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.

Additional Gardening Info:

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

Ways to Connect

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.

Allen Szalanski / Entomology Today

Baby Birds that mimic caterpillars? Flowers that trick insects into pollinating them? A sure-fire lure for bedbugs? Boulders that power the landscape? It's all on The Zesty Garden today with USU Extension Entomologist Diane Alston along with Nancy Williams with Petals and Prose.

Sign up for Daily Insect Tidbits Here

Photo of Wassail

Today on the Zesty Garden is a smattering of readings from our Petals and Prose crew along with a recipe for delicious Wassail. 

Aunt Kathryn's Wassail

-1/2 gallon fresh-pressed apple cider (unpasteurized, if possible)

-1 six oz can lemonade with accompanying 3 cans water

-1 12 oz can orange juice with accompanying 3 cans water

-2 more cups water

-1/2 cup sugar

-12 whole cloves

-3 cinnamon sticks

-1 tsp nutmeg

Mix all ingredients together. Bring to a simmer. Let steep for a bit and serve.

A book image of Bugged by Sarah Albee
Sarah Albee

Ants that act as sutures? The bark of a tree that cures malaria? Napoleon eventually defeated because of insects? On today's Zesty Garden is an interview with Sarah Albee, author of the book Bugged: How Insects Changed History. Learn how insects have changed world history. This is not your everyday history book. 

We also look at Pulsatilla in Going Native! then Nancy Williams reads an essay about acorns and the seasons in Petals and Prose.


Zombie ladybugs, a butterfly that changes it spots, and daddy longlegs that use glue to capture prey. These aren't tabloid headlines; They are all true! USU Extension Entomologist explains the fascinating insect world and we introduce the new Zesty Garden module, Bug Bytes. We also look at the gymnocalcium, or globe cactus, in The Green Room as an addition to your home, then in Petals and Prose, Helen Cannon concludes her series on Victory Gardens during World War II.

Coffee for roses- false ideas about your garden
C.L. Fornari

Would you plant your peppers with matches in hopes of hotter fruit? How about a sweeter tomato by watering the plants with sugar water? These are two gardening myths dispelled in the new book by C.L. Fornari, Coffee for Roses and 70 Other Misleading Myths About Backyard Gardening. There are probably more than a few myths that you actually practice on a regular basis.

Utah is home to 18 species of bats. Today on the Zesty Garden, Michael Wolfe helps us understand this often misunderstood mammal. In Yes You Can!, it becomes a little more clear from Adrie Roberts why your jars sometimes don’t seal. Then Helen Cannon in Petals and Prose continues with victory gardens in World War II and the sacrifices everyone made.

Mark Anderson from Anderson Seed and Garden helps you finish up your fall yard task listm  Adrie Roberts from USU Extension has tips for using a large pressure canner, and Nancy Williams reads a favorite essay on Petals and Prose. There's also a recipe below for Wensley Cake.

See Recipes for Wensley Cake and Acorn-Pumpkin Bread Below

On today's Zesty Garden... Tillandsia is a great plant for the bathroom on The Green Room; Take care of field bindweed in the fall (right now!) with Taun Beddes of USU Extension; Plant the Southwestern White Pine in your landscape with Going Native!; Learn how freezing can capture vegetables and fruits at their peak in Yes You Can!; and listen to how victory gardens were essential to sustaining families during World War II in Petals and Prose.

Pressure canners, insects, crows and a Tuscany garden all make there appearance in today's Zesty Garden.

Click Here for Link to Interesting Insect News

Dan Drost discusses putting the garden to rest; Canning tomatoes correctly comes from Adrie Roberts; and Beatrix Potter, Part III from Helen Cannon is on Petals and Prose.

Learn about pumpkins (soup recipe included!), an easy-to-grow dracaena, the pinon pine, and food preservation.


From Too Many Tomatoes: A cookbook For When Your Garden Explodes

(Serves 6)
1 medium winter squash
3 tart green apples, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
4 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp curry
Bake the squash at 425ºF until done — 45 minutes to an hour. Halve, remove pulp and seeds. Set aside.
Combine the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 45 minutes. Add squash pulp. Blend well in blender. Reheat before serving.

Orange Sneezeweed on Going Native!, how apple cider is made, and Beatrix Potter...today on The Zesty Garden.

The Saucy Southerner

Tomato pie, discount plant cautions, and a discussion about bees and the Varroa Mite highlight today's Zesty Garden.

Tomato Pie Recipe Link

USU Extension Vegetable Specialist Dan Drost talks about garlic and ripening issues, then Helen Cannon explores the gardening world of Beatrix Potter and it's influence on the author's writing.

Read USU Extension Article on Garlic

Utah Farmer's Markets