Photos of  my produce and flowers during the growing season!

IMG_20160727_170856177 IMG_20160729_192123256









They are one of the best performing plants ever, purchase them and you will not be disappointed!!

rock planter



Fall arrangement 2013 Hydrangea, Sedum, ornamental grasses


Ornamental Grasses

Drooling over all the garden catalogs and sharing some pics from the harvest of 2012~

1012 Garden Squash

freezing 2012

Freezing 2012

Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling 2012


Apples Picked 2012

Peach jam

Peach with Red Jalapeno Jam 2012


Vegetables 2012

Garden and Flowers 2012

Here is what is looking good this year!

Michelle Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator has this important informationon black leaf this time of year.

M. Grabowski, UMN ExtensionBlack Rot Lesion on a Broccoli Leaf

A bacterial disease of crucifers (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, Brussels sprouts and more) called black rot caused severe damage to many gardeners last year and has been found again in Minnesota this summer. Black rot is caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris. This pathogen often enters a garden on contaminated seed. It can also survive on infected weeds like wild mustard and pepper weed or in plant debris from previous years infected crop.Black rot can be recognized by the v shaped lesions that form on infected leaves. The tip of the V points towards the mid rib of the leaf. The center of the v is often dead brown tissue which is surrounded by a yellow halo. As the disease progresses, leaf veins turn black within the lesion. The infection can move into the plants vascular system and result in wilt and soft rot.

Black rot enters the leaf through natural openings on the leaf and through wounds. The sticky bacteria are easily spread on a gardener’s hands or tools, on splashing water or by insects. The bacterial pathogen thrives in warm wet weather and gardeners may see plants wilt rapidly under these conditions.

M.Grabowski, UMN ExtensionBlack Rot on Radish Leaves

The best management of black rot is to prevent introduction of the bacteria into the garden in the first place. Look for seed and transplants that are certified disease free. Inspect transplants for signs of disease and reject any with v shaped leaf spots or wilted yellowing lower leaves. If disease shows up in one or two plants out of many, remove the infected plants completely. If infection is light (a few leaf spots) remove the infected leaves completely. Wash hands and tools with soap and water after touching infected plants.Once disease is established in the garden, its spread can be slowed by several management practices. Avoid watering when dew is present and in early evening. Bacteria can spread in the dew and will thrive in moisture left on leaves after sunset. Rather water when the sun is bright and will dry leaves quickly. Avoid splashing water on leaves as much as possible. Do not work in plants when they are wet from rain, dew, or irrigation. Bacteria easily spread on hands and tools during this time. Copper sprays can be applied to slow the spread of the disease although they will not cure plants. Always completely read the label before applying a pesticide and follow all instructions.

At the end of the season, till under any plant residue as soon as the crop is harvested. Avoid planting any crucifer in that location for another two years.


English Ivy or Vinca Vine will work


* Ivy plant, any size (small leaf varieties work well with smaller topiary shapes)
* Decorative container to fit the ivy’s existing pot
* Topiary form- Select either a stemmed topiary wire form, a form that has a vertical wire several inches long with a decorative shape sitting on top of it, or one without a stem. Make sure the size selected is appropriate for the size of your plant. Select a form that has a fork or prongs that push into the soil. You can also make your own forms. If using one without prongs be sure the container is deep enough so it will not tip.


Fill your container with potting soil leaving about 3-inches of space between the top of the soil and the rim of the container.

Secure the topiary form in the center of the container by burying several inches of the base beneath the potting soil.  Select a container that is proportional to your form.

Plant the ivy or other type of vining plant around the base of the form. Position the plants so that the longest tendrils are closest to the form. this may take up to 3-4 small ivy plants.

Wind the plant tendrils up the form and loosely secure with green dental floss. Take off the leaves as you put up the bottom stem.

After planting, water the soil and feed the plant every 10 days or so with an all purpose liquid fertilizer diluted according to the package instructions.

As the vines grow continue to train them up the form.  As they fill out clip them to maintain the shape. Use a scissors or small pruner.

You’ll find that by starting with large plants such as the 6-inch pots of ivy that your topiary will fill in within one growing season.

Caring for Your English Ivy Topiary:

ivy will grow both indoors and outside.  In the house place them in bright, filtered light in a room that stays on the cool side.  Outdoors your ivy will thrive in shade to partial shade.  In the summer try leaving it outdoors to get some nice sunshine but not too bright.  Bring it back indoors for the winter.  It likes bright indoor light.

