Mid-American Gardener

Tackling Indoor Bug Infestations and How to Care for Your Garden Tools


Martie, Kay, and Jim are in the studio this week, and they’ve got a lot to share!

One of Jim’s friends wrote to him asking why their wooden armchair is so sticky all the time. Immediately, Jim asked if she had a large tropical plant nearby. Yes! 

It turns out, the stickiness is from an infestation of soft brown scale and citrus mealybug. These pests are rather small and sometimes hard to find due to their size and nearly transparent bodies. As they mature, they produce a excreation called honeydew. On it’s own, this creates a sticky surface, but if it’s not removed, a black sooty fungus will begin to grow. 

To take control of these infestations, you can use a toothbrush to scrape the scale and mealybugs off. This isn’t practical for all plant types, so Jim also recommends a variety of sprays or granules, which can get rid of the infestation in as little as 1-4 applications.

The end of fall is a great time to get your garlic in the ground. Garlic can be planted up until the ground freezes. It is best to allow some time after planting before the ground freezes so that they get a head start. All you have to do is break off a clove (you can leave the skin on), put the stem-end down in the soil, plant them about 2 inches apart, and cover with a good thick layer of mulch. The garlic will be ready to harvest by July this summer! 

Martie also teaches us how to care for our garden shears and tools before putting them away for the season. Many garden tools can be taken apart, which makes it easier to clean and sharpen blades. Did you know that you should sharpen your shovel too? Use a flat file and push it into the face of the cutting/beveled edge. Run the file from the tip/bottom of the blade to the top edge. Now your tools will be ready for spring clean-up!

We also answer a few of your questions about growing potatoes, the best annuals for the side of houses, introduce you to a few perennial bushes with red berries this time of year, and share how to protect your trees and shrubs from the rabbits in their early years of growing. 

If you’ve got any questions for our panelists, please send us an email at yourgarden@gmail.com com, or you can find us on Facebook and Instagram.

Air Dates and Times

Channel Day Time
WILL-TV, Urbana Thursday 7 pm (live)
  Saturday 11 am (repeat)
WTVP-TV, Peoria Saturday 11:30 am
WEIU-TV, Charleston Sunday 1:30 pm
WSEC-TV, Springfield Saturday 11 am
WQEC-TV, Quincy Saturday 11 am
WMEC-TV, Macomb Saturday 11 am
Lakeshore PBS, Chicago/Northwest Indiana Friday 1 pm

Featured Entry

Looking for garden inspiration? Visit the Idea Garden!

Join us at the Idea Garden in Urbana, Illinois to get inspired! Jennifer Nelson gives us a tour, highlighting maintenance techniques, pest and weed control, ways to keep your annuals in full bloom, and the beauty of vegetable gardening.