Megan Frank

Ear to the Ground: November-December 2016

by Megan Frank on November 4, 2016

As the end of outdoor gardening season nears, I like to plan how I’m going to keep my life “green” during the cold winter months. One of my favorite things to do is bring in herbs to continue enjoying them year round – not to mention the warmth of refreshing mint tea when snowflakes are flying. I recently invested in an A-frame plant stand for a more streamlined setup—best decision I’ve made for indoor growing to date. They come in all different heights and widths, number of shelves, and materials. Do you have a favorite or tried-and-true indoor gardening/growing tip? Are you willing to share it with the rest of the UGJ community? Is there a better way to melt away the cold weather blues than keeping the gardener in us aglow? I sure don’t think so! Send your “secret” tips via email to or via our Facebook page.

On another note, it wouldn’t be a holiday season without a few gifts for the gardener ideas. There are many out there, but here are my favorites right now:

Garden Clogs—I know gardeners are very divided on the need for such footwear, but I’m all for them. It’s hard not to smile when you slip your bare foot (my preference) into a brightly colored pair for a day in the garden. Easy to rinse, dry, repeat!

Suet Bird Feeders—For me, birds and gardening go hand in hand. I wouldn’t want to sit on my patio, admiring the fruits of my labor, without the sound of birds chirping in the background. Jane (yes, that Jane) introduced me to suet feeders and I haven’t stopped recommending them to others. Also, they’re a great alternative when traditional feeders aren’t allowed.

The Gardeners Collection by Crabtree & Evelyn—I have enjoyed these products since before I had my own garden—thank you, Mom, for the introduction. I will always use the ultra- moisturizing hand therapy, and you can never go wrong with it either. There are a few new products in the line, with the hand primer topping the list for me. Honestly though, I’m sure any gardener would enjoy them all.

Thank you for another great year for us at Upstate Gardeners’ Journal! We look forward to 2017!



Ear to the Ground: September-October 2016

by Megan Frank on September 12, 2016

Last year, I asked our readers to send me some of their home remedies for stink bug control. I was shocked to see just how many people have issues with stink bugs taking up residence where we’d rather they not – or at least that’s the general consensus. As temperatures start to dip, the little critters will begin their search for a warm cushy place to hibernate. Here are some natural ways to keep them from calling your house their own:

Hot pepper spray - Hot peppers kill the stink bugs, when sprayed on them. Make a hot pepper solution by diluting the peppers in water. Spray this solution onto the stink bug, it will burn the exterior of the bug and kill it immediately.

Damp towel – Soak a towel in water and remove the excess water. Now hang the damp towel in the garden. In the morning, you will find it full of stink bugs. Put the towel in soapy water and pour the water in the drain.

Garlic – Garlic has a strong odor and can drive away stink bugs, and many other insects. To make a solution, mix four tablespoons of dry garlic powder in two cups of water. Pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray it in the garden, near the entrance of your house and other places from where the bugs can enter. Repeat again after every three days, until the bugs disappear.

Mint – To make a solution, mix 2 teaspoons of freshly crushed mint leaves or 10 drops of liquid mint into 2 cups of water. Spray the solution in all the places, where you may find stink bugs.

Always keep the bushes and weeds in your garden trimmed, so the bugs don’t have a place to lay their eggs. Turning lights off at night help to keep them away as they are attracted to light. Hopefully we’ll all see a decline in the population – at least in our homes!

Until next time,


Ear to the Ground: July-August 2016

by Megan Frank on July 8, 2016

This is my favorite time of year: garden fresh produce direct from my backyard! There’s nothing like a homegrown tomato picked fresh and eaten immediately – hopefully mine will be ready soon. Just yesterday the first of my cucumbers were ready to harvest, it felt like my birthday and Christmas rolled all into one. I can imagine others feel as giddy as I about their gardens, and would love to share their plot. My hope is to share garden pictures (sent by you) with our social media community. They don’t have to be anything unusual or out of this world—some of the best ideas are the simplest and can manifest into something you’ve never thought on your own. Let’s latch onto the trend (thank you, Kathy Kepler) and inspire each other through social media posts of our creations!

Please send your garden pictures to