ANNUALS

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How to Start Annuals from Seed

Starting annuals from seed can be easy and fun!

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Orange Annuals Add Oopmh!

Sprinkle in bright-flowering annuals and watch your garden pop.

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Summertime Joy: Sunflowers

Sunflowers are not only beautiful to the eye; they're also a wonderful addition to your edible garden. 

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5 Easiest Annuals to Start from Seed

Here are some of the easiest annuals to start from seed.

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Plant Profile: Annual Salvia

Like watching hummingbirds and other pollinators visit your garden? Plant annual salvia.

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Plant Profile: Spotted Jewelweed

With nectar-rich flowers, this true annual is a favorite among hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators.

PERENNIALS

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Planting Perennials in Fall

Find out about the benefits (and a few drawbacks) of planting perennials in the fall.

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Amazing Allium Webinar

Learn how to grow this showstopper in your own garden.

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Astounding Astilbe Webinar

This remarkable, easy-to-grow perennial will brighten up any shade garden.

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Perennial Salvia Cultivars

Easy to grow, low-maintenance and long bloomers, perennial salvia brighten up full- to part-sun spots.

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Salivating for Salvia Webinar

Mary Maguire Lerman shares her favorite varieties and reasons why you should weave more salvia into your own garden beds.

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Goldenrod and Asters

Author Rhonda Fleming Haye discusses why these two native perennials are a vital pollinator pairing. 

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Astilbe Cultivars

These hardy, long-blooming perennials are a colorful addition to any part- to full-shade garden.

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Growing Lilies Webinar

Landscape designer William Dougherty shares his favorite varieties of lilies and tips for growing them.

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Raucous Rudbeckia Webinar

There's a reason why so many plant this sunny showstopper.

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Plant to Pick: 'Blackhawks' Big Bluestem

Often called the "monarch of the prairie," this native grass is a wonderful addition to perennial gardens.

Cardinal Flower

Plant Profile: Cardinal Flower

With brilliant red flowers, this native perennial adds a pop of color to late-summer landscapes.

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Ornamental Onion Cultivars

Learn about three ornamental onion cultivars that are easy to grow and extend your garden's bloom time.

SHRUBS

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5 Perennials That Act Like Shrubs

Consider these northern perennials the next time you are looking for a shrub.

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Best Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

You can have a fantastic fall color display in your yard simply by choosing a variety of trees and shrubs.

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Plant Profile: Viburnum

Viburnum is a lovely group of shrubs year-round, but our appreciation for them always soars in fall.

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Iceberg Alley Sageleaf Willow

This small shrub is easy to grow and will brighten any garden with its silvery foliage.

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How to Slash and Plant Shrubs

Shrubs that have been in pots all winter are ready to go in the ground, but they need a little slashing before you plant them.

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How to Plant the Right Size Shrub

When planning a landscape, one of the most important considerations is the mature size of shrubs, trees and perennials.

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Plant Profile: Magic Magnolias

Magnolias are wonderful small trees or shrubs, which can work as spring-flowering plants for gardens in the southern half of Minnesota, as well as areas along Lake Superior.

TREES

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Plant Profile: Gingko Tree

This tough urban tree can handle salt, makes a perfect boulevard tree and offers stunning fall color and an unusual leaf shape.

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Pruning Hydrangeas

The Impatient Gardener demonstrates how to prune panicle and smooth hydrangeas.

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Plant Profile: Redbud Tree

It won’t be long before we’ll be seeing the soft pink clouds of bloom that surround the Minnesota-hardy redbuds that are so popular here in the North.

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Plant Profile: Parkland Pillar Birch

This newer birch tree is a great choice for a vertical accent, and also tolerates Zone 3 well. 

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Real vs. Fake and Minnesota's State Tree

The debate to have a real or fake holiday tree goes back to the 1930s.

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When and Why You Prune Trees

Pruning is one of those gardening topics that has an air of mystery about it. When to prune trees? Why do you prune trees? 

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Best Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

You can have a fantastic fall color display in your yard simply by choosing a variety of trees and shrubs.

