Fairies and Freak-outs


Bugs. I’m not generally a fan – I don’t want them in my house, my hair or my stuff – and it’s taken a lot of maturity, mini-freakouts and online gardening (read: counseling) groups to come to the acceptance that sometimes we want them around us and our garden. And sometimes we don’t. I admit,…

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How to Outsmart Squirrels

garden squirrel

Resistance may be futile, but try these tactics for keeping squirrels out of your garden. I like to imagine what a squirrel real estate listing for my backyard would look like: … Mature silver maple tree with several nice south-facing holes, excellent sheltered sunlight in winter. Heated birdbath nearby provides ample water year-round. Black dog…

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Japanese Beetle Solutions

Japanese beetles on zinnia

Do you have Japanese beetles in your garden? I’ve had them for many years now, and I’ve tried several solutions for dealing with them. I’m happy to report that I’ve found a solution that helps. “Helps” is the key word. This method doesn’t eliminate them, but it definitely reduces the number. Tell-tale leaf damage from…

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Garden Solution: Spider Mites

Populations of spider mites go up and down from year to year. In 2018, for example, an abnormally dry summer led to large numbers of the pests. In both my home garden and in the many gardens I tended professionally, I saw countless infestations, mostly on plants that I didn’t even know the mites could…

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Update on Jumping Worms in Minnesota

A recent article about jumping worms in the StarTribune by regular Northern Gardener contributor Gail Hudson has brought more attention to this new invasive pest and its affect on home gardeners. Here’s what we know so far, with links to additional sources of information. What are jumping worms? Jumping worms are members of the genus…

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Watch Out for Jumping Worms

Spring is a good time to watch out for jumping worms (Amynthas sp.), the latest invasive pest to hit Minnesota. As gardeners are planting potted plants, adding compost and mulch to gardens and spending more time observing their yards, they are more likely to notice the writhing jumping worms and the tell-tale soil with a…

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On the Lookout for Japanese Beetles

It’s that time of year where every trip to the garden involves an inspection for Japanese beetles. Are they here yet? So far, in my garden in St. Paul, the answer is no, not yet. Japanese beetles typically appear in Minnesota in late June or early July. They live for 6 to 8 weeks, creating…

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Battling Bunnies in the Garden

I hate to go all Elmer Fudd or Mr. McGregor on you, but I really do not like rabbits—especially in my garden. They can mow down a row of seedlings in a few hours, reproduce like mad, prune shrubs you want to grow, and drop pellets all over your garden. Battling bunnies is a major…

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