GLT's Grow | WGLT

GLT's Grow

From controlling critters to whacking weeds to finding just the right plant for your plot, GLT's Grow is your source for sage gardening advice and down-to-earth tips. Host Patrick Murphy and co-host Laura Kennedy are ready to take on all your gardening questions, so submit yours today. Let GLT help your garden Grow!

Support for GLT's Grow comes from Chris Holderly at Advantage Lawn & Landscape Inc., offering personalized services for commercial and residential landscape design, installation and ongoing maintenance—with a passion for all things green. Specializing in custom patios, decking and outdoor living spaces.

Forest and Kim Starr / Flickr via Creative Commons

There's sweet anticipation in waiting for a plant to bloom, especially if it's one that has never done so before.  What's it going to look like? Or smell like?  How long do we have to wait?  The questions fly as the moments tick away, waiting...

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Timing is everything in the garden, and for Karen in the Twin Cities, it's all about her boxwoods and yews. Should it be spring?  Fall? Summer? Murph has some timely advice.

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You put in plants, you have to water.  But are you sure you're getting the most our of your efforts?  Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow has some basic tips for effective watering, plus reveals the best sprinkler you can buy.

Bonnie Carroll

Bonnie in Normal is curious about what type of cultivar the cherry tree in her grandmother's yard could be.  It's early ripening with thin-skinned, fire engine red cherries.  

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It can be a great frustration to gardeners to plant two of the very same plant, only to watch one flourish and the other start to wither.  

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No gardener likes to see the nasty earwig move in. He's like the worst house guest ever --  he's a voracious eater, invites all his friends, and sports a nasty set of pincers.

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Marigolds are cheerful, lovely annuals that are often very easy to grow.  But Ruth in Normal wonders why hers aren't thriving.  Murph has some suggestions as to why the plants aren't doing at all well.

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Moss is a stunning addition to any yard.  Let it climb up rocks or sweep across the lawn in place of grass.  The color is stunning and the texture delightful.

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Our yards can be magnificent temples of flowers, trees and ornaments.  Yards can also be a verdant playing ground for weekend athletes.  You've just got to make sure your lawn is up to the task.

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The need to dig comes to every gardener.  But when it comes to wielding a shovel, are we doing it right?

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Buying gardening supplies in bulk can be a good idea, so long as you're careful about a few things.

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Grass has long been the star of many a front lawn.  And one Grow listener has had enough.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

Many college or universities offer the opportunity to tour their campus to learn about the various plantings and absorb some inspiration.

Mark Hill

When a beloved tree suffers a blow, we naturally want to do what we can to save it.

And when a nasty storm has partially uprooted a tree, we instinctively  want to find ways to hoist it up and anchor it back down to the ground.  But is that the right thing to do?

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The lack of physical space should never be a barrier to growing things.

Grow host Patrick Murphy said people living on slopes, in urban areas or folks in townhomes who have little outdoor space can still enjoy planting a small space garden.

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Mosquitoes are hogging the headlines.  

With warmer weather comes the threat of mosquitoes, bringing not just a possibility of an annoying bite, but the possibility of the Zika virus.   The CDC has issued an alert for travel to areas, such as Brazil, where the Zika virus is spreading. Zika is only one disease that can be spread by mosquitoes, and when large populations taking up residence in your yard, they can be a terrible nuisance -- and even dangerous.

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 A great way to go for boffo curb appeal is to carefully consider how you combine color in your yard. 

*Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow noted colors change constantly in our yards, depending on the light and angle of the sun.  How the sunlight hits leaves in the morning versus the afternoon can really change the hue.

*Consider the color of your tree trunks when selecting and planting new trees.  Tree trunks can be gray, brown, off white and more.

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When a tree doesn't thrive in one spot, we can try transplanting it to another.  Sounds simple, right?  Well, it isn't, as host Patrick Murphy explains on this edition of GLT's Grow.

*Curtis from Missouri transplanted a small quaking aspen tree this past fall.  Now that it's spring, it doesn't appear to be leafing out.   Curtis is concerned the transplanting may have killed his tree.

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Tomato season is fast approaching!   Let's start thinking about starts and which ones you should put in your garden.  Lee  and Nick from Wendell Niepagen's Greenhouses and Garden Center stopped by the GLT studios to chat with Murph and Laura about some new tomatoes to try.  Plus, they share some care tips to ensure a great crop of 'maters.

*Lee says there's 80 varieties of tomatoes at Niepagen's.

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One of  the most important elements of a great yard and garden is healthy soil.  In this edition of GLT's Grow, host Patrick Murphy talks about the different types of soil and why you should get your soil tested to better understand how it can work best for you.

*Soil has orders, similar to the genus in species in all living creatures.

* The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an organization called The Natural Resource Soil Conservation Service, which surveys soil across America. 

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Whether you're short on yard space or just looking for a way to give back to your town, a community garden could be a great fit for you.

*Grow host Patrick Murphy said most community gardens are for growing all sorts of edibles.  Fruits and veggies are very popular.

*Community gardens can be private, some are public.  

*There's some simple etiquette to participating in a community garden:  you've got to work to reap the benefits of the garden's harvest.

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You can make the world a more beautiful place, honor a loved one or organization or help create a living laboratory by taking part in a donor tree program.  Patrick Murphy talks about the Illinois State University Donor Tree Program, and how you can find a donor tree program near you to put some roots in the ground and make the future a little greener.

*There are donor tree programs everywhere.  The National Arbor Day Foundation has suggestions.

*Universities and municipalities and churches have these programs.

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You can randomly stick some plants in the ground and call it a garden, but you can't call it a design.  Planning and designing a yard is not just for the pros. Grow host Patrick Murphy has seven steps to a well-designed garden that will be the envy of your neighborhood.

*Measure your yard and put that on paper or into a garden plan app.

*Designate public and private areas.

*Record traffic patterns around your yard.

*Keep in mind the various views.

*Organize areas within traffic patterns.

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You've grown vegetables, fruits, and flowers, so now how about a nice cup of tea?  Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow, has advice for Kevin in Bloomington about the right plants for tea leaves.

*Murph has some good news and some bad news when it comes to growing tea:  It's tough to grow tea plants, especially in Zone 5, but if you succeed, you'll savor every cup.

*Tea plants love consistency, which you can't count on in Zone 5.

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There's no doubt that logs are utilitarian, but they can also add an artistic touch to your yard.  Patrick Murphy explores the artistic side of logs.

*Using logs as art is a great way to use the whole tree.  

*Some of the best trees to use for log art include oaks, sugar maple and other hard wood trees.  

*Another thing to look for are logs with interesting bark, like birch and pecan.  

*Let the log dry out first, then shellac to preserve it.

*Try making tomato racks out of bamboo canes.

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What important role did the Empress Josephine have in the history of rose culture?  Before you hand over a bouquet of roses to your loved one this Valentine's Day, let Murph fill you in on the fun details, plus the particular needs of this most popular of flowers.

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Larry in Shirley, IL needs advice on when he should trim his apple trees, and Murph is ready with a time table.


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You can be the ruler of your own little world by creating a terrarium.  And according to Patrick Murphy, host of GLT's Grow, it's easy to create.

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Ice -- great for cocktails, bad for plants.  When an ice storm hits, it can tear apart trees, especially when it teams up with wind.   Patrick Murphy talks damage control on this edition of GLT's Grow.

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Bigger is not necessarily better in the garden.  Shrinking your gardening ambitions down to size can be a charming alternative for those short on space or time.  Patrick Murphy and Laura Kennedy welcome a special guest to the studio to learn about miniature gardening.