Melinda Myers – Forked River Gazette http://www.forkedrivergazette.com Forked River Gazette Thu, 14 Dec 2017 08:51:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/cropped-Forked-River-Gazette-Logo-32x32.png Melinda Myers – Forked River Gazette http://www.forkedrivergazette.com 32 32 Enhance Your Holiday Landscape http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/enhance-holiday-landscape/ http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/enhance-holiday-landscape/#respond Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:25:22 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=34108 by Melinda Myers Add a little holiday sparkle to your landscape for you and your guests to enjoy. No matter the weather outside, a few decorative touches can greatly increase the beauty and enjoyment of your winter landscape. Try one, two or all eight of these tips to improve your landscape’s winter appeal. Add some … Continue reading Enhance Your Holiday Landscape

The post Enhance Your Holiday Landscape appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
by Melinda Myers

Add a little holiday sparkle to your landscape for you and your guests to enjoy. No matter the weather outside, a few decorative touches can greatly increase the beauty and enjoyment of your winter landscape.

Try one, two or all eight of these tips to improve your landscape’s winter appeal.

Add some solar powered accents. Light a pathway, your favorite tree or front porch without installing additional outlets. Look for unique colors and shapes like the solar star lantern or the changing colors of northern lights spheres (gardeners.com) for added appeal. The wide variety now available can help create a memorable winter display. Be sure to select solar accents that provide hours of enjoyment when fully charged.

Create an outdoor holiday tree for you and your feathered visitors to enjoy. Decorate a few of your evergreen trees and shrubs with purchased or homemade birdseed ornaments. Holiday shapes made of energy rich birdseed and suet give the trees a holiday flare, while providing important food for birds to enjoy. These also make great gifts for your favorite gardener or bird watcher.

Light up your winter containers. Fill a weather-proof planter with potting mix or play sand.  Purchase greens from your favorite garden center or trim a few from your landscape. Stick the cut end of the greens in the potting mix or sand to create an attractive display. Add some colorful berries, decorative twigs and ribbon. Then add some height and light to your winter container with fiber optic solar lights. Place the container by your front steps for holiday visitors to enjoy day or night.

Increase color and motion with the help of heated birdbaths. Attract greater numbers and variety of birds by providing water year round.  Northern gardeners should consider heated birdbaths to insure water is available even during the coldest months. Further help the birds by adding a few stones or branches to the birdbath. This allows the birds to drink without getting wet; helping them to preserve their body heat.

Create your own homemade outdoor lights. Line pathways, accent plantings or dress up fence posts with ice globe luminaries.  Produce your own or purchase ready to make kits. Use colorful outdoor LED lights or tea candles to light up blocks or spheres of ice. You and your family will have fun creating these memorable nighttime accents.

Add some livable art. Hang a few colorful and unique birdhouses in your backyard. They provide color and whimsy to the winter garden and will be ready for your feathered friends to move in this spring.

Include a “gingerbread” house for the birds. Hang decorative birdseed houses from a shepherds crook or tree branch. Be sure to place it in an area where you and the birds can enjoy the decorative treat. Look for a sheltered, but open area where the birds can watch for predators while enjoying their winter feast.

Move your holiday tree outdoors. Place your cut tree in a snow bank, vacant spot in the garden or make it part of your bird feeding station. The tree provides some extra greenery in the often drab winter landscape as well as shelter for the visiting birds. Then add a few of those birdseed ornaments for added food and winter decoration.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

Photo credit for both is – Gardener’s Supply Company

The post Enhance Your Holiday Landscape appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/enhance-holiday-landscape/feed/ 0
Plant Based Essential Oils Boost the Mind, Body & Spirit During the Holidays http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/plant-based-essential-oils-boost-mind-body-spirit-holidays/ Wed, 01 Nov 2017 13:49:19 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=33780 By Melinda Myers Ease into the hectic holiday season with the help of aromatherapy. The fragrances of plant-derived essential oils have long been used to improve the health of our mind, body and spirit. Boost your energy and increase your focus as you work to balance work, family and holiday fun. Peppermint has long been … Continue reading Plant Based Essential Oils Boost the Mind, Body & Spirit During the Holidays

The post Plant Based Essential Oils Boost the Mind, Body & Spirit During the Holidays appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

Ease into the hectic holiday season with the help of aromatherapy. The fragrances of plant-derived essential oils have long been used to improve the health of our mind, body and spirit.

