The next free gardening class at the at the Brainerd Public Library…

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Presentations | Posted on 14-08-2014

Daylilies: The Perfect Perennials

Are your daylilies diploid or tetraploid? Are they rebloomers? With more than 70,000 cultivars (“hybrids”) registered with the American Hemerocallis Society (AHS) it’s hard to grow just a few. Come and learn about the best daylilies for your garden! The following topics will be covered during this presentation – general information, basic anatomy, selecting, planting, dividing, landscaping, diseases, pests and resources.

Presenter: Jackie Froemming, Extension Educator
Date: Tuesday, September 9
Time: 12 noon – 1:00 pm
Cost: FREE
Register by calling the Brainerd Public Library at 218-829-5574

Another great class at the Brainerd Public Library…August 12

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Presentations | Posted on 11-08-2014

“Colorful Pots All Season Long”

You don’t have to plant all your pots by Memorial Day. Those who love to accent their patios, decks, front-door entryways, and even their gardens should attend this class to learn how to select, arrange and care for the plants that will perform colorfully all summer long, and those that will survive the cooler …fall weather, as well.

Presenter: Julie Kloster, Extension Master Gardener
Date: Tuesday, August 12
Time: 12 noon – 1:00 pm
Cost: FREE
Register by calling the Brainerd Public Library at 218-829-5574.

Ask the Master Gardener – August 2014

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Ask the Master Gardener column | Posted on 28-07-2014

University of Minnesota Extension

CROW WING COUNTY MASTER GARDENER PROGRAM
Ask the Master Gardener
AUGUST 2014 COLUMN

Dear Master Gardener,
There is a shady area in my lawn where grass won’t grow and I would like to replace it with a ground cover of some sort. On a list of ground covers I saw wintergreen, which I love, listed. Would it be a good choice for this area?

The short answer is “probably”. Hardiness is not the issue because wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) is hardy in USDA zone 3. It does, however, require part to deep shade and acidic soil that is moist and rich in organic matter. It has glossy, evergreen leaves that release the wintergreen scent when crushed; small, egg-shaped, white flowers in summer; and striking, edible, red berries in the fall. It grows from rhizomes that creep along underground, sending up short six-inch stems at intervals, slowly expanding its territory. Birds like it and it has lovely, burgundy fall color. It may not be readily available in local nurseries but it can be purchased from catalogs or—if you have it growing wild in your woods—it can be propagated from cuttings in the summer or from rooted suckers in the spring. People who like wintergreen-flavored chewing gum, toothpaste and candy are often unaware that their fresh, minty taste comes from oils from this hardy, beautiful, low-growing shrub. Native Americans used wintergreen medicinally because it has some mild analgesic and fever-reducing qualities, but most of us just enjoy its flavor.

Dear Master Gardener,
I was visiting a friend out east and noticed she has purple loosestrife in her garden. Isn’t it invasive and illegal? Is yellow loosestrife also invasive and illegal?

Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife) is a species native to Europe and has been commonly grown in perennial gardens. In nature, purple loosestrife lives where soils are wet or have shallow standing water. It has no natural enemies and is very aggressive and will choke out native vegetation. Because purple loosestrife is dangerous when planted near water, it is illegal to grow any of these plants anywhere in Minnesota. It was designated a noxious weed in 1987 and since then the sale and transport of this plant has been illegal. According to Minnesota statutes it is the responsibility of the occupant or owner of privately owned land or the person in charge of public land to control or destroy noxious weeds to prevent their spread.

Lysimachia (loosestrife) is not illegal in Minnesota and is a tough, easy to grow perennial with attractive foliage and showy flowers. Most loosestrifes spread rapidly and are considered “aggressive plants”. If you plant the species that spreads rapidly in your perennial garden, you may want to restrict its spread with a physical barrier or be willing to divide them on a regular basis. They thrive in rich, moist soils and grow well in full sun to light shade. Lysimachia ciliate (Fringed Loosestrife) is native to northeastern United States and is an elegant plant with a willowy appearance and small yellow flowers that blooms in mid summer. Two cultivars ‘Firecracker’ and ‘Purpurea’ have chocolate purple colored foliage. This species spreads slowly. Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck Loosestrife) is a species that produces uniquely shaped, arching white flowers and blooms in mid to late summer. Place it carefully because it is invasive.
Dear Master Gardener,
The bats are driving us batty. They hang at night near our covered entryway and we wake up to piles of droppings and streaks of urine on our cedar siding. Is there anything we can do to stop them?

