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]

From hot to cold – 2 more new plants for 2014

Thu. Jan. 9, 2014

First up is a stunning Hardy Hibiscus ‘Jazzberry Jam’ I found at White Flower Farm.

Hibiscus 'Jazzberry Jam'

This hibiscus is hardy to zone 4, grows to 5 feet tall in full sun and the blooms can reach 9 inches across!  Hibiscus die down to the ground over winter and don’t start showing up till June so don’t get nervous if you don’t see any growth till then.  They like it hot.

From hot to cold, let’s talk Winterberry.  A native shrub in Minnesota that can grow to 15 feet.  However there’s a  … [Continue reading]

Northern Gardener magazine

Wed. Jan. 8, 2014

Hands down, Northern Gardener magazine is my favorite source for garden information and pleasure reading!


The Minnesota State Horticultural Society, of which I am a member, puts out Northern Gardener magazine which never fails to give me ideas.  I was just reading some interesting facts that have nothing to do with plants but, rather, planting healthy communities.

MSHS has a program called Minnesota Green.  For 25 years this program has distributed plant material to community spaces in Minnesota.  Donations from growers, nurseries, garden centers, seed companies and homeowners  … [Continue reading]

Super foods – the new garden trend

Tue. Jan. 7, 2014

So called super foods are not new and neither is planting them.  But this year MORE people will be choosing to grow them.  What are they?  Here are just a few:

Kale is an amazing vegetable.  It’s part of the cruciferous family that includes broccoli and cauliflower.  Kale is easy to grow, loves cooler temps and sun to semi-shade.  Curly kale is on the left.  Red cabbage on the bottom with a purple dragon carrot.  yum.


For the best health benefits, the recommendation is to steam it for 5 minutes.   … [Continue reading]

Garden trends for 2014

Mon. Jan. 6, 2014

Lists and more lists to remember and forget the best and worst of last year and what’s to come for this year!  In my research for 2014 gardening trends there were plenty of different takes on what’s to come…  I like that, it means not everyone’s landscape will look the same!

Some trends are just continuing and that’s another good thing!  Such as:

  • more folks planting veggies and fruits
  • using containers to plant in for small space gardening and just for fun
  • planting natives
  • planting for a sustainable future
  • multi-purpose
 … [Continue reading]

The Victory Garden

Fri. Jan. 3, 2014

Not that long ago, from, I’d say the 1970’s thru the early 2000’s, vegetable gardening was for people with farms or suburban gardeners who grew more flowers than veggies.  It’s really changed.  Again.  There’s a revival of Victory Gardens.  From backyards to balconies.

In 1943 over 20 million Victory Gardens were planted.  The harvest accounted for nearly 1/3 the veggies consumed that year.  Today we think about our environment.  Our food, on average, travels 1500 miles to get to us.  A lot of energy is expended in processing, packaging  … [Continue reading]

Benefits of gardening

Thu. Jan. 2, 2014

Oh let me count the ways!  I have a saying, or mantra, if you will, about gardening:

“The Garden is no place to stress for success but to soak up some sun and renew your Spirit!”

The above garden changed many times but it was a favorite place to sit and renew my Spirit!

Gardening offers numerous benefits:

  • stress Relief
  • exercise
  • fresh air
  • fresh produce
  • nutrition
  • environmentally friendly
  • beauty
  • challenge in both body and mind

In my radio show I talked about the “Duchenne Smile” – it’s the one that  … [Continue reading]


Tue. Dec. 31, 2013

ACK!  Resolutions?!?  NOooooooo…………..

Alright, it’s probably not that dramatic but we tend to feel like we HAVE to resolve something at the beginning of the year.  I’m of the mindset that we can resolve anything we want at any time, we don’t need a specific date on a calendar.  BUT, since it is a New Year, how about starting a Garden Journal? ;-)

OH, I can HEAR your GROANING from here!  I can’t tell you the number of times, having a journal has prevented me from purchasing a plant I’d already  … [Continue reading]

Number one mistake in the garden

Mon. Dec. 30, 2013

Soil is the foundation by which all things grow.  Without decent soil prep, you’re not giving your plants their best opportunity to give YOU their best.  The number one mistake of new gardeners (and some of us who’ve been doing it a while) is to not prep the soil.

You can’t completely change your soil’s make-up, but you can amend it.  Adding organic matter is optimizes your plants chances of delivering whatever it is you’re hoping to get from them.

Chemical-free grass clippings, dried/chopped leaves, manure and compost can be  … [Continue reading]