Boost your energy and increase your focus as you work to balance work, family and holiday fun. Peppermint has long been prized for this and so much more. You’ll find it also helps relieve headaches and indigestion.

Freshen your home with the scent of grapefruit.  It’s the perfect solution when unexpected guests drop by for a visit. You may also find the grapefruit aroma, along with your company, help to lighten your mood. 

Use eucalyptus essential oil in the fight against colds and flu this winter. Just place a few drops into a diffuser on your desk at work, in your bedroom or family room.  The diffusers come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Some use heat, ultrasonic vibrations, fans or wood wicks to disperse the fragrance throughout the room. Others, like the Eden Aroma Diffuser, allow the fragrance to seep through the porous portion of the diffuser pot and into the room.

Or use a eucalyptus eye mask to help relieve sinus pressure and sooth tired eyes. Just gently heat or cool the mask, cover your eyes and relax into a bit of relief.

End your day with relaxing lavender. It helps reduce anxiety, relieves headaches and improves sleep. Turn up the heat and fragrance with the Ultimate Lavender Wrap (gardeners.com).  Simply pop the flax, rice and lavender infused insert into the microwave.  Place it back into the cloth cover and drape it over your neck and shoulders. This can provide relief for those suffering from tense or aching muscles and winter chills.

Encourage a good night’s sleep by tucking a lavender-filled sachet under your pillow. Or set a bundle of dried lavender stems in the bathroom, bedroom or anywhere you want to enjoy the fragrance of a summer garden and a bit of relaxation.

When you incorporate some aromatherapy into your routine you’ll find yourself smiling and more relaxed.  The boost in energy and reduced stress will help you navigate the many gatherings, rich food and busy schedules ahead. And consider giving the gift of aromatherapy to someone you love, so they too can enjoy improved harmony and health into the New Year.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Gardener’s Supply for her expertise to write this article. Myers’s web site is www.melindamyers.com.

photo credit – Gardener’s Supply Company

The post Plant Based Essential Oils Boost the Mind, Body & Spirit During the Holidays appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
One Simple Step Can Improve the Health and Vigor of Your Lawn http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/one-simple-step-can-improve-health-vigor-lawn/ Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:34:59 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=33445 By Melinda Myers Do just one thing this fall and you can improve the health and vigor of your lawn.  Fall fertilization helps lawns recover from the stresses of summer and provides needed nutrients to grow deeper roots and a denser stand of grass. And that means fewer weeds and a healthier lawn that’s more … Continue reading One Simple Step Can Improve the Health and Vigor of Your Lawn

The post One Simple Step Can Improve the Health and Vigor of Your Lawn appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

Do just one thing this fall and you can improve the health and vigor of your lawn.  Fall fertilization helps lawns recover from the stresses of summer and provides needed nutrients to grow deeper roots and a denser stand of grass. And that means fewer weeds and a healthier lawn that’s more resistant to drought, insects and diseases.

Fertilize around Labor Day as the temperatures begin to cool and lawns start spreading outward instead of growing upward. Continue to leave clippings on the lawn. They return nutrients, moisture and organic matter to the soil.  Consider it free fertilizer applied every time you mow the lawn.

One fall application will give low maintenance lawns the nutrient boost they need. You’ll have a healthier lawn with minimal care.

Increase the quality and improve the lawn’s ability to withstand and recover from wear and tear with a second application. Apply fertilizer in late fall between Halloween and Thanksgiving, but before the ground freezes. Those growing warm season grasses should make the last application in early October at least one month prior to the first killing frost.

Fall lawn fertilization is the first step in growing a healthy lawn next year.

No need to purchase a winterizing fertilizer. Most soils have high to excessive levels of phosphorous and potassium. Have a soil test first if you suspect your lawn is deficient in these nutrients. You’ll save money and harm to the environment by using the right product.

Consider using a slow release, organic nitrogen fertilizer like Milorganite (milorganite.com) that helps improve the soil, while providing needed nutrients.  Research discovered that as the microorganisms work on releasing the nutrients from its pellets they also make some of the phosphorous, which promotes root development, as well as potassium, which promotes hardiness and disease resistance, that is bound to the soil available to the grass plants.

