, you have a decision to make. Is the plant healthy and attractive enough to nurture and keep? Or, would you be better off starting with a new plant and one better suited to the growing conditions. A difficult decision, but one that can save you time, money and frustration in the long run.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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A Multi-Season Beauty – The Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Add seasonal interest and bird appeal to your landscape with the white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus).

This slow growing small-scale tree can grow up to 20 feet tall and wide. The slightly fragrant white flowers cover the plant in spring. The male plants produce slightly larger and showier flowers, but the female plants produce an abundance of blue fruit in late summer. Though the fruit is somewhat hidden by the leaves, the birds seem to have no problem finding and devouring it. But don’t worry however as they won’t leave behind a mess.
 
The fall color can vary from a good yellow to a yellowish green. And the smooth gray bark become ridged and furrowed with age.
 
Fringetree is hardy in zones 4 to 9, grows well in full sun to part shade and though it prefers moist fertile soil, it is adaptable to a much wider range of conditions. It can be found in nature growing along stream banks and the woodland edge.
 
A bit more information: Use fringetree as a small tree or large shrub, as a specimen plant, near buildings, or in mixed borders as an understory. And be patient in spring as it is late to leaf out.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Daisy – the April Birth Flower

Celebrate April birthdays with a bouquet of daisies. This April birth flower symbolizes childhood innocence or according to the Farmer’s Almanac they were given between friends to keep a secret.
 
Many flowers share the common name daisy. It comes from the English name “days eye” referring to the fact many daisy flowers open during the day and close as the sun sets.
 
Bellis perennis, known as English daisy, is most often designated as the April birth flower. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8, grows about 6 inches tall and flowers from spring through mid summer.
 
You will find this plant listed as an attractive perennial or nasty weed. In the south the plants often burn out after flowering during the heat of summer. In cooler climates they are often dug after flowering to maximize enjoyment and minimize spread.
 
The young leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked.
 
A bit more information: Sweet peas are also considered the April birth flower. This is especially true in April. This flower represents modesty and simplicity.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Garden Longer with Less Aches and Pains – It’s National Garden Week
Avoid sore and strained muscles that often arise after a long day in the garden.  A few simple changes in your gardening habits can keep you gardening longer and with fewer aches, pains and strains.
 
Use long-handled tools to extend your reach and minimize bending and stooping. And if you need to get a bit closer to the ground, try placing only one knee on the ground or using a stool and keep your back straight.
 
Keep your tools handy by wearing a carpenter’s apron with lots of pockets or using a tool caddy. An old wagon, wheeled golf bag or trash can make moving long-handled tools a breeze. 
 
Use foam or wrap your tool handles with tape to enlarge the grip and reduce hand fatigue. Or better yet, invest in ergonomically designed tools with larger cushioned grips.  They are designed to position your body in a less stressful position, allowing you to work longer.
 
A bit more information: Further extend your energy by taking frequent breaks. Use sunscreen, wear a hat and drink lots of water. For more ideas, check out my 10 Pain-free Gardening tips.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Celebrate National Dandelion Day – It’s not just a weed
Stop, don’t pull those pesky yellow flowered dandelions popping up in the lawn and garden. These beautiful flowers have not only been used as bouquets for mom and crowns for children, but have a long medicinal and edible history.

On April 5th, Dandelion Day, celebrate the benefits and beauty of this perennial plant many consider a weed.  You’ll find this adaptable plant growing in a wide variety of locations.
 
The name dandelion comes from the French “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth. This refers to the leaves with their jagged tooth-like edges.
 
Dandelions are high in Vitamins A, B, C and D and were used by Native Americans for kidney disease, swelling and skin problems.
 
Harvest the young leaves in spring and add them to a salad or sauté with onions.  Brighten up a salad with just the yellow portion of the flowers or ferment them into wine.
 
A bit more information: Dandelions are also known as 'wet-the-bed'. This refers to the old belief that just touching a dandelion can cause bed-wetting. This may be tied to the fact that dandelions have been used as a diuretic.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Celebrate National Celery Month - Grow Your Own Celery Indoors or Out
Celery, an unassuming vegetable has long been used as a flavorful ingredient in soups, stews and casseroles. You’ll also find it fresh on a relish tray or as a crunchy low calorie snack. Its value is being recognized and celebrated during April, National Celery Month.

