Blueberries – Superhero/MN state muffin

Thu. May. 22, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Blueberries – Superhero/MN state Muffin

The Blueberry is the antioxidant  superhero and Minnesota’s state muffin.  Growing blueberries in Minnesota DOES offer it’s challenges if only that the soil likely needs amending.  Ideally the pH is 5 or 6 to grow this delicious fruit.  In Minnesota, most of us have alkaline soil which has a pH level of 7.

But the University of Minnesota has created some delectable varieties for Northern Gardeners everywhere.  Just get a soil test and make amendments!   … [Continue reading]

Pollinator plants

Wed. May. 21, 2014

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Whatever all the reasons are for the bee decline or colony collapse, we can still plant for pollinators.  That includes butterflies and hummingbirds!

Planting native species is a good thing and there are plenty of nurseries that offer good native stock.   Check out my Favorite Links tab.

I talked this week about Monarda and it’s attraction to bees (as well as butterflies and hummingbirds).  Today let’s talk Echinacea.

While there is a native Echinacea aka Coneflower to our area, there  … [Continue reading]


Tue. May. 20, 2014

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There are likely several factors for the Colony Collapse or bee decline.  That is my unscientific yet, I believe, common sense belief.

Neonicotinoids, also called neonics, are a large part of the discussion. This type of insecticide is a systemic, meaning that it is taken up into the plant itself making the entire plant toxic to insects such as aphids, and by the looks of things, bees.  Neonics attack the Central nervous system causing paralysis and death.  They were the  … [Continue reading]

Bee friendly gardening

Mon. May. 19, 2014

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The bee decline or colony collapse is real and while scientists still debate all the reasons why, we can be proactive and plant to attract bees.  Bee friendly gardening is one of the top trends for 2014 gardening.

Monarda aka Bee Balm (I know, makes sense doesn’t it?!) is one of the top bee attractors and beautiful to boot!

Monarda 'Jacob's Cline'

The above picture is my Monarda ‘Jacob Cline’.  It’s a gorgeous red that smells marvelous and, although it was supposed to  … [Continue reading]

Dirt does a body good

Fri. May. 16, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Dirt does a body good

Finally, research confirms dirt’s good for you…  even eating it is okay.  Well, so long as you don’t over indulge!

good dirt!

There’s a certain bacteria in soil that reportedly raises serotonin levels in the brain leading to a more relaxed and happy kid (or adult).

The National Wildlife Federation reports that bacteria along with parasites and viruses help build strong immune systems.  Kids that are kept in an ultraclean environment are more likely to  … [Continue reading]

Hankerin’ for Hydrangea

Thu. May. 15, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Hankerin’ for Hydrangea

Bounce down any street in Minnesota and you’ll likely meet a lot more smiles now that the weather has finally turned!  Oh, I know we could have severe weather but our bodies have been waiting for these warmer temps and our fingers itching to get into the soil!

I’ve been tempted by a couple of hydrangea.  ‘Incrediball’ is an apt name for this gorgeous arborescens.

Hydrangea 'Incrediball'

The green to white to green blooms on this baby are an  … [Continue reading]

Fertilizing annuals and perennials

Wed. May. 14, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Fertilizing annuals and perennials

Yes, there’s a difference.  Because annuals live their entire life cycle in one season, they do well with more fertilizer treatments.  Also, if they’re in containers, the fertilizer runs out much quicker.  Perennials have the advantage of establishing their roots deeper in the soil and the fertilizer lingers longer.

The Donahue sisters compete with each other creating containers

Always follow package directions OR use less!  Never use more.  For great blooms, use a 10-20-10 fertilizer.  The middle number is phosphorus and is responsible for fruits,  … [Continue reading]

Lawn care – reseeding and fertilizing

Tue. May. 13, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Lawn Care – reseeding and fertilizing

Go ahead and rake your lawn but still be fairly gentle with those grass roots, unless you have mostly weeds, then metal rake away!

  • You can reseed your lawn  but make sure you’ve got good seed to soil contact and you’re using the right seed to fit the area’s sun/shade conditions.
  • lawn prep
  • Late May or early June is the first time you should put fertilizer on your lawn.   If you fertilize too early, you’ll wind
 … [Continue reading]

Lawn care – post emergent herbicides

Mon. May. 12, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  Lawn care – post emergent herbicide

You can put down a post emergent right now while the weeds are young and actively growing.  A liquid is best as the herbicide must be absorbed through the leaves but that’s not always practical for homeowners.  When applying a post-emergent, the air temperature should be 60–80 degrees and there should be no rain in the forecast for 48 hours.   You also need a windless day to avoid drift over to your neighbors prized  … [Continue reading]

APB on Grecian Foxglove

Fri. May. 9, 2014

Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show:  APB on Grecian Foxglove

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been doing a series on noxious weeds in Minnesota and this flower is on their hit list.

Native to central and southern Europe, it’s been found growing in roadsides, residential yards, grasslands, and forest margins along the St. Croix and Mississippi Rivers.

Grecian Foxglove plants

Grecian foxglove contains compounds used in cardiac medicines, yet it’s also poisonous to humans, livestock, and wildlife, and, as stated by the Dept. of Ag, “ is a  … [Continue reading]