Continue to mow high as long as the grass continues to grow. You can gradually reduce the mowing height for winter if desired.

Once you see the improvement in your lawn, you may be inspired to adopt the holiday fertilization schedule. Adding one or two additional fertilizer applications can greatly increase your lawn’s health, vigor, wear resistance and ability to tolerate drought and pests.

Those growing warm season grasses can begin fertilizing around Easter once the grass begins growing. Make additional applications around Memorial Day and the recommended fall date. Those growing cool season grasses should wait until Memorial Day to start fertilizing in addition to the two fall applications. Add a mid-summer application of slow release fertilizer for irrigated lawns.

Fall fertilization is the first step in growing a healthy lawn next year. Do this one thing this fall and you will decrease your lawn care challenges and workload next year.

 

Gardening expert Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and spokesperson for Milorganite. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com.

The post One Simple Step Can Improve the Health and Vigor of Your Lawn appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
Keeping it Fresh from the Garden to the Table http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/keeping-fresh-garden-table/ Thu, 07 Sep 2017 12:14:52 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=32743 By Melinda Myers You spent the summer weeding, watering and tending to your vegetable garden. Now all your effort has paid off with a bountiful harvest.  Maximize the flavor and nutritional value of your homegrown vegetables with proper harvesting and storage. For the freshest flavor, always prepare and serve vegetables immediately after harvest. But let’s … Continue reading Keeping it Fresh from the Garden to the Table

The post Keeping it Fresh from the Garden to the Table appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

You spent the summer weeding, watering and tending to your vegetable garden. Now all your effort has paid off with a bountiful harvest.  Maximize the flavor and nutritional value of your homegrown vegetables with proper harvesting and storage.

For the freshest flavor, always prepare and serve vegetables immediately after harvest. But let’s face it, most of us are living busy lives and lucky to get the vegetables picked and eventually cooked.  Plus, all the extras will need to be shared, preserved or stored for future enjoyment. Here are a few things you can do to keep the flavor fresh.

Handle produce with care. Nicking, breaking and bruising the vegetables during harvest decreases storage life and quality. Harvest leafy crops such as lettuce, kale, and collards last as they quickly wilt after harvest.  And with the wilting goes the ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Ideally, vegetables you plan to prepare immediately should be cleaned outdoors. You’ll keep garden soil out of the kitchen sink and in the garden where it belongs.  Collect your veggies in an open weave wire or plastic harvest basket like the Mod Hod. Its fold out legs allow the produce to dry before bringing it indoors. Rinse off the soil with the hose, drain excess water and carry your veggies into the kitchen to prepare.

Clean your counters and cutting boards before you start slicing, cutting and dicing your vegetables. Trim stems, remove damaged leaves and compost these in the garden or worm bin. They will have a second life as compost in next year’s garden.

Wait to wash, trim, and clean the vegetables you plan to store or prepare later. The scraping, cutting and slicing process increases the loss of vitamins and flavor and reduces storage quality.

Increase storage longevity by matching vegetables with their preferred storage conditions. The closer you come to this, the longer your produce will last.

Store roots crops like beets, turnips and radishes as well as cabbage and Brussels sprouts in a cold, moist condition. A spare refrigerator works great for these.  Those in colder climates can store their carrots and parsnips right in the garden. Once the soil gets a bit crunchy, cover them with straw or evergreen boughs for easier digging in winter. Then dig as needed or harvest during the first winter thaw.

Keep potatoes in a cool, humid and dark location like a cool corner in the basement. Sunlight causes the exposed portions to produce green chlorophyll and solanine, a glycoalkaloid toxin. The solanine gives the potatoes a bitter flavor and can cause vomiting and diarrhea if enough green potatoes are eaten. Just cut away any green portions before using.

Photo Credit Gardener’s Supply Company

Store winter squash in a cool location as well. They can tolerate a bit lower humidity and last for four months or more when properly harvested and stored.

Use slatted crates or other vegetable storage solutions (gardeners.com) to maximize storage space and increase storage longevity. These systems provide ample storage space, so fruits and vegetables do not touch.  Keeping stored fruit separated prevents rot from spreading from one fruit to the next. Plus, the slatted sides allow airflow to extend storage longevity.

