We’ve had some super hot days recently. According to the weather folks, 11 days have had temperatures in the 90s, with more in the forecast. After working in the garden on a hot day, I like to enjoy infused water to cool me down. We all know we need to stay hydrated when outside on…

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If you’ve ever seen photos of lavender fields in Oregon or other much more temperate climates that ours, you know how delightful this perennial herb can look. With its deep purple flowers and scented foliage, lavender is a dream plant for many northern gardeners. Now, that’s not to say, it cannot be grown in the…

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Once while poking around my vegetable garden, I noticed the parsley was looking sparse. I hadn’t harvested that much, had I? Closer examination showed it wasn’t me, but a very hungry caterpillar who had been chomping on the parsley. Since then, I’ve always planted extra parsley—for the caterpillars and also for other critters who hang…

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Our Northern Gardener copy editor Julie is a basil fiend. She grows lots of basil and freezes bags and bags of pesto for winter eating. But sometimes, even a noted pesto aficionado wants to do something different with her basil stash. Searching for a new take on her favorite herb, Julie found this basil recipe…

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Groundbreaking Food Gardens (Storey 2014) by Canada-based blogger and garden writer Niki Jabbour is one of the best books for beginning (and experienced) food gardeners that I have seen in a long while. Subtitled 73 Plans that Will Change the Way You Grow Your Garden, Jabbour’s book plumbs the ideas of dozens of garden designers,…

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Recently, I had a chance to hear University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Shari Mayer from Dakota County talk about growing and using herbs. Shari has been a big part of the herb gardens at UMore Park for many years and does a lot of experimenting with herbs at her home. Her talk was filled…

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  For vegetable gardeners on mature lots, deciding what to plant can be tricky. Most vegetables need a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight per day and the more sun the better, especially for things like tomatoes, squash and green beans. If your lot has lots of trees, it may be hard to…

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One of the more unusual herbs shown at the MSHS Educational Display at the Minnesota State Fair is patchouli, a tender perennial that is often used in perfumes and is grown for its fragrant leaves. It is often associated with incenses of the 1960s and its hippie roots. Patchouli (Pogostemon heyneanus) is a member of the…

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Culinary sage (Salvia officinalis) is one of the hardiest herbs. Though not 100 percent reliable as a perennial in Minnesota, growing sage is relatively easy — and it has so many uses in the kitchen and beyond. Of course, we are all familiar with sage as an flavoring in Thanksgiving turkey stuffing, but it also…

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The MSHS Educational Display at the Minnesota State Fair is particularly interesting this year for herb gardeners. We have about 30 different herbs growing in pots, from garden regulars like sage to unusual options, such as patchouli or coffee plants. One favorite indoor herb is aloe. Many indoor gardeners grow aloe for its striking form,…

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