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…

Read More

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?…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

A Seed of an Idea

Julia Brokaw, a Como Park neighbor and University of Minnesota Ph.D. student in the Cariveau Native Bee Lab, helped germinate over 1,000 prairie plants from seed and donate them to community projects. And that was just in 2022. The seedlings will be part of the Lawns to Legumes project with the Saint Paullinators of South…

Read More

August Garden To Dos

I normally adopt a dry farmer’s attitude—I get plants established and then let the rain do the rest. But not this year. Keeping up with watering needs has been a challenge. There was a span of a couple of days where I watered, it rained, I watered some more and by the end of the…

Read More