A few simple changes in handling your harvest will improve its storage life, flavor, and nutritional quality.  Better quality means less waste and more abundance for cooking and sharing.

Follow these harvesting tips to enjoy garden-fresh meals throughout the remainder of the growing season. Then continue creating tasty meals reminiscent of the garden season with properly stored produce long after your harvest is past.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Gardener’s Supply for her expertise to write this article. Myers’s web site is www.melindamyers.com.

The post Keeping it Fresh from the Garden to the Table appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
Work in Concert with Nature to Manage Garden Pests and Mosquitoes in the Landscape http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/work-concert-nature-manage-garden-pests-mosquitoes-landscape/ Thu, 06 Jul 2017 12:25:35 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=31889 By Melinda Myers A garden filled with flowers, birds, bees and butterflies is a sight to behold. These winged beauties add color, sound and motion to our gardens. Plus, they help maximize a garden’s productivity by pollinating plants and managing plant-damaging pests. But what about those unwanted visitors to the garden? The aphids, mites and … Continue reading Work in Concert with Nature to Manage Garden Pests and Mosquitoes in the Landscape

The post Work in Concert with Nature to Manage Garden Pests and Mosquitoes in the Landscape appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

A garden filled with flowers, birds, bees and butterflies is a sight to behold. These winged beauties add color, sound and motion to our gardens. Plus, they help maximize a garden’s productivity by pollinating plants and managing plant-damaging pests.

But what about those unwanted visitors to the garden? The aphids, mites and cabbage worms that feed upon our plants or the mosquitoes that feed upon us.  There are ways to have a beautiful garden and at the same time enjoy the outdoors when we work with nature to manage our landscape.

Add a birdbath, a few birdhouses and plants for the birds. They’ll repay you by eating many of the insects that feed upon your plants. Include seed-bearing plants like coneflowers, Rudbeckias and cosmos as well as berry plants like Juneberry, dogwood and firethorn. Add an evergreen and a few trees for shelter and nesting, if space allows.

Include a hummingbird feeder and a few of their favorite flowers like columbine, salvia, penstemon, and phlox.  Then watch as these fast flyers feed upon aphids, mites and mosquitoes in between sips of nectar.

While watching the birds, bees and butterflies, examine your plants for garden pests. Catching insects early may mean the difference between a successful harvest and disappointment. Before reaching for the pesticides and destroying their food source, attract the good guys and manage unwanted pests with a few of these eco-friendly strategies.

Tolerate a bit of damage and wait for the birds, lady beetles, praying mantis and other beneficial insects to move in and eat the bad bugs in the garden. Use barriers like row covers to keep cabbage worms off your cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels Sprouts. Sink shallow containers filled with beer into the soil around hostas and some of the other favorite plants of slugs and snails. These pests are attracted to the fermenting yeast, crawl inside and die.

If the bad guys persist, step up your eco-friendly control. Knock small populations of aphids and mites off plants with a strong blast of water. Apply insecticidal soap or Summit Year-Round Spray Oil if nature needs a helping hand. These organic insecticides are effective at managing pests, while gentle on the good guys when used properly.

Keep mosquito populations to a minimum. Drain water from toys, buckets or any object that can hold water and serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Change the water in birdbaths several times a week. Toss a Mosquito Dunk(SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. This organic insecticide only kills the larvae of mosquitoes, black flies and fungus gnats. It won’t harm bees, butterflies, birds, pets and people.

Evaluate your success and make needed adjustments. Write a note in next year’s calendar to watch for the return of these pests. You’ll be ready to step in and lend nature a hand if needed.

As you begin to work in harmony with nature you will find more birds, bees and butterflies visiting your garden. Together you can grow a beautiful and productive garden for all to enjoy.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Summit for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com

Photo credit for all is Melinda Myers, LLC.

