Full-frontal vegetable gardening

I’ve been suffering a garden identity crisis throughout the last few summers, craving more flowers, more beauty, more vistas, yet wanting to grow edibles in a big way. What’s a garden boy to do? Enter the full-frontal vegetable gardening approach. Now, believe me, I find a traditional, full-on vegetable garden beautiful. You know, the square…

Basil balm for the soul: Confessions of a pesto-maker

I eat pesto like most people eat Wheaties. Out of a bowl with a spoon. That said, I try to curtail my impulses to do so, favoring a slice of cuke, zuchinni or a thin cracker to host the spread. I have grown basil for about 15 years, always overplanting, sometimes not harvesting it all…

Dig me some spuds, you’re the potato man

We visited good friends Jan and Mark Lefebvre (and Jack and Emma) last Sunday at their place near Becker. I would call it a rural estate, a Minnesota plantation, if you will. I profiled Mark and the prairie he is restoring at their home in the Sept/Oct 2011 Northern Gardener magazine. READ THE PROFILE Mark grew…

Tomatoes in East Grand Forks

I have the opportunity to speak at the mega gardening in the North event, Gardening Saturday, tomorrow, April 14 in East Grand Forks. Paul James, the gardener guy, is the featured speaker. Paul is an A-list garden celebrity and I have loved him and his garden greatness from the first time I caught his show…

A great use for all those tomatoes: best tomato soup ever!

I spoke to a fellow gardener yesterday who, like may of us, is in a quandary over mountains of tomatoes, many green. Well, I am a big fan of picking all the green ones (I don’t go any smaller than a clementine for saving, but this is just my own personal creed) and bringing them…

Sow your seeds in the winter, outdoors. It’s easy and productive.

I have fervently sung the praises of my Kellogg’s Beefsteak tomato discovery. I’ll add that one of the happiest parts of the process was the starting of the tomato plants from seed using the winter, outdoors seed starting method. This little garden trick starting flying around the internet around 2005 and caught on big-time with…

Kellogg’s Beefsteak Tomato is an heirloom variety worth trying

I have been working on an upcoming article for Northern Gardener magazine on tomato growing, so last summer I tried many varieties to garner some info and photos. Well, as fate would have it, it was one of the crappiest summers on record in Minnesota for growing tomatoes. That said, I stumbled upon a variety that…

Rhubarb is the requisite ruffled mound in the garden

I love rhubarb. Do I love the taste with a capital T? Not especially. I just love everything about the plant. The beautiful ruffled leaves, the scarlet stalks, the iron clad perennial-ness of it. The fact that almost every yard older than, oh, 20 years in Minnesota has a familiar clump tucked away in the…

Alas, all these green tomatoes in the garden

Weather rumor has it (isn’t that about all a weather forecast really is?) that tomorrow night will host a killing frost. The scramble began today to save what is worth saving in the garden. I moved in the rubber tree that had been summering on the patio corner (and about doubled in size) and moved…