There are seven species of bats in Minnesota. They are actually gentle, beneficial creatures, but sometimes they become a nuisance. Bats come out at night, fly around, eat lots of insects and may rest under the eave of a porch. They are simply in need of a short-term roost. Bats will often stain the sides of a building with their droppings as they are flying in and out at night. Bat droppings are dark in color, greasy, and may have insect body parts inside. According to the Minnesota DNR, ultrasonic devices are not effective in repelling bats and there are no chemicals registered in Minnesota for use on bats. Attempts to poison bats, or exclude them using inappropriate methods can actually increase human contact, as sick or homeless bats may disperse through the neighborhood thereby increasing chance encounters with people or pets. Light sometimes will deter bats, so you could light the area at night to try to discourage bats from resting in your entryway. You could also provide an alternate roost site for the bats by putting up a bat house. Encouraging bats to stay around your yard will help control the insect population.

AUGUST GARDEN TIPS
• August can be hot and dry. Help Mother Nature out and give trees several deep waterings this month. They will enter winter stronger when well-hydrated.
• Stop fertilizing roses and other shrubs. Fertilizer encourages new growth that is more susceptible to winter injury than old wood.
• Dig up and divide irises and other spring-blooming perennials. Keep them well-watered.
• Keep weeding. Remove them before they set seed, which will produce a multitude of new weeds next spring.
• This is a good month to begin a new lawn, either by seeding or sodding.
• Remove and destroy tomato leaves with yellow or brown spots. These symptoms are caused by septoria leaf spot and early blight.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Crow Wing County Master Gardeners are trained and certified volunteers for the University of Minnesota Extension. All information given in this column is based on research and information provided by the University. To ask a question, call the Master Gardener Help Line at 218-824-1000, extension 4040 and leave a message. A Master Gardener will return your call.

UMN Extension Crow Wing County Master Gardeners’ Website
z.umn.edu/crowwingmgs

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Cookbook on sale at Crow Wing County Fair, July 29 – August 2

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Cookbook | Posted on 17-07-2014

Cookbook for sale at the”Ask a Master Gardener” booth located in the Horticulture Building.

The Gardener's Table  The recently published The Gardener’s Table is a compilation of Crow Wing County Master Gardeners’ favorite 250 recipes, including Kale Chips, Zucchini Bisque, Spicy Beet Compote, French Sorrel Soup, Marinated Tomatoes, Summer Radish Salad and Rhubarb Gingered Jam.  The cookbook also includes information about growing and using herbs, as well as edible flowers.  Over fifty gardening tips are also included.

A limited number of cookbooks will be available at the “Ask a Master Gardener” booth to be located in the central portion of the Horticulture Building during the Crow Wing County Fair which will run from July 29 through August 2. The cost is $10 per copy.  If paying with a check, please make it out to “CWC Master Gardeners“.  Funds raised with the sale of these cookbooks will enable Crow Wing County Master Gardeners to provide grants, scholarships, and educational opportunities to the individuals that they serve through their various projects.

Cookbook on sale at Country Sampler Picnic, July 16

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Cookbook | Posted on 02-07-2014

Cookbook for sale at the Northland Arboretum’s Country Sampler Picnic on July 16

The Gardener's TableThe recently published The Gardener’s Table is a compilation of Crow Wing County Master Gardeners’ favorite 250 recipes, including Kale Chips, Zucchini Bisque, Spicy Beet Compote, French Sorrel Soup, Marinated Tomatoes, Summer Radish Salad and Rhubarb Gingered Jam.  The cookbook also includes information about growing and using herbs, as well as edible flowers.  Over fifty gardening tips are also included.

 

A limited number of cookbooks will be available at the “Ask a Master Gardener” booth at the Northland Arboreum’s 6th Annual Country Sampler Picnic on Wednesday, July 16 from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The cost is $10 per copy.  If paying with a check, please make it out to “CWC Master Gardeners“.  Funds raised with the sale of these cookbooks will enable Crow Wing County Master Gardeners to provide grants, scholarships, and educational opportunities to the individuals that they serve through their various projects.