The post Work in Concert with Nature to Manage Garden Pests and Mosquitoes in the Landscape appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
Grow More Edibles with Smart & Sustainable Keyhole Gardening http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/grow-edibles-smart-sustainable-keyhole-gardening/ Thu, 01 Jun 2017 11:28:05 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=30941 By Melinda Myers Raise your gardening efforts to a new level with keyhole gardening. You’ll increase your garden’s productivity in a smaller space, while using less water and fertilizer. This intensive technique was first used in Africa where it’s hot and dry and the topsoil is shallow.   Now gardeners growing in a variety of climates … Continue reading Grow More Edibles with Smart & Sustainable Keyhole Gardening

The post Grow More Edibles with Smart & Sustainable Keyhole Gardening appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

Raise your gardening efforts to a new level with keyhole gardening. You’ll increase your garden’s productivity in a smaller space, while using less water and fertilizer.

This intensive technique was first used in Africa where it’s hot and dry and the topsoil is shallow.   Now gardeners growing in a variety of climates around the world are using this technique. You’ll even find keyhole gardens in urban and suburban backyards.

The keyhole gardening technique allows you to grow abundant produce and compost plant-based kitchen scraps in one raised garden plot.

Keyhole gardening grows abundant produce while composting plant-based kitchen scraps in one raised garden plot. Grow plants in the outer ring of a circular, 6-feet diameter or larger raised bed.  Create an inner circle for composting kitchen scraps, coffee grounds and garden debris.

Design a small pie shape notch in the circular bed. This provides easy access to the inner composting circle and gives the bed its distinct keyhole appearance.

Build the sides of your raised bed garden from stones, cement blocks, bamboo or any available materials that can withstand the rigors of your climate.  Select a height that works for you and makes planting, tending and harvesting easy.

It may be easiest to purchase a keyhole garden kit. Select a kit with all the basic building supplies made from long-lasting materials, like the Cedar Keyhole Garden (gardeners.com).

Once the walls are built, create an inner compost basket. Use chicken wire or a similar material that allows moisture and nutrients to move from the compost basket into the surrounding soil. It should be at least 12 inches in diameter with the bottom anchored to the ground and top extending above the soil surface.

Fill the bottom of your raised bed with compostable materials. Start with a layer of cardboard on the soil surface. Then alternate 4 to 6″ layers of brown and green materials just as you would when building a compost pile. Use twigs, straw, dried leaves, paper, cardboard and other carbon rich materials for your browns. Include herbicide-free grass clippings, manure, kitchen scraps, fresh plant debris and other nitrogen rich materials for your greens.

Add kitchen scraps and garden debris to the compost basket throughout the growing season. As these decompose water helps move nutrients from the compost basket to the surrounding soil.

Continue layering until three fourths of the raised bed is filled. Top it off with compost rich soil for plants to root and grow.  Slope the surface so the highest point is next to the compost basket.

Allow the planting area to settle for several days. Then fill your garden with your favorite vegetables. Leave just enough space between plants so they can reach their mature size.  Water new plantings thoroughly. Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material to help conserve moisture and continue to add organic matter to the soil.

Check the soil moisture and water the garden bed and compost basket as needed throughout the season.

Soon you’ll be enjoying the convenience of harvesting and composting in one bed. And you just might find yourself looking for another sunny spot to add an additional keyhole garden or two.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series, including the latest Food Gardening For Everyone DVD set. Myers also hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Gardener’s Supply Company for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ web site is www.melindamyers.com.

 

Photo credit:  Gardener’s Supply Company

The post Grow More Edibles with Smart & Sustainable Keyhole Gardening appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
Add Some Extra Appeal to Your Landscape with Garden Art http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/add-extra-appeal-landscape-garden-art/ Thu, 04 May 2017 12:06:59 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=30393 By Melinda Myers Adding excitement to your garden is easy.  You can create instant, year-round color, structure, motion and fun to your landscape with a bit of garden art. Just like shopping for plants, look for pieces that complement your gardening style. And consider all the benefits each piece of art provides. Many pieces are … Continue reading Add Some Extra Appeal to Your Landscape with Garden Art

The post Add Some Extra Appeal to Your Landscape with Garden Art appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

Adding excitement to your garden is easy.  You can create instant, year-round color, structure, motion and fun to your landscape with a bit of garden art.

Just like shopping for plants, look for pieces that complement your gardening style. And consider all the benefits each piece of art provides. Many pieces are functional as well as beautiful, helping you get the most from your garden budget.

