Ask a Master Gardener: Veggie Garden Clean Up

final tomato harvest

Hello and happy pumpkin spice season to those of you who celebrate! (I definitely do.) This summer went by quickly, but what could be better than pumpkins, hooded sweatshirts and fall colors? How about potato leek soup with frost-kissed leeks from the garden, or an entire stalk of brussels sprouts? I hope you’re savoring harvest…

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BOGO Perennials

bogo perennials

The intensely seasonal nature of the greenhouse and nursery industry in our region means that many gardeners only shop for plants in spring and early summer. Planting early in the season lengthens the amount of time a northern gardener can enjoy a plant that year, so it makes sense that most of us don’t buy…

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Five Unexpected Fall Flowers for Northern Gardens


Some plants reliably look good in a northern fall garden. Asters, goldenrods, sedums, maybe a Russian sage and some grasses. Add a hydrangea with big blousy blooms and you’ve got a great fall garden in Minnesota. But what if you want something a little different, something with unexpected fall flowers and color? Hardy hibiscus Here…

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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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Ask a Master Gardener: Finding Neonicotinoid-Free Plants

monarch on tithonia

Hello from South Minneapolis, where we have finally gotten some rain and slight relief to our drought conditions. This month’s Ask the Master Gardener question is about neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides commonly used in the nursery industry as well as home gardens. Question: Where can I buy neonicotinoid-free plants for my yard and garden?…

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2022 Minnesota State Fair

2022 state fair

Can it really be State Fair time? It’s gently raining and 63 degrees as I write this (my garden is loving it, though my tomatoes may never ripen!), but we are in full preparation mode for a full return to State Fair this year. Come visit us in the Dirt Wing of the Agriculture/Horticulture Building…

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How to Build a Rain Garden

rain garden

Rain gardens collect and filter stormwater runoff from impermeable surfaces such as building rooftops and parking lots. These surfaces often contain pollutants and debris like chemicals from cars, pet waste, grass clippings, road salt, and other nutrient-heavy sediment that rainfall washes away. We can prevent these foreign particles from washing into nearby waterways by redirecting…

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4 Zucchini and Summer Squash Varieties to Try

safari zucchini

It’s late summer, and even though I’ve never been to your garden, I can predict this: it’s full of zucchini. If there’s one thing we can bond over as northern gardeners, it’s our ability to grow zucchini and summer squash in profusion. Every year it’s the same … we plant those seeds, then wait for…

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Why Save Seeds

why save seeds

As the summer days shorten and give way to signs of fall, our mature gardens wind down as well. It’s this time of the year that gardeners begin saving seeds from their own gardens or someone else’s (with permission, of course!). Why save seeds? We asked our friends at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa,…

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Helping Endangered Monarchs

monarch on sage

Photons of light race away from the surface of Sol at 186,000 miles per second. Penetrating the atmosphere, infrared light rays reach terra firma, bouncing off a milkweed plant and directly into thousands of compound ommatidia inside the eyes of a passing monarch butterfly, the plant having no choice but to broadcast the results of…

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