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]

Composting is cool

Tue. Jan. 14, 2014

Another garden trend that has been going on for a long time, seems to be kicking into high gear.  Here’s an interesting fact, Organic matter decomposing in landfills generates 16.2% of the nation’s emissions of methane greenhouse gas.  In New York City, they bury at least 1.2 million tons of food waste each year at $80 a ton.  It could all be recycled and used in various ways.

The Mulch Store has one of the most impressive organic waste recycling facilities in the nation and they’re right here in Minnesota!   … [Continue reading]

Growing a garden with kids

Mon. Jan. 13, 2014

Growing gardens with kids isn’t new but the approach has been changing.  From the kids being told to weed their parents gardens …

  … to creating community gardens at school.

And now Minnesota teachers have an exciting new resource for planning, planting and harvesting a school garden with their students.  Oh, and so do you!
 This (free) downloadable guide, bursting with delicious ideas, is great for anyone to use.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has published the new comprehensive garden guide: Minnesota School Gardens: A Guide to Gardening and Plant  … [Continue reading]

Protecting your plants

Fri. Jan. 10, 2014

Going into winter in drought conditions in NOT good for our plants.  They’re stressed out!  For them it’s like the holidays on steroids.  Often when a Master Gardener gets a diagnostic question like “how come my plant/tree/shrub is dying?” – it’s more than one thing.  Plants that are stressed are weakened and more susceptible to disease and pest damage.

It’s too late to give our plants any more water as the ground is pretty well frozen, however, if you haven’t mulched yet, now’s the time!  And remember….

Donut GOOD

May  … [Continue reading]