In centuries past, garden art included statues of gods and beautiful people as well as pieces that mimicked nature’s ornamental qualities. You can still find those traditional garden statues. But these days you will also find colorful pieces made from a variety of weatherproof materials in a variety of styles.

Look for garden art that’s functional as well as beautiful. You no longer need to settle for drab plant supports. Look for items like the Kaleidoscope Tomato Cage made of durable, heavy gauge steel and adorned with colorful weatherproof glass inserts. Train peas and pole beans up colorful and sturdy structures like Kaleidoscope Spiral Supports. These make creating an edible, ornamental landscape a breeze.

The Kaleidoscope Tomato Cage provides a sturdy support for tomato plants while adding color to the landscape.

Bring your garden to life with garden art that moves in the wind.  Metal wind spinners, mobiles and wind chimes add motion and in some cases sound to the garden.

Try creating a bottle bush using individually mouth-blown art glass globes instead of wine bottles.  Select those suited to the outdoors. Strategically place them in the garden, so you can enjoy the way the sunlight plays off the unique, colorful glass.

Add a bit of color and ornamental appeal when purchasing your next birdbath or bench. And don’t forget about other winged visitors. Some garden art, like poppy sways, also capture water for hummingbirds, butterflies and other beneficial insects.

Artfully direct water from the roof using decorative rain chains into a rain barrel or mulched area. Use this century-old technique to slow the flow of water, preventing mulch and mud from splashing onto the house. Those in cold climates will appreciate the beauty of the ice-covered chains in winter.

Extend your enjoyment by lighting up the landscape with solar powered artwork. Set solar stakes donned with birds, roosters or calla lilies throughout the garden. You’ll enjoy their charming style by day and colorful glow at night. Lead your guests to the front door or backyard garden with the help of solar powered Mosaic glass globes.

Include a bit of fun and whimsy in your landscape.  Let your garden design and garden art reflect your personality. A flock of funky metal chickens meandering through the garden or school of steel Fish Out of Water Garden Stakes swimming through your perennials may just be the extra character your garden needs.

Take some time this season to finish off an established garden, create a focal point for a new garden or just add new life to an existing landscape. Whatever the reason, you’re sure to enjoy the added beauty only garden art can provide.
Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series, including the latest Food Gardening For Everyone DVD set. Myers also hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Gardener’s Supply Company for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ web site is www.melindamyers.com.

Photo credit for all images is:  Gardener’s Supply Company

The post Add Some Extra Appeal to Your Landscape with Garden Art appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
Select the Best Tomatoes for Your Garden and Table http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/select-best-tomatoes-garden-table/ Thu, 06 Apr 2017 12:30:16 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=30079 By Melinda Myers Sliced, sauced, or cooked in your favorite recipe; tomatoes are a favorite and versatile vegetable. What’s more, they taste best when grown and harvested from your own garden or container. Ensure the best flavor and greatest results by selecting the most disease-resistant varieties and growing your tomatoes in full sun and moist, … Continue reading Select the Best Tomatoes for Your Garden and Table

The post Select the Best Tomatoes for Your Garden and Table appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

Sliced, sauced, or cooked in your favorite recipe; tomatoes are a favorite and versatile vegetable. What’s more, they taste best when grown and harvested from your own garden or container.

Ensure the best flavor and greatest results by selecting the most disease-resistant varieties and growing your tomatoes in full sun and moist, well-drained soil.

Select plants with the growth habit that works best with your garden space and gardening style. Determinate tomatoes are perfect for small-space gardens and containers. They grow to a certain height, stop growing, and produce their fruit over a relatively short timeframe. Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow throughout the season, producing flowers and fruit until you prune out the tip or frost kills the plant.  Stake or tower the plants to save space, reduce disease and insect problems, and make harvesting more convenient.

Further narrow down your selection and grow varieties best suited to the intended use.  Plant tags often provide recommendations. Or, save time and do a bit of research before visiting the garden center.  The Bonnie Plant Tomato Chooser can help you select the best tomato for your growing conditions and the intended use.

Bite-sized tomatoes are great for salads, relish trays, and snacking. Red Robin and Sweet ‘n Neat produce clusters of red cherry tomatoes on compact plants. Grow them in containers or even a window box.