VEGETABLES

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6 Tips for New Vegetable Gardeners

Just starting out? We can help.

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Handling, Harvesting and Storing Veggies

Find the most effective ways to enjoy homegrown asparagus, beans, cabbage and other crops.

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Why Grow Tomatoes in Containers

Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider growing tomatoes in a container.

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Tips for Growing Garlic

A guide to growing garlic, plus tips on harvesting, storage, and more. 

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Grow Lettuce Longer: Tips for Extending the Season

Lettuce is a fast and steady crop to grow and harvest throughout the season. 

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Shade Tolerant Vegetables

Got shade? Don't let that stop you from growing your own vegetables.

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Winter Sowing Vegetable Seeds

See how you can use inexpensive mini greenhouses to start vegetables from seed.

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Organic Edibles for Small Spaces

Join the growing trend—try growing fruits and vegetables on patios and decks, in containers and small plots.

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Vegetables to Plant for a Fall Harvest

Hoping to continue your garden's bounty? Learn about what to vegetables to plant towards the end of the summer for a fall harvest. 

FRUITS

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Grow a Rainbow of Tomatoes

Our Community Programs Director, Courtney Tchida, has grown hundreds of varieties in cold-climates. Learn her favorite kinds and growing tips for best flavor.

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Growing Day Neutral Strawberries

Strawberry plants that produce fruit all summer long? They exist and you can grow them in the Upper Midwest! Learn how.

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Organic Edibles for Small Spaces

Join the growing trend—grow fruits and vegetables on patios and decks, in containers and small plots.

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Apple Tree Pruning Made Easy

Learn how to prune your tree, look for disease and dead limbs and get as many apples as possible.

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Growing Fruits in Minnesota

Fruits are perennials, so they require a bit more commitment than vegetables. That said, they can still be well worth the effort.

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Caring for Espalier Fruit Trees

Learn how espalier creates functional, edible art on your landscape.

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How to Grow Pears

Hardy pear trees grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 and 4—and they can be even easier to manage than their relative, the apple!

HERBS

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Preserving Herbs: Ideas and Infusions

From pestos to herb vinegars, here are 4 ways to preserve herbs this winter.

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Disease Resistant Basils

Basil Downy Mildew disease and a desire for something different have led gardeners to search for disease resistant varieties of basil.

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Growing Patchouli

One of the more unusual herbs shown at the Minnesota State Fair is patchouli, a tender perennial that is often used in perfumes and is grown for its fragrant leaves.

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Plant Profile: Lovely Lemon Balm

Learn about this aromatic, easy-to-grow herb and its many uses both in and outside the kitchen.

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Plant Profile: Dill

Dill is a wonderful addition to your herb garden; it's easy to grow, beautiful, and a cooking staple. 

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Plant Herbs for Pollinators

Herbs are great plants for butterfly larvae, and they're a favorite of bees and other pollinators as well. 

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Plant Profile: Dill

Dill is a delight to grow because it blesses you in two ways: with its exquisite beauty and its extensive culinary uses. 

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Plant Profile: Lavender

With its deep purple flowers and scented foliage, lavender is a dream plant for many northern gardeners.

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Plant Profile: Anise Hyssop

This biennial herb is a popular choice among pollinators, birds, and northern gardeners. 

BULBS

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Spring and Summer Bulbs

Northern gardening guru Mike Heger shares tips for successfully growing bulbs in your garden.

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Growing Dahlias in Minnesota

Minneapolis pro "Dahlia Del" shares his top tips for growing these garden stunners in a cold-climate.

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Growing Bulbs, Tubers and Bare Roots

Tips and tricks for storing and planting...

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Growing Summer Bulbs

Try sprinkling bulbs throughout your garden for splashes of color. Here are some tips for planting and growing healthy bulbs.

HOUSEPLANTS

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Top Picks from the Plant Penthouse

Minneapolis-based plant mama Shayla Owodunni shares her top three houseplant picks and care tips for each.

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5 Easy Houseplants for Beginners

Here are five easy houseplants that are perfect for absolute beginning gardeners—and a bonus list for those slightly more advanced.

