We have reached the tough part of winter. The snow looks gray and gross, the sun hasn’t been out in weeks, the ice ruts in the alley are here to stay and April seems a long way off. Time for some seed shopping! Ordering seeds whether using a catalog or just perusing websites is a…

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As this long and snowy winter finally eases its grip, many gardeners are wondering how much they should adjust their vegetable planting schedule. By some reports, we are a good three weeks behind the usual weather and planting for Minnesota. Of course, many gardeners have already started seeds under lights in hopes of getting them…

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About this time of year, the itch to start seed starting hits. Those late winter snowstorms send gardeners into their basements to find their lights and flats and double check their stash of seeds to make sure they have all they want. Some gardeners can’t wait even this long, and for them there is winter…

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Judging by the new vegetable varieties being offered this year, gardens are shrinking. More varieties are being marketed for patios, pots and raised beds. Everything from tiny eggplant to mini-squash and patio peas are in the catalogs for vegetable gardeners to consider this year. Here are new varieties (or at least newish) that look especially…

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Growing lettuce is one of the best ways to get a super early harvest from your vegetable garden. Lettuce germinates quickly and reliably indoors under lights. You can also plant lettuce seeds directly in your garden or in a cold frame, but you may have to wait a bit for germination since lettuce requires a…

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While some gardeners start seeds for long-germinating plants, such as onions, as early as late January or early February, now is the best time for Minnesota gardeners to begin their seed starting efforts. For plants, such as lettuces and other greens, seeds started now can be planted out in the garden in three or four…

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If you like to have a big, colorful floral display in your garden and change it up each year, there is nothing better than annual flowers. While it’s easy to find annuals in local garden centers in six packs or flats of 24, many annuals are easy to grow from seed, which can stretch your…

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A pea is a pea is a pea, and lettuce would taste as crunchy by any other name. Apologies to both Gertrude Stein and William Shakespeare, but in the gardening world new names for peas, lettuce, (roses, of course) and many more generate excitement. New vegetables for 2016 include lots of yellow peppers and Brussels…

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This essay previously appeared in the November/December issue of Northern Gardener. By Samantha Johnson It’s winter—or it will be before we know it. When it comes, peace and quiet fill our once-vibrant gardens. Dormant bulbs slumber under a comforter of snow. Empty garden beds wait for next year. It’s the season of holidays, warm food…

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When the time comes to start seeds indoors for your vegetable garden, you’ll need a light system, trays or pots and a seed starting medium. Indoor seed starting is never done in garden soil, which is too heavy for seed starting and might carry diseases. Instead, gardeners usually choose some kind of seed starting mix.…

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