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Happy Easter! Here's how to achieve stink bug relief

Tuesday - 4/26/2011, 4:01pm  ET

Discounted trees for Earth Day, and a trap for those pesky stink bugs

Mike McGrath, WTOP's garden guru


Meet Mike next Saturday, April 30, in Ocean Pines

Mike will get you ready to garden and answer all your questions live and in person at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Ocean Pines Community Home Show at the Ocean Pines Community Center in Ocean Pines, Md. (very close to Ocean City; come on out and wiggle your toes in the sand as well!). More information can be found here and here, where you'll find a great map of the area.

Meet Mike Sunday, May 1 in Lothian

Mike will reveal the tips and tricks you need to know to grow your healthiest, most productive, and above all, tastiest tomatoes ever at 1 p.m. Sunday at the big TomatoMania celebration at Greenstreet Gardens at 351 Bay Front Road in Lothian, Md. Many heirloom varieties will be on sale amidst two days (Saturday and Sunday) of tomato fun and foolishness, but Mike will appear only on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Maryland listeners: Get $25 off each new tree you plant!

I've got a great Arbor Day/Earth Day/Easter gift for our Maryland listeners! The Chesapeake Bay Plant More Plants program is encouraging homeowners to help the bay by planting more native trees and perennials to better manage storm water and reduce runoff.

And the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is making it easy with a coupon Maryland residents can use to take $25 off any approved tree with a price of $50 or more at any participating nursery or garden center in Maryland -- and both lists are long, so you should find the kind of tree you want nearby. My friends at Homestead Gardens (who helped develop the program) tell me they had a huge response to the offer last year and in 2009 (they've had over 1,400 of the coupons redeemed at their garden centers since the program began), and that nurseries LOVE the program. So don't be shy -- your coupons will be lovingly accepted!

You'll need one coupon for each tree, but there's no limit on the number of transactions. As long as the trees are for your home in Maryland, you can print as many coupons and plant as many new trees as you like! A direct link to the coupon is here, and here's a link to the site with the list of recommended trees and participating nurseries:

Keep stink bugs out of your house with this homemade trap

The heck with chocolate eggs! This Easter, I bring you the gift of stink bug relief!

I was recently contacted by a gentleman from Delaware who was sick of these alien pests invading his home in the fall, so he constructed a trap that intercepts them as they swarm outside. It is elegantly simple -- two big pieces of cardboard with some bracing inside and little entrance holes all around. You hang it on the side of your house, the bugs go into the holes instead of your soffits and you empty the trap into a bucket of soapy water every day. Taunt them as they drown -- insult their ancestors! (Sorry, I'm from Philly…)

He assures me that he catches hundreds a day in each trap, and it's so simple, anybody can make them. Of course, I'll remind you of this in late summer when the bugs are getting ready to invade homes to hibernate, but you can also check out the how-to video and get ready right now by clicking here.

Also check out the video:

Do tomatoes really love marigolds? Let's find out!

Pat in Kensington, Md., writes: "I grow my own tomatoes and marigolds from seed in a small homemade greenhouse. Last year I heard a lot of people complain about their terrible stink bug infestations, but I had one of my best tomato years ever. My garden had about 10 marigold and 18 tomato plants. Do marigolds deter stink bugs?"

Well, garden lore would reply with a resounding "Yes!", Pat. Legions of growers attribute mystical repellant powers to the marigold that research, unfortunately, has been unable to replicate. But marigolds are pretty flowers and do no harm whatsoever. So I encourage all our listeners to plant a few marigolds around their tomatoes and report back to me at the end of the season.

'That's no honey bee -- that's my native nester!'

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