Mike’s most valuable tips and tricks

Listen 00:52:58

Are you imperiled by poison ivy? Sucked dry by mosquitoes? Mike McGrath will help negate these nasty nuisances—and reveal the best small fruits to grow, build a rain garden and more!

Questions of the Week:

“Last year, we started having problems with poison ivy around our vegetable garden. I can’t go near the stuff, so my father-in-law kindly mowed it down and covered the area with weed block and wood chips. The poison ivy simply grew up around it, and instead of being behind my garden, is now starting to encroach it. Do you have any organic suggestions for getting rid of it? Thanks for your help.”

— Laurel DWG; Billerica, Massachusetts

“One of our mulberry trees has a 4” thick poison ivy vine clinging to the bark and climbing the entire tree. It has beautiful foliage in the Fall, but my spouse is very allergic and I need to kill it off. Any suggestions?”

— Terry Martin; Southeastern Michigan

“Mike, it’s that time of year again! I’m getting over my first poison ivy rash and a friend has a bad case just starting. Can you go over the details of your poison ivy plan?”

— Elaine Wolf; Philadelphia

How to polish off your poison ivy without personal peril »

  • Getting rid of poison ivy

Highlights from show for May 31, 2014:

Interview with Lee Reich, author of Grow Fruit Naturally

Lee Reich author of Grow Fruit Naturally is a frequent guest on You Bet Your Garden and is one of our most trusted fruit experts. Lee spoke to Mike back in September of 2012 about the easiest fruits to grow for beginners. His top choices turned out to be pears and blueberries! Pears for their disease resistance and blueberries for their easy going nature.

Interview with Lauren Mandel, author of Eat Up: The Inside Scoop on Rooftop Agriculture

Lauren Mandel, author of Eat Up: The Inside Scoop on Rooftop Agriculture spoke to Mike in August of last year and got us caught up on the hottest trends in roof top gardening. She shows us how anyone can create a garden on top of their building as long as they follow safe guidelines and consult professionals to make sure the job is done right. Most important tip of all? Make sure you have access to the roof so you can carry heavy containers of water or soil or better yet get a plumber to install piping.

  • Photo by Flickr user A Roo

Interview with Lyn Steiner, author of Rain Gardens: Sustainable Landscaping for a Beautiful Yard and a Healthy World

Lyn Steiner, author of Rain Gardens: Sustainable Landscaping for a Beautiful Yard and a Healthy World spoke to Mike in February of 2012 and details the real benefits of having a rain garden in your landscape. Lyn explains that while many people think it is the answer to a wet landscape rain gardens are really better for plants that hold the water for only 24hours. The benefits to the environment are enormous and they attract beneficial insects and butterflies.

Interview with Umar Mycka, poison ivy expert

Umar Mycka has been a groundkeeper at the Philadelphia Zoo for over 40 years and is a poison ivy expert. Umar talked to Mike last year right before the annual Poison Ivy conference in Philadelphia. He explains how poison ivy appears, which is strangely tied to the flying and eating habits of birds. Also how to remove it using Mike McGrath’s own technique.

Interview with Howard Garrett, or “The Dirt Doctor”

Howard Garrett “The Dirt Doctor” (http://www.dirtdoctor.com/) spoke with Mike last year about the terrible issue with mosquitoes carrying west nile virus around the country and specifically in Texas where they combat the problem with aerial spraying. This is not only bad for the environment and for people, but it is not effective. Howard gives tips on reducing the population of mosquitos in your area using BT, a harmless substance that will kill them if they try to breed in water. He advises setting traps in bird baths, cat food cans or buckets. Mike loves this dastardly approach!

  • Photo by Flickr user m0nt2

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