Tips for Hardy Gardeners

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

Hosta (Pinterest), peppers and pumpkin (Park Seeds)

It's a little early in the season for the really serious cabin fever to set in, but Tom Kasper is making plans with the fevered enthusiasm of your average Minnesotan in late February.

How will his garden grow this summer? With Komodo Dragon Hostas, Atlantic Giant Pumpkins and Ghost Peppers, all in a row.

Tom Kasper. Used with permission.

The 2021 Vegetable of the Year is the pea ... but even though they go in early,  it's a little bit yet before you can start planting.

However ... you can get started on your own mini-African violet farm right away.

Pleuntje [via Flickr]

Tom Kasper suggests, in this pandemic era, that many lovely gifts for the garden would be very lovely for a friend, like new gardening tools, some soil, or a gift certificate.  But consider offering your time helping them in their garden as well - a great chance to visit and enjoy the fresh air while also staying physically distant.

Tom Kasper. Used with permission.

Tom Kasper went on the air this morning and offered 336 square inches of cropland to the first ten people to call him.

That's around 280 feet of arable soil, by the way.

He's providing the "field," the seeds (you get to choose), the light and even a cover to help with irrigation needs. (You have to provide your own tiny little tractor.)

Duluth's original Hardy Gardener says ever since the spring, fears about food shortages and food insecurity have been on people's minds, and interest in growing your own food has exploded.

Tom Kasper. Used with permission.

Tom Kasper's mid-life crisis involves vegetables.

After considering himself a flower gardener (since he was seven years old), he realized that he wanted to do something in the most straightforward way possible to let people in our community know they're cared about.

This year, that meant over a ton (2200 lbs) of fresh food donated to the Damiano Center ... and now he's scheming how to produce more and better for next year.

Lisa Johnson

Aut-win: it's not just for woods-wanderers anymore.

Eventually, the glow from last week's record-breaking 70s will fade (perhaps in the wake of this evening's Winter Storm Warning with 5-7" inches of snow predicted?), and when it does, the pre-winter blues can set in.

But Tom Kasper says the same leafless landscape that gives us such a unique view of the woods can do the same for our backyards and gardens - and help jump-start the planning process for next year.

Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar/Flickr

Eat a banana.

Chop up the peel into smallish pieces.

Put the pieces in some warm water and let them sit for a couple of hours.

Congratulations!  You've just made an organic fertilizer for your house plants that Tom Kasper says they'll almost immediately find ... a-peel-ing.

Arne Vainio. Used with permission.

Clean up/clean out your garden at the end of the season or leave it?

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