Tumbling Tom Red and Tumbling Tom Yellow cherry tomatoes are compact, cascading plants that create an attractive edible display in tall containers, hanging baskets, or window boxes.

Grow the explosively sweet Sun Gold and Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes. They’re the candy of the garden and will get even your most reluctant family members, young and old, to eat their tomatoes. Stake or cage these tall plants and, if space is limited, grow them in a 24-inch-diameter pot.

Paste and sauce tomatoes have meatier fruit, making them perfect for sauces, soups, and preserving. Roma is the traditional favorite. The egg-shaped fruit has thick walls and few seeds. Use them during the growing season for sauces, chop and add them to an omelet, or can and freeze them for future use.

Expand your options with San Marzano heirloom paste tomato.  Popular with gourmet and home chefs, the sweet, complex flavor makes a fabulous sauce.  Chop a few and add them to salads, or slice and top your favorite sandwich. You’ll enjoy the flavor and versatility of this tomato.

Grow a few slicing tomatoes. Most gardeners look for large, juicy tomatoes to enjoy on their sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, and salads. Look for varieties that are suited to the growing conditions. Solar Flare and Creole are heat-tolerant and keep producing despite high summer temperatures. Start picking tomatoes as soon as 65 days after planting by growing short-season varieties like Early Girl and New Girl tomatoes.

An All-America Selections winner, Celebrity, has great disease resistance and is an excellent all-around tomato. Grow this determinate tomato in a cage, or stake the plant to save space.

Heirloom varieties have been grown for more than 50 years and have maintained their original traits and popularity. Cherokee Purple’s rich flavor rates high in taste tests. The dusky pink fruit with deep red interior looks as beautiful as it tastes.  Add some fun and sweet flavor with Mr. Stripey.  The irregular striping of the red and yellow beefsteak-type fruit make this a popular choice.

So, gather your favorite recipes and create a list of both longtime favorites and new tomato varieties to include in this year’s garden.

 

Melinda Myers has written over 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Bonnie Plants for her expertise to write this article. Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com

Photo Credit:  Bonnie Plants

The post Select the Best Tomatoes for Your Garden and Table appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
Grow Your Own Tropical Paradise in a Container or Garden http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/grow-tropical-paradise-container-garden/ Thu, 02 Mar 2017 12:41:42 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=29649 By Melinda Myers Add an exciting new look to your garden, poolside, patio or deck with elephant ears.  These easy tropical plants have tall stems and giant leaves that measure up to two feet across. You can use them to create an instant focal point in the garden, screen an unwanted view, or extend a … Continue reading Grow Your Own Tropical Paradise in a Container or Garden

The post Grow Your Own Tropical Paradise in a Container or Garden appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

Add an exciting new look to your garden, poolside, patio or deck with elephant ears.  These easy tropical plants have tall stems and giant leaves that measure up to two feet across. You can use them to create an instant focal point in the garden, screen an unwanted view, or extend a bold welcome at the front door.

Elephant ears can be grown in containers as well as the garden, so if space is an issue, try some of the more compact varieties like Hawaiian Punch. You’ll appreciate the impact this three-foot tall plant makes with its red stems and bright green leaves with dark red veining.

Or go big with six-foot tall Black Stem. Its smooth blue-green leaves are displayed atop striking purple-black stems. Variegated varieties are another option. The unusual foliage of Mojito, is decorated with blue-black dashes and splashes. No two leaves are alike on this beauty. For even more color and drama, don’t miss Black Magic. Its dark, blue-black leaves measure 2 feet across and can grow up to 5 feet tall.

Photo credit for all images is: Longfield-Gardens.com
Black stem photo Cutline: Elephant ears, like this Black Stem variety, can be grown in the garden or in containers.

These are just a few of the many varieties that are well suited to home gardens. In warm areas (zones 9 to 11) elephant ears can be grown outdoors year-round. In cooler areas (zones 4-8) the plants are grown as annuals or can be brought indoors for the winter.

Give these bold beauties a space of their own or combine them with other interesting foliage plants such as caladiums, coleus, larger begonias, trailing sweet potato vines and other annuals. The fine leaves of ornamental grasses, such as shade tolerant Japanese forest grass and sedges, contrast nicely with the elephant ears’ bold leaves.