Event Location:

Northland Arboretum

14250 Conservation Drive

Brainerd, MN 56401

218-829-8770

Ask The Master Gardener – July 2014

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Ask the Master Gardener column | Posted on 26-06-2014

Crow wing County Master Gardener Program

Ask the Master Gardener - JULY 2014 Column

 

Dear Master Gardener, 

I have pink and red and white roses but would like to add a yellow one that would be hardy in the Brainerd Lakes area. What would you recommend?

Fortunately there are several hardy yellow roses to choose among. “Hardy” does not mean there will be no dieback at all. It can mean that there will be some minimal dieback or that it will sometimes die back to the crown but will come back as spring progresses. Some bloom only in June; others have repeat bloom in the fall and others bloom continuously all summer. Among your choices are ‘Brook Song’, ‘Fruhlingsgold’, ‘Golden Wings’, ‘Harrison’s Yellow’, ‘J.P. Connell’, ‘Prairie Harvest’, and ‘Wildenfels Gelb’. A local nursery will likely carry other yellow roses, too. A newer rose, ‘Bill Reid’, hardy in zone 3, has been receiving praise from Minnesota Master Gardeners.

For more detailed information on specific roses, such as bloom time, fragrance, need for winter protection, bloom size and form, go to the internet or consult the book “Growing Roses in Cold Climates,” written by Minnesota rose specialists.

 

Dear Master Gardener,
I would like to put sod down to get an instant lawn and was wondering if you have recommendations for greater success, since this is quite an investment.

There are advantages to sod over seeding, such as the rapid establishment of an “instant lawn” and relatively weed-free start. It is good for slopes or areas prone to erosion and it can be laid any time during the growing season. As you stated, the disadvantage is the expense.

Purchase sod as fresh as possible, preferably having been cut no more than 24 hours before delivery. Lay it as soon as possible, or within one day of delivery. Lay the sod on slightly moistened soil, staggering the joints much like bricklaying. If you are laying it on a slope, lay the rolls across the slope and stake each piece to hold it in place. Fill any cracks with soil to prevent edges from drying. You may use a roller about one-third full of water to smooth the site and ensure the roots of the sod have good contact with the soil.

Keep the sod moist but not saturated until it is firmly rooted in the soil, which takes a few days to a few weeks, then gradually reduce watering. In two to three months it can be treated as an established lawn.

 

Dear Master Gardener,
My peony plant only has a few flowers. What could be wrong?

Typically when a peony fails to form buds or flowers, it has been planted too deeply or it is in too much shade. Sometimes when a clump has remained undisturbed for ten years or more it may be so crowded that it may fail to bloom. If you think any of these reasons pertains to you, dig it up and replant it. When you plant, cover the peony roots so the pink buds or “eyes” are pointing up. Make sure to plant the top of the roots only one and one-half to two inches beneath the soil line. Peonies prefer full sun, but will bloom as long as they receive four or five hours of direct sun daily. Plant them in well-drained soil.

You can divide peonies in early spring or late summer. Dig up the entire clump, then split it into halves or quarters with a sharp knife or shovel. Young plants or divisions that have three “eyes” or less won’t bloom until they are older and larger.

Do not cut down peony foliage until it is damaged by frost. Once the soil freezes, simply rake some leaves over the plants, then remove the mulch in spring.

 

JULY GARDEN TIPS
• Because mosquitoes are plentiful this year, plan your gardening time to avoid them. Mosquitoes are least active when it’s sunny and breezy, most active at dusk. Use insect repellant containing DEET and wear light-colored clothing.
• To avoid having wormy apples, start your spray program in early July to control apple maggots. Spray every 10-14 days until harvest, or two days after each rainfall of ½ inch or more.
• It’s time to water your lawn when grass does not spring right back up after you walk on it. Water early in the day to limit evaporation.
• The time you take to remove spent blossoms is well worth it. Deadheading promotes continued bloom and prevents seed formation.
• To keep peas and beans producing keep picking them, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, too.
• When tomatoes start to bloom, side dress them with a little extra fertilizer. Too much fertilizer, however, promotes leafy growth at the expense of blossoms and fruit. Container-grown tomatoes, like other container-grown vegetables and flowers, need fertilizer every two to three weeks.
• Visit a local farmers’ market for freshest produce. Support local economy.
• When lettuce, spinach and other spring crops bolt or turn bitter, remove them and use the space for a fall crop of cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage and onions.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Crow Wing County Master Gardeners are trained and certified volunteers for the University of Minnesota Extension. All information given in this column is based on research and information provided by the University. To ask a question, call the Master Gardener Help Line at 218-824-1000, extension 4040 and leave a message. A Master Gardener will return your call.

