Soil – the Foundation of Life


Thu. Apr. 12, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Soil – the Foundation of Life

I know, I know, I’m talking about soil again!  I do, because it IS the foundation of life!  From dust to dust!

Soil  holds the keys to a plant’s ability to take up nutrients, water and oxygen.  Soil also acts as a filter for rainwater, cleaning it as it makes it’s way into our aquifers.   If you prepare your garden beds, you give your plants the best chance to, not  … [Continue reading]

Soil testing


Wed. Apr. 11, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Soil testing

If you really want to get down and dirty, get a soil test.

Well, as soon as the soil is warm and dry enough to grab samples!   It is one of the best thing you can do for your plants and yourself.  The University of Minnesota , the University of Wisconsin  and NDSU will give you a comprehensive report on what your soil consists of.

Here’s an example of the form from the U of  … [Continue reading]

Early Spring lawn chores


Tue. Apr. 10, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Early Spring lawn chores

It will warm up, it will warm up, it will warm up!  I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, only I have on GREEN shoes to click!  You checked your frost depths yesterday, right?

Today, let’s talk about what we WILL see if we have dogs.  Urine and your lawn don’t get along.

dog pee spots
the beautiful culprit!

You can buy a lawn repair kit at most garden centers or  … [Continue reading]

Dear Spring, we miss you…


Mon. Apr. 9, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Dear Spring, we miss you…

So the air temperature got down to 6 degrees last week (I’m in the southeastern portion of Minnesota)…  that’s a record by the way.  (Ya think!)

I was talking with a local nursery owner who said they’re opening today but “not really”.  The day they really think they’ll be able to take care of their customers needs won’t happen until April 21st!  (The latest he’s opened in his 50 years there).  They  … [Continue reading]

Tomato and pepper seed start time


Fri. Apr. 6, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Tomato and pepper seed start time

Nothing’s better than a homegrown tomato.  You can make that experience even better by starting your own from seed.  The best barometer for planting tomatoes and peppers outside is when the soil temperature is 60 to 70 degrees.  Usually that’s Memorial weekend in zone 4 and a week or so later in zone 3.   Planting early usually means stunted growth.  I’m going to start some seeds within the next week or  … [Continue reading]

Planting slopes


Thu. Apr. 5, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Planting slopes

If you’ve ever had to push a lawn mower up a hill you’ve probably thought, what can I plant to get out of this horrendous chore!  You’re not alone, folks are always asking about what they can plant on slopes.

pondering…

That’s a tough one.  You’re looking for plants to prevent soil erosion and yet the site is usually difficult to work on for anything including maintenance.  Adding a mix of shrubs, grasses, perennials and  … [Continue reading]

Rain gardens


Wed. Apr. 4, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Rain gardens

More and more, homeowners are planting rain gardens.   Some cities offer dollars toward funding your project as it protects our water and helps storm water drains.  Check with your city to see if THEY offer something!!!  It’s worth it.

From marshes to savannas to dry prairies, there are some wonderful choices.  You must determine, first, what your sun/shade conditions will be and know the climate zone you live in.  University of MN Extension offers a  … [Continue reading]

Frost dates, germination temps and the Year of the Beet


Tue. Apr. 3, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Frost dates, germination temps and the Year of the Beet

Throwing seeds of lettuce and radishes on your soil right now is fine, they germinate in soil temps of about 35.

Most cool season crops germinate when soil and air temperatures are at least 40 degrees and above.  Those crops include carrots, beets and cole crops like broccoli and cauliflower.

Right now, the Upper Midwest isn’t there and if you listened to yesterday’s Garden Bite, you know  … [Continue reading]

Critical freeze and Spring buds


Mon. Apr. 2, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Critical freeze and Spring buds

The last couple of years, Spring came early in terms of warm temperatures and bud break, then we had a freeze which nipped some of those buds.  2018 is a different story.  Coming out of a cold winter, many of us have still been experiencing below normal temperatures.  In fact, the Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting April temperatures to be just below normal and precipitation above normal.  Check your budding trees and  … [Continue reading]

Soil structure and drainage


Fri. Mar. 30, 2018

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Soil structure and drainage

This is a perennial topic!!

If you peruse descriptions of a particular plants needs, they almost all say, prefers “well-drained soil”.  What is that?   It’s well structured soil.  That is soil that contains enough pores, the gaps between soil particles, to allow air and water to flow freely.  Ideally, the sand, silt and clay particles are arranged so they occupy only half of the space, leaving the other half as pore space.  A  … [Continue reading]