This long season vegetable is difficult to grow in many areas. The plants are slow to germinate and the young transplants will bolt if subject to cool periods.
 
Grow celery in full sun with moist organic soil. Provide ample moisture and mulch to keep the soil moist throughout the season. Wrap or cover the stalks two weeks before harvest to blanch the stems for a milder flavor.
 
Or have a bit of fun and grow some celery from kitchen discards. Next time you chop up a bunch of celery for soup or stew, save the base and grow a new plant.
 
A bit more information: It’s easy to grow your own celery from kitchen discards. Save the base of the celery in a shallow dish of water or bury the bottom half in a well-drained potting mix to root. Set in a bright location. Keep water in the saucer or the soil mix moist until new growth  appears. Pot up and move to a sunny location.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Now This is Scary
Like skydiving isn't scary enough. Christopher Jones was at 12,000 feet, just out of his plane, when he was paralyzed by a seizure. His instructor realized he was in trouble and flew over to him, managing to pull the emergency chute. Jones woke up at 3,000 feet and was able to control his landing. So far, the video of his plunge and rescue has had over 5 million hits. Amazing. I don't think you'd ever catch me jumping out of a plane, but if you did, and this happened, you'd probably never catch me in an elevator again.  
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Feel Like Living Like the Walking Dead?
If you're a fan of The Walking Dead and you've got $680,000, then Grantville, Georgia could be just the spot for you. Not the whole town - just the downtown. And the downtown is famous for its use as a set in The Walking Dead. The town's economy used to depend on textiles. That industry went away years ago. These days, the industry is tourism, as in Walking Dead tourists. The nine buildings up for sale are commercial properties, so if you've got a flair for developing - and don't mind a bunch of zombies walking around from time to time - get on eBay and make your bid!  
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Beware the Stoner Rabbits!
An agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration appeared before Utah's Senate last week to speak against a proposed bill that would legalize marijuana. Specifically, he's afraid that allowing marijuana to be grown in the state would hurt the environment. Why? Because rabbits and other wildlife could cultivate a taste for marijuana. In fact, he said he witnessed such behavior, in a rabbit who'd developed a taste for the herb and lost his natural instinct to run. Good to know the government's out there protecting us from stoner rabbits... Listen to Agent Fairbanks' testimony here. Some of it is flat-out hilarious.  
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Stolen and "Maliciously Altered"
By now, you've probably seen the picture of Cindy Crawford that was all over the internet a week or so ago. It showed Cindy in a bra and panties, wearing a hat and some sort of stole. The story that went with the photo was that it showed Cindy in all her unretouched glory - a celebration of a woman embracing her real body. Turns out the photo was actually stolen and "maliciously altered," according to Cindy's attorneys. They are threatening to sue everyone who posted the picture if they don't take it down and apologize. For the record, Cindy's husband posted this picture to Instagram to show what she really looks like.     She got flowers and I got her. Happy Valentines Day @cindycrawford A photo posted by Rande Gerber (@randegerber) on Feb 14, 2015 at 6:00pm PST And if you don't believe the picture, listen to what Christie Brinkley had to say about Cindy in an interview with Access Hollywood last week...  
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They Cut Meryl Streep?
Meryl Streep plays The Witch in Into the Woods, a movie that started its life as a Broadway musical written by the legendary Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim wrote a new song for the film - "She'll Be Back" - to be sung by Meryl's character. And she sang it, and it was in the movie, and then it wasn't. Director Rob Marshall says that it was for the good of the movie - that the movie was stronger without it. But not to worry. These days, nothing really gets thrown away, and the word is that the song will be included in the bonus features when the film gets its DVD release. Here's a little taste.  
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Dude! What's That White Stuff on the Ground?
Folks in Huntington Beach and other coastal communities in southern California had a little weather surprise yesterday. Pea-sized hail fell on the area, and for a while, coated the beaches and grassy areas with white stuff. A rare occasion, to be sure. It didn't stick around long - as you'll see from the video, it melted pretty quickly - which is certain to upset folks in the Northeast, who've been dealing with record amounts of unmeltedness this season. And as you'll see from the video, at least one enterprising Californian figured out a way to surf on it. Hail's up, dude!  
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Don't Believe It? Just Watch!