Visit our welcome page: http://cwcmastergardeners.areavoices.com/ “The Gardener’s Table:”  will be available for purchase for $10.00 each at the following events this summer: Northland Arboretum’s Country Sampler Picnic on July 16, Nisswa Flower Show on July 30, Crow Wing County Fair from July 29 to August 2. – See more at: http://cwcmastergardeners.areavoices.com/2014/06/23/the-moon-garden-free-class-on-july-8/#sthash.3dfAlnzs.dpuf

UMN Extension Crow Wing County Master Gardeners’ Website:
z.umn.edu/crowwingmgs

Ask the Master Gardener July 2014 

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“The Moon Garden”… free class on July 8

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Presentations | Posted on 23-06-2014

If you work during the day and you are a gardener, you may miss viewing and enjoying your garden during daylight hours. The nighttime world awaits you with beauty and fragrance in a moon garden. The most magnificent garden by day seems still and spiritless compared to its nocturnal counterpart. Moon gardens are designed to be enjoyed in the evening and nighttime. In this class you will learn how to design and plant a moon garden.

Presenter: Jennifer Knutson, Extension Master Gardener
Date: Tuesday, July 8
Time: 12 noon – 1:00 pm
Cost: FREE
Register by calling the Brainerd Public Library at 218-829-5574

Visit our welcome page: http://cwcmastergardeners.areavoices.com/

“The Gardener’s Table:”  will be available for purchase for $10.00 each at the following events this summer: Northland Arboretum’s Country Sampler Picnic on July 16, Nisswa Flower Show on July 30, Crow Wing County Fair from July 29 to August 2.

Ask the Master Gardener June 2014

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Posted by cwcmastergardeners | Posted in Ask the Master Gardener column | Posted on 28-05-2014

Dear Master Gardener:
Is rhubarb a native plant? What should I know to grow it successfully?

All plants, of course, are native somewhere. In the case of rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum), it is native to Russia and named after the river Rha, today known as the Volga. It came to America with the British in the 17th century and was often referred to as “pie plant” because that was its most frequent use.

Although it can be grown from seed, most people buy rhubarb already started, either from a nursery or as a division from a friend’s existing plant. The best time to plant it is in early spring. Because it is a large, spreading plant, it needs space, at least a 3-foot square of rich, well-drained soil in full sun. Its rhizomatous root gets large and deep, so a hole two feet deep should be prepared for it. Do not plant it too deep: the crown should be just level with the soil.
Rhubarb is a heavy feeder and should be fertilized in early spring and again in midsummer. Keep it well watered. When or if white flower stalks appear, remove them promptly so that they don’t deplete the plant’s vigor. There are few insect or disease problems.

Although rhubarb is very tart, it is used largely in sweet things such as pies, cakes, sauces, muffins, and jams. Cultivars with red stalks are most popular because of their color while the greener stalks are rather lackluster. The red also tend to be sweeter. To harvest the stalks, hold them firmly, pull and twist. Do not use a knife. Remove the leaves promptly to avoid wilting of the stalk. The leaves are poisonous, high in concentration of oxalic acid. When ingested, the leaves cause cramping, nausea and even death. The stalks also contain oxalic acid, but in a lower concentration, and are harmless to most people, the exception being those with gout, kidney disorders and rheumatoid arthritis. A myth persists that rhubarb stalks also become lethal after midsummer, which is not true. They can be used all summer long but most people stop using rhubarb after early July both because there are then many other fruits available and to let the plant store up energy for the next year.

Dear Master Gardener:
Are marigolds edible and do they really act as a natural pesticide?

Marigolds, a native of Mexico, have been grown in gardens throughout the world for hundreds of years and are one of the most popular bedding plants in the United States. Calendula officinalis (pot marigold), Tagetes erecta (African marigold) and Tagetes tenuifolia (signet marigold) are edible. Pot marigolds have been reported to taste “tangy and peppery”, African marigolds “strong and pungent”, and signet marigolds “citrus-like or “spicy tarragon flavor”. It is important to correctly identify flowers before consuming them and to make sure they have not been treated with pesticides. The only way to ensure flowers have not been previously treated with pesticides is to grow them from seed or buy organically grown plants.

