Tips for Hardy Gardeners

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

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.

Tom Kasper/Open Hands Food Project

Normally, you don't think about training for gardening season.

But that was before the interest in gardening exploded on the scene, leaving shelves bereft of seed, garden soil, canning jars and more.

Luckily, Tom Kasper says seed suppliers figured this out right away last spring, and spent much of 2020 getting ready for this planting season.

Daniel Lincoln/Unsplash

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has us thinking more (if that's possible) about our dogs and how we peacefully coexist - or don't - with them.

Master gardener Tom Kasper says there are all kinds of ways to design your garden space with good things to eat for dogs and humans, and also to make sure "no one has to get yelled at and no one has to get angry."

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.

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