Tired of giving blood to miserable mosquitoes? Mike McGrath, host of You Bet Your Garden, Mike McGrath will reveal how you can fool the females into laying eggs that will never hatch into big bad biters! Plus: Mike speaks with Maya Moore, author of The Rose Garden of Fukushima, a sad, but beautiful tale of roses gained and lost in the wake of the nuclear power plant explosion in Japan. And your fabulous phone calls.
Questions of the Week:
Last summer I organized 150 of my neighbors to participate in mosquito control using the BTI strategy for which you credit Howard Garrett, “The Dirt Doctor” down in Texas. Each neighbor put out buckets of water treated with a piece of BTI dunk, which was replaced monthly. The first half of the summer was relatively mosquito free. In August the system started to fall apart when people became lax about replacing the dunks. All in all, it was a good first season, and we are getting ready to try it again this year.”
— Connie in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia
Photo: From flickr user Sean McCann
Mike speaks with Maya Moore, author of The Rose Garden of Fukushima. This beautiful hard cover book, filled with amazing images of perfect roses and Zen-like landscapes, tells the tale of one man who created a magnificent multi-acre rose garden just a few miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant; yes, the one that exploded after a tsunami struck the coast of Japan on 3/11/11. The extraordinary garden is now overgrown as it sits under the weight of invisible but deadly radioactivity. Katsuhide Okada has lost his priceless garden, but its images (and one plant he risked his life to retrieve!) live on. (Note: When we recorded the interview, the book was only available through Amazon Japan. But it just became available (yesterday!) at Amazon US–making things a lot easier for those of you who want see this beautiful book.) Learn more
Highlights from show for April 24, 2015:
Coffee Grounds as Fertilizer
John from Dayton, OH would like to know Mike’s opinion on using coffee grounds as a garden fertilizer or soil amendment when used in large amounts. Mike advises him that plants that do not flower and prefer their soil acidic are great choices for coffee grounds. He adds that plants that like acidic soil such as blueberries, rhododendrons, and azaleas are good matches for coffee grounds, however, since it is very high in nitrogen, plants that thrive in nitrogen are usually plants that do not flower, or plants one wishes to impede the flowering like potatoes, salad greens and lawns. Mike advises John that there actually is a method to neutralize their negative elements and yet receive the positive ones: “mixing the fertilizer with a tremendous amount of fall leaves. When you shred fall leaves, break them up so they are ready to make compost much faster and mix in a lot of coffee grounds as you build your pile of shredded leaves”. The finished compost will be more nutritious, the pH level will be balanced resulting in “the perfect plant growing material” Mike warns, coffee grounds alone is not recommended.
Miles in Egg Harbor Township, NJ has planted three raised beds in the past year with tomatoes, peppers and herbs. However, he confesses that he planted mint in the herb box and the mint took over leaving behind “a mass of roots.” As background information, Miles mentions he added two layers under the soil of weed barriers. So, to resolve Miles’ issue, Mike instructs him to clear out the soil of that specific bed with a shovel or machete. Miles can ” theoretically compost the soil and kill the weeds” Mike states; although, for his case it is better to put the soil with the roots inside a big plastic bag and allow it to ‘cook’ in the sun for the whole summer. After the summer has ended, it should be safe to reuse the soil once again and allow Miles with ease to sort of ‘peel away’ the weed fabric. However, before ‘peeling away’ the entire fabric Mike advises to drench the soil with water and after doing so will it be okay to peel it along with the mint roots. Then, the mint roots along with the fabric should be thrown away, and to re-line the bottom of the bed with a single sheet of cardboard. Next, Miles should fill the bed with whatever soil he wishes to start a clean slate.