Tips for Hardy Gardeners

Gardening tips for Duluth's Northern climate, hosted by Master Gardener Tom Kasper.

Lisa Johnson

There's a reason the show is called Tips for Hardy Gardeners and not Tips for Hardy Plants.

Some of them didn't make it through the killing frosts of late May.

Some of them didn't make it through the blazing heat of last week.

And now, Tom Kasper says, some of them aren't going to make it through the most anguish-ridden time for gardeners: the thinning.

Chris Harwood

Tom Kasper says it's not too late to plant your garden, but also acknowledges the reality of May (and even June) frosts can damage some annual plants, so one might consider waiting as well.  

Splurge on a gorgeous hanging basket or colorful container of flowers ... but keep it inside for a few more days.

Plan your vegetable garden ... but wait a little longer to actually plant it.

Have flowers and vegetables and surround yourself with the outdoors of your dreams ... but make a little space for the critters and insects and "weeds" that share it with you.

It's all about the finding the balance.

©Lisa Johnson

To kill, or not to kill?   That is the question—

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The deer and rabbits of outrageous hunger,

Or to take arms against them in defence of the garden,

And, by opposing, end them?

(with apologies to William Shakespeare)

Tom Kasper/Open Hands Food Project

Not even a week of rain can dampen Tom Kasper's enthusiasm for the Open Hands Food Project.

Last year, he donated over 2500 pounds of food to the Damiano Center over about three months.  This year he's thinking even bigger: weekly donations for 18 or 18 weeks.  More fruits and vegetables. Partnerships this year not just with the Damiano Center, but with local food initiatives like Second Harvest Food Bank, and the YMCA's meal program.

UMN Extension

Here's a disturbing thought: raking up your soggy leaf litter and whatnot from the lawn too early could deprive a mourning cloak butterfly of the shelter that's kept it alive through a long, tough hibernation.

And here's another one: some of your plants may be telling you when - and where - they want to be pruned. 

André Benedix/Flickr

Especially on the warmish, sunny days, gardeners start anxiously pressing their noses against the windows and wondering when they can get outside.

Tom Kasper says there are a couple of things you can do:  prune your fruit trees, tidy up broken and fallen branches from your trees and shrubs, and while it's too early to rake, you can get out a broom and go after the snow mold:

Tortoiseshell Black/Dribble

Scientists at Pennsylvania State University have discovered that caterpillars can "silence a tomato's cries for help."

You can read the article here and the actual research findings here.

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