Although there is little documentation and research to back it up, some garden experts agree that French and African marigolds repel some insects and nematodes and they “must smell to repel”. Some garden experts also believe that French marigolds repel mosquitoes.

According to Iowa State University Extension, not only do marigolds not repel rabbits, deer or other animals, rabbits occasionally browse heavily on marigolds. Research studies there have also concluded marigolds are not effective in reducing insect damage on vegetable crops.

Dear Master Gardener:
I would like to purchase a bird bath for my garden and was wondering if some are better than others. Should placement be a consideration?

Providing water for birds can improve the quality of your backyard bird habitat and give you an excellent opportunity for bird-watching. Not only do birds need water to survive, they also use water for bathing, cleaning their feathers and removing parasites. The typical bird bath sold in lawn and garden shops (picture a concrete basin mounted on a pedestal) make nice lawn ornaments, but are not necessarily what is best for most birds. First, they tend to be too deep. Second, they can be hard to clean. Third, they can crack if left out during the winter.

When you choose a birdbath, look for one made of tough plastic that can be cleaned easily and won’t break if the water freezes. A birdbath with a gentle slope allows birds to wade into the water. If you want to make your own, you can use a garbage can lid, saucer-style sled, or even an old frying pan. The goal is to try to imitate a natural puddle as much as possible. Birds seem to prefer baths at ground level; however, if there are cats around, raise the bath 2-3 feet from the ground. To give birds footing, place sand in the bottom of the bath. If your birdbath is on the ground, you could place a few branches or stones so that they emerge from the water; then birds can stand on them and drink without getting wet (especially in the winter).

The best place to put your birdbath is in the shade near trees or shrubs. The shade will keep the water fresh longer and slow down evaporation. The trees or shrubs will provide nearby cover from predators. To really make your bath attractive to birds, provide moving water. You can purchase products that drip or spray water into a birdbath. Keeping your birdbath full of clean water at all times is the key to attracting a large number of birds to your yard. It is important to clean it every few days and clean it immediately if you see algae starting to form.

JUNE GARDEN TIPS
• Most houseplants can benefit from being moved outdoors now to a shaded, protected spot to soak up much-needed humidity.
• Plant warm season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants when evening temperatures stay above 52 degrees.
• Deadhead flowers regularly to encourage prolific bloom.
• Plant potted annual flowers and vegetables on cloudy days when possible to minimize transplant shock.
• About mid-month mulch most flowers and vegetables with 2-3 inches of biodegradable material such as grass clippings and chopped leaf litter. It will conserve moisture, insulate soil and help prevent weed seeds from sprouting.
• Feed your compost pile with fruit and vegetable scraps and trimmings—skins, peelings, etc. White paper napkins and paper towels can also be composted, as can torn-up paper egg cartons and dryer lint.
• Prune lilacs and forsythia soon after they are done blooming because they set next year’s buds by about mid-July.
• When tulips, daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs finish blooming, it is tempting to get rid of unattractive leaves. If you want bloom next year, it is important to leave them until they are no longer green. As long as they are green, they are feeding the bulbs.

Crow Wing County Master Gardeners are trained and certified volunteers for the University of Minnesota Extension Service. All information given in this column is based on research and information provided by the university. To ask a question, call the Master Gardener Help Line at 218-824-1000, extension 4040, and leave a recorded message. A Master Gardener will return your call.

QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Crow Wing County Master Gardeners are trained and certified volunteers for the University of Minnesota Extension. All information given in this column is based on research and information provided by the University. To ask a question, call the Master Gardener Help Line at 218-824-1000, extension 4040 and leave a message. A Master Gardener will return your call.

UMN Extension Crow Wing County Master Gardeners’ Website: z.umn.edu/crowwingmgs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CWCMasterGardeners

Visit our welcome page: http://cwcmastergardeners.areavoices.com/

“The Gardener’s Table:”  will be available for purchase for $10.00 each at the following events this summer: Northland Arboretum’s Country Sampler Picnic on July 16, Nisswa Flower Show on July 30, Crow Wing County Fair from July 29 to August 2.