Zesty Garden

Thursdays at 10 a.m.

The Zesty Garden is UPR's original gardening and outdoors program. The Zesty Garden is more than just the usual garden conversation show.

Expect insider information about Utah hiking and biking trails along with their flora and fauna. Learn what plants you should avoid putting in your landscape with the Wait, Wait. . .Don’t Plant That! segment. Literary musings will encourage your soul and inform your mind.

To round out the hour, show host Bryan Earl will infuse his own green thumb experiences along with your questions and comments. If you want to send us a message, email zestygarden@gmail.com or call us at 1-800-826-1495.

Additional Gardening Info:

Plant Pest Advisory Sign-Up
Horticulture/Dormant Spray Demystified
Insect Vectors of Vegetable Virus Diseases

Ways to Connect

A small basket of Brussel sprouts

How do you establish a high class restaurant in an isolated small town? Throw an ice cream social for the locals! Nancy Williams reads on Petals & Prose. Also, USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost joins us for the first time in 2016.

Photo of Squash Bug Laying Eggs
Gerald Holmes, Bugwood.Org

Spider and prey DNA in the spider web? Stinging yourself to create a pain index? Vibrational noise to control leafhoppers? Diane Alston is on today's Zesty Garden.

Daily Digest Signup Link From Entomology Today

A book called Garden-pedia
St. Lynn's Press

A discussion about growing Christmas cacti, the new book Garden-pedia, phenotypic plasticity, and a river essay are all on the Zesty Garden today.

Photo of Screaming Yellow Baptisia

Today is the next installment of Going Native! we look at Baptisia, also known as False Wild Indigo. On Petals and Prose, we explore what happens when an editor becomes a writer. We also take an in-depth look at the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, one of the three most invasive pests in North America.

Image of Jan Brett Book, The Turnip

What do you do with that beautiful Poinsettia now that the holidays are over? How does Badger remove a giant turnip from the garden? Jerry Goodspeed, and author Jan Brett are on today's Zesty Garden along with Nancy Williams and a turnip reading on Petals and Prose.

Poinsettia Protection Link

Photo of a face mite.
California Academy of Sciences

Welcome to the new year and a new season of the Zesty Garden! Today on the show is a live conversation with USU Extension Entomologist Diane Alston about face mites and jumping wasp larvae, then Helen Cannon revisits orchids on Petals and Prose.

Photo of a bird with a santa hat on his head.

On Petals and Prose Nancy Williams revisits an essay from Gardening at the Dragon's Gate. Mark Anderson outlines some great Christmas Gifts for the gardener in our life. Bryan Dixon explains the Logan Christmas Bird Count.

Link for Christmas Bird Count Information

Image of Book, The Natural World of Winnie-The-Pooh
Timber Press

First is an interview with the author of "The Natural World of Winnie the Pooh," then a recommendation to plant the Desert Holly, and finally...an in-depth look as to why leaves are red.

Photo of a blood-sucking moth

On Zesty Garden today is Diane Alston with news about a blood-sucking moth, a natural born pest found for stink bugs, and a comparison of the natural repellents often used for mosquitoes. And on Petals and Prose, stay tuned for great information about….  Chicken. 

Link for Laurie Colwin Roast Chicken Recipe

Versailles Palace and Gardens

In 1661, Louis XIV commissioned André Le Nôtre with the design and laying out of the gardens of Versailles which, in his view, were just as important as the Château. The works were undertaken at the same time as those for the palace and took forty years to complete requiring enormous amounts of work that sometimes took whole regiments. Today on The Zesty Garden, you’ll learn how and why Versailles and its gardens were built.

Click Here for Versailles Web Site

Image of Zucchini Bread

The first general frost of the year has finally hit Cache Valley and other parts of the state. Mark Anderson will be on this Thursday’s Zesty Garden at 10am to help us close up the garden shop. There are also two recipes for  yummy zucchini bread (see links below), plus Helen Cannon reads an essay about giant pumpkin growing.

Gingery Olive Oil Zucchini Bread w/Lemon Glaze

My New Favorite Zucchini Bread w/Orange & Rosemary

Image of Book: Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening
Chelsea Green Publishing

African Violets, Tuscany, Italy, and How to Grow Nutrient-Dense, Soil-Sprouted Greens in Less Than 10 Days...  All on today's Zesty Garden.

Photo of book, Coffee for Roses
St. Lynn's Press / http://stlynnspress.com/

We revisit a conversation with C.L. Fornari about her book, Coffee for Roses...and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening. And in Petals and Prose, Helen Cannon reads about what happens when you visit the places of Thoreau.

Photo of Pumpkin Regatta
David Sullivan / Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers

How do mosquitoes use man-made roads to travel? Should you really grow Catmint? How big was this year's giant pumpkin in Utah? An essay on Cooking and Stealing? Listen to today's Zesty Garden.