"Uptown Funk" is one of the hottest tunes in the country. It's one of those songs that gets your blood pumping and toes tapping. Until now. Thanks to Alex Bove and the Dancing Grandpas, "Uptown Funk" got slowed down - well, a little bit. It's called "Oldtown Cover," and everyone in the video is at least 65 years old... So some of the moves are way slower than the Bruno Mars version. Naturally.  
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Making the Most of Nothing
Steve Harvey has proved himself a master of making the most of some of the ridiculous moments on Family Feud. But this one from last month takes the cake. Simple question: "Other than fruit, name something you might choose by squeezing it first." But neither contestant would buzz in. Because neither one could think of an answer. And that left Steve to fill the gap while the show sort of reset itself. Watch!   (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Post by Family Feud 2.
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Live Long and Prosper
Leonard Nimoy, best known for playing the iconic Mister Spock in a variety of Star Trek movies and TV shows, passed away on Friday at the age of 83. Four days earlier, he posted his final tweet, which sounds like he knew he was leaving... A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP — Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015 Since he passed, a lot of media outlets have been posting tidbits about him and Spock. One of the more interesting is this interview from several years ago where he explained the origins of Spock's famous hand gesture that went along with the Vulcan salute, "Live Long and Prosper."  
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Kelly Quits the Cops
Kelly Osbourne went through with her threat to leave Fashion Police. Last week, she was pretty upset over a comment her co-host Giuliana Rancic made about Zendaya's dreadlocks that created quite a stir. She made her departure official on Friday, and instantly, her mother - Sharon Osbourne of The Talk - applauded her. .@KellyOsbourne, I am so proud of you. You can never be bought. You always wear your heart on your sleeve. #ProudToBeYourMum — Sharon Osbourne (@MrsSOsbourne) February 28, 2015 Meanwhile, Billy Bush from Access Hollywood took a few shots at Kelly before her departure, and that angered the other half of Kelly's DNA pool - her dad, rocker Ozzy Osbourne - who had a choice tweet for Billy... @BillyBush stop acting like a bitch. Act like a man. Lay off Kelly or we'll be going to hospital to get my foot out of your ass. God Bless. — Ozzy Osbourne (@OzzyOsbourne) February 27, 2015
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When in Chicago...
On Sunday, thousands of people jumped into Chicago's Lake Michigan. It was time for the annual Polar Plunge, which raised close to $1 million for Special Olympics On hand were a few celebrities. Vince Vaughn, an area native, jumped in wearing a Chicago Blackhawks jersey. Lady Gaga showed up and took the plunge with her fiance, Taylor Kinney, one of the actors from Chicago Fire. Ironically, Gaga was covered pretty much head to toe, wearing more to take a dip in the lake than she wears to perform...     ❤️ feels so good to do things for a good cause like the Special Olympics. It's great donate money, but also great to donate a gesture of love for those who deserve to be showered with it. A photo posted by @ladygaga on Mar 1, 2015 at 9:24am PST Check out the video from The Chicago Sun-Times that includes some stills of Vince, Gaga and Taylor...
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50 Shades of SNL
Dakota Johnson, star of 50 Shades of Grey, hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend. Her opening monologue wasn't bad. She poked fun at 50 Shades - actually took a couple of good shots at it. And interestingly, she introduced her parents - Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson - who were in the front row. Only Don spoke. Probably just as well...  
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Growing Scented Geraniums Indoors and Out
Add a bit of aromatherapy to your indoors with scented geraniums. Give the leaves a gentle pet and enjoy the lemon, rose, apple, peppermint or pine fragrance. Place the plants in areas where you brush by the leaves or can easily give them a pat to release and enjoy the fragrance. Though grown for the fragrant leaves, these plants will produce attractive, but less showy flowers than the popular bedding geranium. Both are truly Pelargoniums, but most gardeners know them by their common name of geranium. Grow these as houseplants in a sunny window or a sunny location outdoors during frost-free weather. Scented geraniums are hardy in zones 10 and 11 and must be moved indoors for the winter in most areas. Use a quality potting mix for indoor plantings or grow them outdoors in well-drained soil for best results. Remove the faded flowers and pinch back the stems as needed. A bit more information: Start new plants from cuttings taken from healthy plants. Take a 4-inch piece of the stem with leaves, remove any flowers, and root. Or use trimmings made when pruning back your plant. For more details, listen to my audio tip on Starting New Plants from Cuttings. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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