Elephant ears are tropical plants that need warm soil and plenty of moisture all season long. They are happy to grow in sun or shade, though in hot climates the leaves need to be protected from midday sun. Fertilizing every 2 to 3 weeks will help your plants reach their full potential.

Elephant ears are available as spring-planted bulbs or as potted plants. The baseball-sized tubers can be planted outdoors after all danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed to at least 65°F. Prepare the soil by adding compost or other organic matter prior to planting. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the tuber and plant it pointy side up. The top of the tuber should be about an inch below the soil surface.

If you live in a cold climate and want to get an early start on the season, plant the tubers in containers filled with well-drained potting mix and grow them in a warm, sunny window for 4 to 6 weeks. Move the plants outdoors when the soil is warm and the danger of frost has passed. Visit Longfield-Gardens.com for more information on elephant ear varieties, planting tips and lots of inspiration.

Your tropical paradise awaits! Just choose a few containers or locate some spots in the garden where you can include these bold-leafed beauties. Before you know it, you’ll be sipping your favorite beverage in your very own tropical garden.

Melinda Myers has written numerous books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Longfield Gardens for her expertise to write this article.  Myers’ website is www.melindamyers.com

The post Grow Your Own Tropical Paradise in a Container or Garden appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
Grow a Healthy Lawn with the Help of a Professional http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/grow-healthy-lawn-help-professional/ Thu, 02 Feb 2017 13:12:08 +0000 http://www.forkedrivergazette.com/?p=29369 By Melinda Myers Lawns are the canvas upon which our landscapes are created. They provide living walkways, play areas for the family, energy savings and environmental benefits by capturing soil and water, preventing it from entering our waterways. But limited time and environmental concerns often prevent homeowners from growing a green healthy lawn.  If this … Continue reading Grow a Healthy Lawn with the Help of a Professional

The post Grow a Healthy Lawn with the Help of a Professional appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>
By Melinda Myers

Lawns are the canvas upon which our landscapes are created. They provide living walkways, play areas for the family, energy savings and environmental benefits by capturing soil and water, preventing it from entering our waterways.

But limited time and environmental concerns often prevent homeowners from growing a green healthy lawn.  If this is your challenge, consider hiring a lawn care professional to lend a helping hand.

Start shopping for a professional lawn care service now. Allow sufficient time to find the best company for your needs. Plus, quality companies are in demand and fill their schedules before the growing season begins.

Photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC Trained landscape professionals can help provide that lush, green lawn many homeowners are striving for.

Look for a company whose mission matches your landscape goals. They should work with you and not try to pigeonhole you into a program that works best for them.

Select a company that shares your environmental concerns. If eco-friendly is your goal, look for a company that uses slow-release fertilizers, spot treats weeds at the proper time, and uses the most ecofriendly products available.

Make sure the company you choose works to build the overall health and longevity of your lawn. Growing and nurturing a healthy lawn means fewer weeds, insect and disease problems. A quality company encourages you to leave clippings on the lawn to add moisture, nutrients and organic matter to the soil. And they recommend aeration only if it is needed to control thatch and soil compaction which can reduce the health and quality of your lawn.

Visit their website to find out more about the company, their employees and mission. Check the credentials and training of the company and its employees. Employees should be experienced and trained as well as certified and licensed applicators. Companies involved with professional organizations like the Wisconsin Landscape Contractors Association invest in their profession, the company and employees to stay up to date on the latest trends and techniques.

Review references and testimonials. Companies with satisfied customers will have a high retention rate. Look at portfolios of completed jobs, photo galleries on their website and testimonials from clients.

Make certain the company is insured. If a problem arises, you need to make sure everyone is covered.

Most importantly, when comparing bids, make sure the companies are equally qualified and providing all the same services and long-term benefits in the bid. The cheapest bid may not give you the results you want and it could even cost you more in the long run.

Use this checklist when selecting a lawn care professional. Once you find your match, you can start planning fun activities to fill the time you save tending your lawn.

Gardening expert Melinda Myers is the author or more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything: Food Gardening For Everyone” DVD set and the nationally-syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Her website is www.melindamyers.com.

The post Grow a Healthy Lawn with the Help of a Professional appeared first on Forked River Gazette.

]]>