Whether your ivy is indoors or out, the care of the plants is similar: keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy and during the growing season use a liquid houseplant fertilizer mixed at half strength every 7 to 10 days.  The most common pest on ivy houseplants is the spider mite.  Keep ahead of them with a bi-monthly application of insecticidal soap, following the label instructions. Spray them very well, sometimes they can kill the plant.

To keep your ivy topiary in good shape, pinch back new growth and weave tendrils back into the form. See below for pruning tips.

Basic Care:

* Ivy topiaries do not need much water. Over watering can cause root rot which will kill them quickly. Learning how much your topiary weighs when full of water is very important. When your topiary seems light in weight water it, but only then. Water your ivy topiary by submerging the whole plant (foliage etc) in water. Leave it submerged until bubbles stop coming from the soil. Standing the topiary upright in a large bucket of water works well when watering.

Pruning Ivy Topiaries


Step 1

Pinch and remove foliage and vines that are dead or weak, using your thumb and index finger. If the topiary shape is a sphere or cone, you need to prune deep into the center of the design.

Cut out the lowest new vines and leaves growing on the main stem or trunk with your bonsai pruning shears. This allows you to achieve height for your ivy topiary. Make the cut flush to the junction where the vine meets the trunk.
Step 3

Cut off growth that is spreading out from the original shape or crowding other foliage. Since the growth rate of ivy differs depending on its variety, your topiary may need to be shaped several times a year. As a rule, prune for shaping purposes when new growth reaches 10 percent of your original ivy topiary diameter.
Pruning to Enhance Light


Look for vines that are creating a canopy that prevents light from entering the main stem. This is a particular problem in ivy topiaries grown in geometric shapes. New vine growth tightens the shape so light is unable to penetrate.

Step 2

Cut the foliage, being careful not to harm the shape of your ivy topiary.

Step 3

Trim off growth at the base of the tree if you are unable to see through to the trunk.


Just because it is getting cooler, don’t stop watering your plants or your lawn.
Of course, annuals like petunias or impatiens will continue to spit out high-powered flowers for another 8 weeks or so. You have to keep them watered. Do this and see just how long they last into winter!
On top of that, your “woody ornamentals” such as spirea, dogwood and burning bush need the fall moisture to hold their leaves longer.

Remember, we love the fall color and want to prolong it. Watering your bushes now will help them hold their fall-colored leaves longer! Awesome!
In addition, evergreens such as boxwood, holly and more traditionals such as taxus yews and arboivitae can also benefit from good watering before winter to keep then from drying out in cold winter winds.

Lawns are a little less finicky, but they still need watering during those later hot spells, especially if you have dog pee spots on your lawn from the summer. It is important to wash away the lingering urine and re-establish the lawn. Some fresh grass seed will also need to be added, making the moisture all the more important. Lawn care never ends until the snow covers the turf!
Secondly, add in some nutrients that will help these plants survive the winter and last into the next spring. Wouldn’t it be great if your plants had a fast and glorious start next March? The way to do this is to add some nutrients now.
Be sure that your fertilizer contains good amounts of potassium and phosphorus as these strengthen the roots system. Stronger roots make the bush or tree live longer, but also help them look better in the long run.
Finally, you need to prune back the shrubs just before winter. Clip off the overgrowth after all the leaves drop off. The best time of year to prune your trees and shrubs is when the plants are going into dormancy. This way, you keep them in check size-wise without stressing them out.
Whatever you do, the main element here is the moisture. You need to keep your trees and shrubs watered from now until the temperatures drop below 50 degrees consistently. Start this process now and you will see a longer fall color pop, as well as better leaf-out next spring. If there is no rain of about one inch per week then you need to be watering.
The sooner you get these task done then it will be one less thing to do before the snow flies and your trees will benefit greatly from the advance care you are giving now.


It works pretty good, make sure you have enough paper towels to absorb the moisture.

1. Wash berries in bowl with 3 cups water mixed with 1 cup white vinegar. Drain in colander and rinse under running water

2. Place berries in salad spinner lined with 3 layers of paper towels. Spin for 15 seconds or until berries are completely dry.
3. Store berries in paper towel-lined sealable container, keeping lid slightly open to allow excess moisture to escape.

June 2011

In the gardens around my yard


A first for me! The picture below is of the Living Stones Cactus. I have had these for about 4 years and they are finally blooming! A wonderful sight to see!

