You Bet Your Garden

The Wild World of Bees


Listen to the full show:

What do brown-belted bumblers; friendly flower lovers; and hemorrhoid diggers have in common? Mike McGrath, host of You Bet Your Garden will look at some of the mind-boggling members of the wild world of bees. Plus: Saving toads from potted plants; and answers to all your growing questions.


Question of the Week:

“I’m a long-time listener of your show and finally have a question for you. A toad has taken up residence in one of the potted petunias on my back porch. The pot is terra cotta; approximately 6″ tall & 10″ wide. The toad has burrowed all the way down to the bottom of the pot; I’ve seen him there every day for a few weeks now. My question is what to do with him now that winter is coming? I’ve never grown petunias before so I don’t even know how to winterize them! If I leave the pot outside, will it be too shallow to protect the toad over the winter? Should I evict him now while the weather is still warm enough for him to find a new home? Thanks!”

— Dave in Newton, Pennsylvania

Learn more about caring for potted plants »



Highlights from show:

Squash Vine Borers

Dave in Traverse city Michigan is having trouble with squash vine borers along with many of his fellow gardeners. Dave mentions he’s tried to till the soil and Mike warns not to till as that causes weeds. He hasn’t had any luck with finding eggs or using row covers. Mike explains that the squash vine borer attacks most squash and comes from a night flying moth that lays its eggs at the soil line. The borer eats a small hole into the vine and is munching away from the inside. Mike suggests in mid-May to start the plants from seed in little garden six packs with soil free mix. When the plants emerge let them grow in the containers until they are 6-8 weeks of age and then when you put them in to the ground you can wrap medical gauze around the vine. This will create a physical barrier to stop the caterpillar’s from eating into the vine.

Bare Tomato Branches

Donna from Avalon, NJ, who called in before to get tips on the tastiest tomato from Mike, has won two years in a row using Mike’s directions. This year she had no Brandywine tomatoes emerge and very little flowers. What should they do? Mike warns you can never predict the season, but says we did have some bad heat waves over the summer. Donna starts the plants in March inside and then puts them out in May. The seeds from this season were ordered for a catalogue. Mike suggests that she should buy seed from a variety of sources and instead of putting plants in the ground that came from all the same seed to maybe use all different seed types. Don’t use really long maturity times of course.

Featured Interview: Sam Droege

Mike speaks with Sam Droege, co-author of Bees: An Up Close Look at Pollinators Around the World. Sam wrote this book with Laurence Packer. This book will give readers a new appreciation for the amazing world of bees. In his conversation with Mike, Sam paints a picture of a tiny world with purple bees, tomato colored bees, bees with long noses and strange eyes. They all have a purpose in nature and partner with flowers in an intricate dance of pollination.

Magnolia Tree Trouble

Laurie in ambler PA has a magnolia tree that is four or five years old and now it’s growing and doing well, but after Laurie came back from vacation the tree looked half dead. Branches were dry and leaves had dropped. Mike wants to know was the tree in a pot or burlap and was it removed? Laurie thinks it was. Mike also wants to know if you can see the root flare and if it’s mulched? She says that there is no mulch and you can see the root flare. Laurie does admit her neighbors lawn is treated. Laurie has done most things right in the care of this tree, so Mike decides there is really nothing she can do, but wait till the Spring and see how it leafs out. He warns her not to do anything drastic and just to wait till Spring to make any decisions.






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