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

Photo of New Book: Good Garden Bugs

Learn about the insects in your garden that benefit your growing efforts with an interview about Good Garden Bugs by Mary Gardiner.  On Wait, Wait...Don't Plant That!, Jerry Goodspeed disses the dastardly Bishop's Weed. Then learn how to attract birds to your yard on Petals and Prose with Nancy Williams.

Photo of tomatoes on a vine

One or two days of plus 95 degrees don’t typically adversely affect vegetables. But stretch a few days to a couple of weeks, then you’ll see heat stress issues. On the Zesty Garden, Dan Drost discusses several ways to help mitigate the heat, including mulches and, oddly enough, shade. We’ll also discuss what vegetables can still be planted this season. Then on Petals and Prose, Helen Cannon takes a second look at dormant plant packages…or seeds.

Photo of Poppy Mallow

When it comes to plants, I’ve never really had much of a problem growing them, that is…until I tried growing an orchid. I can keep it alive for a year but it gradually just dies on me. It’s kind of embarrassing for this gardening show host. However, after a conversation I had last year with Shane Taylor of Cactus and Tropicals, my orchid thumb is now green! You’ll learn today what you need to do to keep your own Moth Orchid, or Phaleonopsis, growing well. And are you considering planting a Norway Maple? Well…don’t. You’ll learn why in a revisit with USU Extension Forestry Specialist, Mike Kuhns.  In Going Native! you’ll learn about the lovely Poppy Mallow or Wine Cups (it blooms into fall with 3-4” magenta purple blossoms). In Bug Bites, it’s all about growing the right type of milkweed to help the Monarch Butterfly populations, then finally in Petals and Prose, Nancy Williams finishes with reading about bees.

Varroa Mite on Honey Bee

Seeds are a marvel of nature’s creation. Some are tough enough to withstand the blows of a hammer yet readily germinate under the right conditions. And from such a tiny object great things are produced. Helen Cannon reads a favorite essay about seeds on today’s Petals and Prose. But first is a conversation with Diane Alston, USU Extension Entomologist. Varroa mites are a major pest of honeybees. They have learned to smell like a bee in order not to be drummed out of the hive. They are essentially getting through the door and reaching the inner sanctum by using bees’ own complex communication codes, and if needed, they can change their scent within a matter of days. Then on our Going Native! segment I have a conversation with Janett Warner of Wildland Nursery in Joseph. You’ll want to consider planting the thin leaf alder in your landscape.

Photo of Two Sandhill Cranes

Herbs have different tastes to different people. Today on the Zesty Garden, I have a discussion with Darla and Michelle from our Tasty Trek series. You’ll learn how to grow herbs, both indoors and out, and how you can use them in your cooking. Even the more obscure, but readily accessible herbs, like French tarragon, should not be forgotten. And in our Bug Bites segment, I have a discussion with Diane Alston, USU’s Extension Entomologist, about some interesting studies concerning mosquitoes. A certain species has apparently learned to spread from area to area by traveling the road less traveled. And on Petals and Prose, Nancy Williams reads about the Sandhill Crane.

photo of hands with potato beans

Now that the May deluge seems to be over…at least for the time being…it’s time to turn your attention to getting those warm season crops in before it’s too late. If you’ve already planted them, in some cases it may be better to replant rather than try and nurse plants along to recovery. Today on the Zesty Garden, USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost is here to take your questions and comments. There's also a Petals and Prose from Helen Cannon about the development of the potato bean.

Photo of red raspberries

What kind of berries are grown in our climate? We know about raspberries, strawberries and blackberries…Wouldn’t it make sense that you could grow logan berries in Logan? Marion berries make a great pie. Then there are ligon berries, thimble berries, salmon berries…What can you really grow, and expect a harvest from, in our intermountain soils? Brent Black, USU Extension Fruit Specialist is in studio for today on the Zesty Garden. He’ll talk about how some berries are worth a try, but others are best left to either the bears or those living in more hospitable berry climes. Lindsay Bench, media spokesperson for the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers, talks about how well her pumpkin is coming along. It’s already six feet in length! She’ll give you some tips on how to grow large pumpkins, and least once it quits raining and you’re able to get into your garden. Then Nancy Williams reads another essay from Terry Tempest William’s Refuge.

Photo of Desert Four O'Clock

Mirabilis multiflora, also known as the Desert Four O’Clock, is a spectacular plant that doesn’t need additional water once established, and it blossoms continuously from early summer until fall. Learn about it on the Zesty Garden this Thursday at 10:00, along with bombardier beetles and trap-jaw ants with Diane Alston, and the industry of nursery-grown tomatoes in Canada on Petals and Prose.

Image of Gardener's Market

Have you ever wondered what you might find at a farmer’s market? What’s the best way to approach what and how you buy? How much cash should you have? How do you know what you’re purchasing is straight from the farm and not just being resold. These and other questions will be answered on today’s Zesty Garden by Darla and Michelle from The Tasty Trek. There's also a conversation with Kelly Kopp, USU Water Conservation and Turfgrass Specialist. The severe water restrictions in California are not far away from being implemented in Utah. Learn what you can do to reduce the amount of water you use and do much more with less. Finally, Nancy Williams honors mothers with an essay about…sparrows.