What To Do when the Ground Freezes

After the ground starts to freeze perennials like ‘Endless Summer’ should be cut back and covered with a thick layer of shredded leaves, straw, or pine needles, as they are borderline hardy here at best.   Other hydrangeas can be cut back with a mower or shear and covered with a three or four inch layer of mulch.  Remove this mulch as it thaws in the spring.  Pull or cut foliage of hosta after it freezes or before new growth in the spring.  The foliage should rake up rather easily.  Removal of all hosta foliage is a very important part of slug control. If you clean up in the spring this is a good time to divide your hostas.

Mulch does several things for the garden.  Organic matter and nutrients are added when mulch is used.  This depends on the mulching material and how quickly it is broken down by microorganisms.  Never use a mulching material with component sizes larger than an inch as these take many years to decompose and actually tie up nitrogen and can cause deficiency symptoms in many plants.  My advice when putting your gardens to bed is to think about the plants and in what conditions they thrive in nature.  If you emulate this then your gardens will grow very well.

Epsom Salt Question

Q: I recently read in a catalogue that you can use Epsom salt in your garden and lawn to get fantastic results. Is this true? I trust your opinion, because you’ve never steered me wrong. Thanks for your time.

A: Yes, you can use Epsom salt in your garden. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. Plants use magnesium to develop stronger root systems and to aid in the uptake of chlorophyll.

I use a tablespoon of Epsom salt when planting roses as a way to stimulate root growth. I have a special rose soil recipe that I like to mix up. To two buckets of garden soil, I just add one bucket of peat moss, a half of bucket of dried cow manure and half a bucket of compost, or cottonseed meal. When I have all of these basic ingredients blended together, I add a little special touch in the way of either a half a cup of super phosphate or a full cup of bone meal. And then I add one tablespoon of Epsom salts.

A little Epsom salt goes a long way in the garden. Studies show that magnesium and sulfur, two components of Epsom Salt may:

* Help seeds germinate
* Make plants grow bushier
* Produce more flowers
* Increase chlorophyll production
* Improve phosphorus and nitrogen uptake

Check out the Epsom Salt Council’s website for more details


Fresh Sungold tomatoes on the grill ready for a salad!

Look for garden tips and recipes on the home page!

Sungold tomatoes, very sweet and just the right size to pop in your mouth!

Pear tomatoes

Red Cabbage that is large this year!

Flowers right after the July 5th rain:

Here is some unusual produce from last season. Red atomic carrots and Zebra tomato. Wonder what will be the fun one for this year!

Recent radish questions:

Q. What causes my radishes to crack and split?
A. The radishes are too old. Pull them when they are younger and smaller. A flush of moisture after a period of relative dryness also may cause mature roots to burst and split. Try to avoid uneven moisture availability.
Q. Why do my radishes grow all tops with no root development?
A. There may be several reasons: seed planted too thickly and plants not thinned (though some roots along the outside of the row usually develop fairly well even under extreme crowding), weather too hot for the spring varieties that do best in cool temperatures (planted too late or unseasonable weather) and too much shade (must be really severe to completely discourage root enlargement).
Q. What causes my radishes to be too “hot”?
A. The “hotness” of radishes results from the length of time they have grown rather than from their size. The radishes either grew too slowly or are too old. Radishes also get tough and woody from not growing fast enough.  Do not plant too thickly and when they are just starting to grow, thin to about one inch between the plants or the roots will not develop.

Tiny shot-holes in leaves of seedlings.Flea beetles are tiny bronze or black beetles a sixteenth of an inch long. They eat small holes in the leaves of seedlings and small transplants. The larvae feed on roots of germinating plants. Spread diatomaceous earth around seedling. Cultivate often to disrupt life cycle. Keep garden clean.

Radish is a cool-season, fast-maturing, easy-to-grow vegetable. Garden radishes can be grown wherever there is sun and moist, fertile soil, even on the smallest city lot. Early varieties usually grow best in the cool days of early spring, but some later-maturing varieties can be planted for summer use. The variety French Breakfast holds up and grows better than most early types in summer heat if water is supplied regularly. Additional sowings of spring types can begin in late summer, to mature in the cooler, more moist days of fall. Winter radishes are sown in midsummer to late summer, much as fall turnips. They are slower to develop than spring radishes; and they grow considerably larger, remain crisp longer, are usually more pungent and hold in the ground or store longer than the spring varieties.


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