No frost has been reported yet in most areas of the state, but that doesn’t mean that cooler evenings…and shorter days…aren’t having an effect. Today on the Zesty Garden, USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost helps you mitigate some of the cooling issues that might be keeping your tomatoes or melons from ripening. Helen Cannon remembers Oliver Sacks on Petals & Prose.

Link to USU Gardening App

Photo of Bio Char

How can partially burned wood help the soil and your plants? We'll look at the possible benefits of biochar on today's Zesty Garden. It’s also tomato day as we talk about how to preserve tomatoes, or consider roasting and freezing them on Petals and Prose. There’s also a recipe for a delicious tomato pie. But first, learn about the results of a small fruit taste panel. Which berries were voted the most flavorful?

Link to Tomato Pie Recipe

Link to Raspberry Trial Info

Photo of a split coconut

Why are there so many species of stink bug (ask Diane Alston)? What is the best way to can tomatoes (from Adrie Roberts)? What is a coconut (Petals and Prose)?

Image of Almond Joy Candy Bar

Sometimes you feel like a nut, but not when you’re a coconut. Disect an Almond Joy in Petals and Prose, in addition to landscape architecture in India, and how to eat (not pull!) weeds.


Photo of Winter Squash

Hopefully, you harvested your garlic back in late June/early July. But if you’ve never planted garlic before, when is the right time of the year to put it in the ground? How about right now! Dan Drost, USU Extension Vegetable Specialist is in studio today and will help you with your gardening questions, including how to pick and store winter squash. Jack Greene joins us for a conversation about Utah’s fall colors. Then we revisit a Petals and Prose as Nancy Williams reads from How Carrots Won the Trojan War.

Photo of the book: The Triumph of Seeds
Basic Books

A Seed is a Seed is a Seed? Not all are created equal. Some won’t last a day without staying moist while most keep out moisture as they remain in stasis for days, months or even years. A seed can be thought of as a baby plant inside a box, with its lunch. Some have not touched a bit of their lunch while others have consumed everything, including the thermos! On Petals and Prose today, Helen Cannon reads about how seeds germinate, especially the avocado. But first we’ll have a conversation with USU Extension Fruit Specialist Brent Black. Have you ever considered using a container to grow fruit? Then we’ll hear from Grant Cardon on the state of our soils. Why are they the way they are? He’ll have some important information on the use of chelated iron.

Image of Crane Fly

The cultured landscapes that surround our homes are, for the most part, not native. While many of the plants in these landscapes look beautiful, they usually require a LOT of extra water, and they don’t attract the insects that are needed by native bird species to survive. In the Petals and Prose segment of Zesty Garden, learn what can happen with just a little bit of change. Native birds come back! But first…  When is a giant mosquito not a giant mosquito? USU Extension Entomologist Diane Alston is in studio today to discuss the Crane Fly.

Photo of Atlantic Giant Pumpkin
Lindsay Bench

What’s orange, is watered about every 10 minutes, and has a baby-cam posted so parents can see how it’s doing. It’s a giant pumpkin! Today we check in with Lindsay Bench from the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers to see how her pumpkin is doing. Then Dan Drost will give some tips on how to pick a ripe melon.  He’ll also help you get over the loss of your tomatoes to curly top. In Petals and Prose, Janett Warner recommends the Blue Grama Grass. Then on Petals and Prose, Nancy Williams re-visits the San Francisco Zen Center of Green Gulch Farm with a reading from Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate.

Photo of Edith Warner's Chocolate Cake

Heat has a way of both helping and hindering your vegetables. On today’s Zesty Garden, USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost explains why knowing what you’re growing can help you mitigate what Mother Nature may want to throw at your garden. Then in Petals and Prose…Today is the 70th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan. Nancy Williams reads from an essay about a woman who lived close to where the bomb was developed in New Mexico. Look for the mentioned chocolate cake recipe!

Link to Chocolate Cake Recipe...Scroll Through Link

A photo of blackberry pie with a dolop of whipped cream.

The blackberries…they are a ripenin’. Today on the Zesty Garden, USU Extension Fruit Specialist Brent Black will talk about how to pick the perfect berry. Color may only be one part of the equation. We’ll also look at other fruit ripening issues such as bitter pit and coryneum blight. Then on Petals and Prose, take a few minutes and listen to an essay about grass as the staff of life. 

photo of red onions

What’s red, can be found in your kitchen and are beneficial as they munch through your leftovers and create a wonderfully rich compost? I’m talking about the worms of vermicomposting.  Also on the program is a discussion with Dan Drost about harvesting onions. In Going Native! you’ll hear all about including the wonderful, native Fire Chalice. Then in The Green Room it's Pathos. In our latest Insect Bites, we look at the science of Mellisopolynology (huh?). Then in Petals and Prose, it's pests as guests.