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10 Safe Houseplants for Cats and Dogs

These common indoor plants are safe for our four-legged friends.

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African Violets: Make More Plants

African violets. Could a name sound more magical? Though sometimes pegged as stuffy and old-fashioned, they are enchanting, easy-care bloomers.

BLOGS

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Blog for Northern Gardeners

We may be a little biased, but our blog is packed with great ideas and inspiration exclusively for northern gardeners. One of our most-loved resources!

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Forks in the Dirt

Minnesota gardener, educator and farmers market manager Michelle writes about local food she grows, forages, cooks and eats!

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Seed to Fork

Plant a garden, feed your soul. Writer Meg Cowden is a self-proclaimed plant enthusiast, eater of vegetables, admirer of insects and restorer of prairies.

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My Northern Garden

Gardening in cold climates isn't easy. But Mary Schier, editor of Northern Gardener magazine, helps us grow alongside her.

BOOKS

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A Year in Flowers

Cultivating a cutting garden? Or, want to create homegrown arrangements? Grab this helpful guide.

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Uprooted

A beautifully written garden memoir, this a wonderful read for an experienced gardener or anyone who loves plants and the environment.

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Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer encourages readers to consider the ways that our lives and language weave through the natural world through sharing narratives from her Potawatomi ancestors.

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The Perennial Kitchen

Beth Cooley explores how perennial foods are vital both to the health of humans and the planet in her newest cookbook. 

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Houseplant Party

Now that's our kind of party!

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The Earth in Her Hands

Jennifer Jewell shines a light on the work of 75 women in horticulture and gardening.

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New Naturalism

Horticulturist Kelly D. Norris shares ideas and inspiration for a "nature-forward" approach to home garden design. 

PODCASTS

Grow it, MN!

Grow it, Minnesota!

Mary Lahr Schier, editor of Northern Gardener magazine, helps cold-climate gardeners grow veggies. fruits flowers and more.

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What's Killing My Kale?

Get research-based solutions to pest issues affecting fruit and vegetable crops from the University of Minnesota Extension.

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Seed Stories

Discover a unique garden seed variety each episode with interviews, history, seed saving techniques and more.

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Plantrama

Science, art and dinner—it's all in your backyard.

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The Daily Gardener

Listen. Garden. Repeat. Jennifer Ebeling digs into botanical history, great gardening reads and unearthed words.

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The joe gardener Show

In this podcast devoted to organic gardening, grow with Joe Lamp'l, host of PBS' Growing a Greener World.

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Epic Gardening

Daily gardening tips and advice from Kevin Espiritu, an urban gardener, hydroponics enthusiast and all-around plant lover.

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The Gardenangelists

Passionate gardeners and authors Carol Michel and Dee Nash chat about flowers, veggies and all the best dirt on gardening.

DISEASES

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Disease Resistant Basils

Basil Downy Mildew disease and a desire for something different have led gardeners to search for disease resistant varieties of basil.

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Downy Mildew Resistant Impatiens Cultivars

Before, nothing could keep impatiens downy mildew at bay - now, it’s time to plant impatiens again.

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Aster Yellows vs. Eriophyid Mites on Coneflower

Learn about these two common plant issues and which could be impacting your garden.

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Tomato Diseases

Blossom end rot and early blight made an appearance in 2013...

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What's Wrong with My Plant?

Diagnose problems in the yard and garden caused by insects, diseases and nonliving factors using the University of Minnesota's Plant Pathogen Tool.

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What to Do About Scorched Plants

Discovering that your plants have crispy, browning edges? Find out more about potential causes of leaf scorch and what you can do. 

NATIVE PLANTS

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Native Plant ID Resources

Xerces Society's Karin Jokela shares her favorite websites, apps and books for identifying native plants.

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Alternatives to Invasive Plants

Here are some alternatives to invasive plants, including some popular garden plants that are threatening native areas. 

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Northern Natives: Whorled Milkweed

This Milkweed species is an important host plant for many pollinators, blooming later in the season and in drought conditions. 

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Learn about Native Plants

Explore the benefits and different varieties of natives. Also, find which species grow best in various conditions, from dry prairies to wet meadows to shallow water.