Link to Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance

A photo of cantaloupe

Now that your early crops are coming along, just what should you do to protect them? For instance, flea beetles, those little, black, pin-head sized jumpers want to ravage your arugula. Who tells them you planted arugula in your garden anyway. So…floating row covers can be a big help, without the pesticides, to act as a barrier to these and other hungry munchers of your leafy greens. USU Extension Vegetable Specialist, Dan Drost, is in studio to take your questions and comments.  For something different…It’s all about that Rhubarb, ‘bout that Rhubarb, no trouble! So what CAN you do with this easy-to-grow perennial other than make a pie. Dan will have a few suggestions. Then on Petals and Prose, Helen Cannon celebrates last month as National Poetry Month.

Rhubarb Recipes from Dan Drost

Photo of Allergy-Fighting Garden Book

Just how do you get away from all that pollen that causes allergies. Plant more female plants! On today's Zesty Garden is an interview with Thomas Leo Ogren about his book "The Allergy-Fighting Garden." We also discuss his OPALS scale that assigns a number from one to ten to each plant so you know which one has less pollen than another. Also, in Going Native! learn about the Yellow Sulfur Buckwheat, then we finish with Petals and Prose.

Photo of Black Petunias

Today's Zesty Garden includes discussions about voles, black Petunias, and how to tell if your fruit trees suffered cold damage.

Looking in a carved-out pumpkin

A spider that commits matricide? A pumpkin more than 2000 lbs? The Great Salt Lake on the Rise? Listen to today's program with USU Extension Entomologist Diane Alston.

Photo of kumquat tree

The Japanese word ‘bonsai’ is two characters that literally means, “planted, in a shallow container.”  Bonsai is an art form more than 2000 years old, and you’ll learn more about it on today’s zesty garden. First on the program, though…have you ever thought about hosting a garden party? I mean the kind with twinkling lights, white linen, small sandwiches…and dressing up? Michelle and Darla from the Tasty Trek will inspire you to greatness with your own party.  Later, author Kerry Ann Mendez will talk about her new book, The Right-size Flower Garden.  On Petals and Prose…Have you heard of kumquaticide? Helen Cannon explores an essay about how sometimes no matter what you do or how well-intentioned you are, unintended consequences can happen.

Photo of asparagus

The asparagus is pushing up; Onions need to be planted. There's a lot to do and USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost is here to help. In addition, in Petals and Prose Nancy Williams reads from Terry Tempest William's essay 'Refuge'.


USU Extension Fruit Specialist Brent Black talks about dwarfing rootstock, and expectations for the coming season. Helen Cannon reads about the allure of oranges, especially when you're unable to have them.

Image of Potato Beetle

How do insects eventually overcome the chemicals meant to kill them? Is it too late for a dormant oil spray on my fruit trees? USU Extension Entomologist Diane Alston answers your questions. In addition, journalist Nancy Williams has one last reading about Topaz, the Japanese Internment Camp that used to be in Utah's west desert.

Image of 50 best Utah Hikes book
Wilderness Press

What flowers are edible and can (or should!) be included with your cooking? Today is the first Tasty Trek with Darla and Michelle.

Link to Edible Flowers in Utah

What are the 50 best short hikes in Utah's National Parks? Listen to author Greg Witt.

Do you need solace or comfort...or just need to learn how to enjoy life? It's Petals and Prose with Helen Cannon.

USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost talks about early season vegetable planting times along with seed viability and germination. Then beekeeper and journalist Nancy Williams reads an essay on Petals and Prose about the importance of seeds in our lives.

Picture of vertical pallet gardening

Learn how to do your own fruit tree grafting with USU Extension Fruit Specialist Brent Black. Turn an old pallet into a vertical garden with garden ambassador Luan Akin from Tagawa Gardens, then listen to the last installment about the Topaz Japanese-American internment camp from Petals and Prose contributor Helen Cannon.

Picture of Woodchuck

It's a Zesty Garden modular program with  topics from marmot control, the fig leaf ficus, and adding fiber to your diet to the first animals with wings, putting artemisia into your landscape, and a little more about Topaz.

Book-Hellstrip Gardening

On today's program is a discussion about CSA's, Hellstrip Gardening, IPA insect control for stink bugs, and a glimpse into the Japanese Internment Camp of Topaz.

Click Here to Find a CSA Near You

A recipe for squash/apple soup.

USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost helps get your garden started. What needs to be planted right now. Nancy Williams reads from a favorite essay in Petals and Prose. Two recipes mentioned are noted below.

Click Here for High Tunnel Information

A Home for Hobbits

Middle Earth plants on Petals and Prose, get your cabbage crops started, and eating a healthy breakfast on Yes You Can! are the fare for the day on Zesty Garden.

Monarchs on Flowers

Growing a butterfly garden... vegetables to grow indoors...   and coyotes.