Kale is King

Tue. Jan. 28, 2014

All hail the King!

Kale reigns supreme when it comes to nutrition packed veggies and ease of growing.  Full nutritional information is here!

Kale is a cool season vegetable so you can plant it BEFORE the last frost date and again in late summer for a Fall crop.  You can pick it’s leaves at will.

Kale types of

The above Kale “Winterbor’ is highly recommended for our climate here in Minnesota.  The following Kale also adds ornamental value, ‘Nero di Toscana’.

Vegetable garden cost comparison

Mon. Jan. 27, 2014

Someone asked me if you really save money planting your own vegetable garden.  That depends.  Things to consider:

  • how much effort will you put into creating your garden
  • how much you spend on seeds and/or plants
  • are you buying soil?  amendments?  fertilizer?
  • your time spent watering, weeding and harvesting
  • will you be building a raised bed
  • do you need to buy equipment

Your first garden will always cost more but as I noted in my radio show, the upfront cost, especially if building a raised bed, will be worth the  … [Continue reading]

Minnesota grapes

Fri. Jan. 24, 2014

The headline reads “Local grape growers brace for damage”.   While the University of Minnesota has come up with some incredible grapes hardy to our harsh winters, still, last year was pretty brutal.  Grapes such as ‘Frontenac’, ‘Marquette’ and ‘La Crescent’ are supposed to be hardy to 30 below, however, that doesn’t mean that they won’t suffer damage.   Click on the names of the grapes for detailed information from the University of Minnesota.

Grape - frontenac

Grape - marquette

Grape - la crescent

University Enology Project manager Katie Cook says the timing of the seriously low  … [Continue reading]

Enabling gardens

Thu. Jan. 23, 2014

There’s no better stress reliever than to play in the dirt!  I have often taken for granted my ability to move through my gardens easily.  Oh maybe my knees give me a little trouble now and then, but I can bend down and pluck a weed or snip a flower with ease.  Other gardeners can’t.

Gene Rothert, the author of The Enabling Garden, is the Director Emeritus at the Chicago Botanic Garden and his book is a fantastic resource for those looking to make gardening easier for themselves or loved  … [Continue reading]

Garden resolutions

Wed. Jan. 22, 2014

We’re into the 3rd full  week of January and by now most of us have already recanted those silly resolutions we made in week one!  😉  The Snickers bar wouldn’t stop calling my name!

You already know how I feel about garden journals, that was the number one resolution I suggest.  However, there are a few more, should you care to resolve!

  • Right plant, Right place.  The master gardener mantra.  Resolve to plant only those cultivars hardy to your zone – unless you’re willing to take a risk.  And there’s
 … [Continue reading]

Warming up your soil

Tue. Jan. 21, 2014

…for an early start to planting!  First, let’s review our Climate Zones.  They changed this year and it makes 1/2 a zone difference.  Check out the zone map on the right side of this page.  You’ll note that zone 4 goes all the way up to the Wadena area and the subdivisions of a and b have changed.  Essentially, the Twin Cities is the dividing line for Zone 4b/a, the Cities being zone 4b, which is warmer.

Warm up your garden soil by securing black plastic on top of your  … [Continue reading]

3 ways to ruin your garden

Mon. Jan. 20, 2014

Huh?  Only 3 ways to ruin your garden?  I already discussed soil, which is the number ONE mistake folks make by not adding organic matter, these are just a few more!

newspaper shot

  • Planting “easy spreaders” or “fills in rapidly” plants.  Better known as invasive!  These plants will take over your carefully planned garden.  There may be areas you want to plant these, you decide!
  • Tossing all your fireplace ashes on your compost is also a way to ruin your garden.  The reason is that wood ash has a high Ph.  That
 … [Continue reading]

Catalog overkill or nirvana

Fri. Jan. 17, 2014

Looks like this year’s features lean more to super foods!  I’m okay with that.

catalogs 2014


The front  page of most catalogs picture veggies or fruit!  Gurney’s is tantalizing with blueberries and blackberries.  While the ‘Patriot Hybrid’ blueberry is doable to zone 4, the ‘Black Magic’ blackberry is listed as zone 5 hardy.  This one may be worth stretching your climate zone for.  It’s touted as a double producer delivering a summer crop and  a smaller Fall crop.  They’re also heat tolerant.

Asparagus is the cover model for Jung Seeds.  The  … [Continue reading]

Catalog terms

Thu. Jan. 16, 2014

Oh the joy of receiving plant and seed catalogs in the your mailbox!  I just don’t get the same pleasure looking online as I do having that hard copy in my hand.  I know, it’s not very green of me but I DO recycle the catalogs after I’ve enjoyed them!

Catalog 2014 burpee

Catalog 2014 prairie moon

There are some terms in these catalogs that not everyone knows so here’s a mini glossary of a few:

  • Slow to bolt – this term is usually associated with lettuce and is a good thing.  It means the plant doesn’t
 … [Continue reading]

Organic Gardening test picks

Wed. Jan. 15, 2014

In my Organic Gardening magazine this month they featured some of their favorite vegetable varieties tested in gardens they chose around the country with varying climate zonesHere are a few I’m considering!

Kale ‘White Russian’ is sweeter than most kale and packed with nutrients.  It’s very easy to grow and likes it cool.  You can easily plant a spring crop and a fall crop.

Kale types of

Carrots have the highest sugar content of any vegetable except beets.  I happen to love ‘Purple Dragon’ but the OG test gardener says her  … [Continue reading]