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Native Columbine

Delicate, dangling blooms of red petals with yellow stamens often turn up in the most unexpected places. 

PESTS

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Jumping Worms in MN

Here's what we know so far, with links to additional resources.

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The European Chafer Beetle in MN

A new and potentially very destructive lawn pest has been discovered for the first time in Minnesota. 

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Magnolia Scale

This insect has been around for years and can be devastating to magnolias. Here's what you need to know.

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Invasive Jumping Worms

Impacts and prevention explained by Dr. Lee Frelich, Director of the Center for Forest Ecology at the UMN.

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Japanese Beetle Facts

Japanese beetles can be a significant landscape pest and difficult to tolerate, particularly when they first become abundant in an area. 

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Three Bad Bugs for Northern Gardeners

Three insects University of Minnesota entomologist Jeff Hahn thinks northern gardeners should watch out for...

PLANTING FOR POLLINATORS

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Planting a Pollinator Tea Garden

Create a garden that will nourish both pollinators and people.

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Plant Herbs for Pollinators

It’s a good idea to plant herbs for pollinators, because so many herbs are useful plants for the larvae of butterflies and useful moths.

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What Is A Bee Lawn?

We’re seeing more interest in “bee lawns,” including support from the state of Minnesota to encourage lawns that are good for pollinators and the planet.

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Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden

Tips and strategies for encouraging hummingbirds into your garden.

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Best Plants for Hummingbirds

MSHS Pollinator Paks contain many pollinator-friendly plants - here are the ones hummingbirds love!

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Best Plants for Butterflies

Here are Heather Holm's recommendations for best plants for butterflies for different sun and soil conditions.

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Pollinator Paks™

Look for Pollinator Paks™ at garden centers and nurseries late May through September. Each pack includes six plants, ready to drop in the ground and known to attract pollinators.

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Upper Midwest Citizen Scientist Pollinator Monitoring Guide: Native Bees

A guide from the Xerces Society on how to monitor native bees in pollinator habitats.

SOIL AMENDMENT

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How to Get The Most Out of Your Mulch

There are proven benefits to using mulch in the garden, but it’s important to choose the appropriate type.

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Compost for Beginners

Compost makes a lot of sense once you’ve been gardening awhile, but can be confusing to new gardeners.

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Tips for Making Better Compost

Probably the most common advice given for improving your garden’s performance is to add compost.

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Best Books for Building Soil

To build better soil, the basic rule is add compost. For a more detailed discussion, check out these books.

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What is a Soil Amendment?

A soil amendment is anything added to soil to improve its abilities, including water retention and absorption.

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An Herbal Compost Tea for Your Plants

University of Minnesota Master Gardener Shari Mayer discusses using herbs to create a potent compost tea. 

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How-To: Soil Percolation Test

Northern Gardener's Nancy Rose talks about the difference soil makes in what you can grow and how you approach gardening.

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How-To: Soil Texture Test

Horticulturist Nancy Rose talks about the importance of knowing your soil for more garden success. 

SUSTAINABLE GARDENING

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Sustainable Roses for Northern Gardeners

Randy Nelson and David Zlesak report on roses that are particularly adapted to different climates. 

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Plant Solutions for Soggy Sites

Wondering what to do with the cranberry bog in your backyard? Try these design tips for moisture loving plants instead!

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82 Realistically Sustainable Gardening Tips

Go beyond organic with these creative, real-world ideas for more sustainable gardening.
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Rain Barrel Basics: Why, How to Set One Up, and Winterizing

Learn about how to conserve and reuse water in your garden through this guide on rain barrels.
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Tips for Heatwave Gardening

Along with the challenges of growing in cold climates, northern gardeners must also navigate extreme heat. Learn about strategies for heatwave gardening. 
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Rainscaping for Water Efficiency

Gardeners employing a variety of techniques to keep rainwater on their properties protect local watersheds.

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Sustainable Hardscaping for an Earth-Wise Garden

Consider the more stony parts of a garden, such as pathways, fences, and outdoor furniture.

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To Lawn or Not to Lawn, that is the Question

More gardeners are choosing to forgo lawns in favor of more environmentally-friendly options.
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Effective Watering Strategies for Northern Gardeners

Effective watering strategies are foundational to a successful northern garden. Learn when, how much, and how to water. 

TRICKY GROWING LOCATIONS

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Pots vs. Raised Beds vs. Traditional Beds

Should you plant their garden in the ground, or in raised beds, or even in pots? Each of these choices has advantages—and disadvantages.

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Rug Gardens: Big Harvests, Little Spaces

Join the discussion about what it would take to grow food for two from a 9-by-12 foot plot—what they called a “rug garden.”

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Growing Perennials in Containers

Learn about some options for how to grow perennials in containers in northern gardens. 

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Shade Tolerant Vegetables to Try

There are shade tolerant vegetables, especially if you have partial shade or dappled shade.

Here's another gate -- this one in Duluth. The gardener has covered the arbor with grapes.

Extreme Gardening: Duluth

“Extreme Gardening" offers suggestions for gardening in extreme weather, such as heat, humidity, cold, drought and flood — and, of course, snow, which we have dealt with so much.

WEEDS

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Getting Rid of Garlic Mustard

Cheryl Culbreth, founder of Landscape Restoration, Inc. shares resources for battling this noxious weed.

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Canada Thistle

Laura Schwarz discusses invasive species removal with Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense).

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Have You Tried Weedless Gardening?

Lee Reich's primer on weedless gardening for Northern Gardener.

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Identifying Weeds

This UMN Extension diagnostic tool will help you identify and manage common weeds.

Ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is an invasive edible species in the mint family that is native to Europe and southwestern Asia and was introduced into the United States before the late 1600’s, probably for medical purposes.  It is also known as gill-over-the-ground, creeping charlie, alehoof, tunhoof, catsfoot, field balm, run-away-robin, Lizzie-Run-Up-The-Hedge, Herbe St. Jean, or creeping jenny.

How To Deal With Creeping Charlie

Laura Schwarz weighs in about Creeping Charlie, formally known as Glechoma hederacea

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Minnesota Noxious Weeds List

Noxious weeds - annual, biennial, or perennial plants that have the potential to threaten human or animal health.

MONTH-BY-MONTH GARDENING

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January

Even in the dead of winter in the Upper Midwest, here are some garden-related chores you can tackle ...

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March

The ground is finally starting to thaw ...

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May

The garden's finally heating up ...

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July

Kick back and reap what you've sown ...

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September

That summer heat is fading into fall ...

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November

Brace yourselves—another winter's coming ...

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February

Show your garden some love during the Valentine's season ...

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April

Early spring to-dos ...

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June

Summer's setting in ...

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August

Weed, water and harvest ...

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October

Leaves, pumpkins and winding down ...

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December

And just like that, it's winter again ...

GETTING STARTED

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Dig in!

New to northern gardening? High five! Let us help you find your zone, prep your soil and get started ...

HARVESTING & PRESERVING

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Is It Ripe Yet?

Knowing when to pick vegetables for peak taste and texture is a skill many gardeners develop after years of trial and error. Generally, however, vegetables fall into two categories.

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Preserving Herbs

As we get to the end of the gardening season, herbs become more precious than ever. What’s your favorite way to preserve herbs for the winter?

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Savoring Summer Squash

You’re busily attempting to keep up with the watering and weeding that midsummer necessitates; and all the while, you’re eyeing the ever-growing number of summer squash populating your plants...

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When To Harvest Vegetables

Generally speaking, picking early and often is the best way to harvest vegetables for maximum production. However, there are crop-specific approaches to harvesting.

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Preserving the Harvest from Your Vegetable Garden

You have several options preserving the harvest to enjoy next winter when its home-grown taste will be so appreciated!

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Is My Melon Ready?

You may be looking at the wild vines in your vegetable garden and wondering if your melon is ripe yet. Here’s how to tell.

PLANTING & CARE

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Summer Bulbs: Planting and Care

Summer bulbs are the show-offs of the garden. They’re big, they’re bright, they’re colorful, some are even a little bit loud—and that’s what we love about them!

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Roughing Up Roots for Summer Planting

Whatever plant you buy, it has been sitting in its pot a long, long time. Now is a time when a gardener needs to get rough.

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Top 3 Tips for Fall Bulb Planting

If you have a new garden, fall bulb planting is a great way to add to the spring beauty of your garden before your shrubs and perennials come into their own.

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Fall Planting: How Late Can You Go?

Fall is a great time for planting, though as we get past mid-October, the question is how late in fall can you plant?

SOWING & SAVING SEEDS

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Winter and Spring Sowing

How to get started and hints to keep growing.

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Our Favorite Seed Sources for Vegetable Gardens

If you’ve tried to start your own vegetable seeds, you’ll find a lot of choices —both for varieties as well as places to buy them. Here are some catalogs that we like.

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How to Make Seed-Starting Mix

Gardeners who start a lot of plants from seed or want to control all the elements of their seed starting may want to make their own seed starting mix.

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Seed Shopping Tips for Budget-Conscious Gardeners

The snow looks gray and gross, the sun hasn’t been out in weeks, and April seems a long way off. Time for some seed shopping!

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When To Start Tomato Seeds?

Yes, the thermometer out my window reads 10 degrees F; today is a good day to start tomatoes from seed. Read to find out why!

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Seeds vs. Starter Plants

How do you figure out which seeds to start indoors and which starter plants to buy from the garden center?

 

COMMUNITY GARDENS

PRESENTERS

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Speaker Roster

Find experts in a wide range of gardening and environmental topics for your next garden club meeting or special event.

GARDEN CLUBS

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Garden Clubs

Looking for a Garden Club near you? Browse through a full list!

PLANT SOCIETIES

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Garden Clubs

Looking for a Garden Club near you? Browse through a full list!

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Minnesota Dahlia Society

Established in 1929 to promote the growing, showing, and enjoyment of dahlias and affiliated with the American Dahlia Society, MDS is an all-volunteer organization comprised of members of varying degrees of knowledge and expertise.

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Iris Society of Minnesota

The Iris Society of Minnesota is a state-wide, nonprofit organization affiliated with the American Iris Society, and part of Region 8, together with Wisconsin. Their purpose is to broaden interest and disseminate information about irises.

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North Star African Violet Council Twin Cities

North Star African Violet Council talks about all things relating to the growing, showing, hybridizing and appreciation of African violets and gesneriads. And while we're at it, anything else that's interesting about plants too!

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North Star Lily Society

The North Star Lily Society's purpose is to educate members in the culture of lilies and to promote the genus lilium. Their online mission is to share our knowledge in the upper Midwest area of the United States, specifically in the State of Minnesota. 

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Minnesota Native Plant Society

The Minnesota Native Plant Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and appreciation of Minnesota’s native plants and plant communities through education and public awareness.

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American Hemerocallis Society

The AHS is organized exclusively for educational and scientific purposes, and especially to promote, encourage, and foster the development and improvement of the genus Hemerocallis and public interest therein.

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Minnesota Hosta Society

The Minnesota Hosta Society, MHS, is a nonprofit educational society established in 1991 to promote knowledge of, and interest in, the shade loving landscape plant, hosta. They offer various activities for members and participate in several community events in the Twin City area.

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Twin Cities Gesneriad Society

Twin Cities Gesneriad Society was founded in the 1970s as both a group in its own right and as a chapter of The Gesneriad Society, an international non-profit society dedicated to the study, habitat preservation, species conservation, and propagation of plants of the Gesneriad family.

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African Violet Society of Minnesota

In operation for 32 years and located in Scandia, Minnesota, The African Violet Society is an educational non-profit focused on the growth and care of African Violets.

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Daffodil Society of Minnesota

This site was created by William Smale with content provided by the Daffodil Society of Minnesota members and funded, in part, with a grant from the National Science Foundation through the Science Museum of Minnesota's Community Partnerships Serving Science Program.

SCHOOL GARDENS

MINNESOTA PLANTS

Plants with Minnesota roots webinar

Dig into the stories and history behind a long list of plants with deep MN connections.