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On Bee-ing: hand pollinating winter squash

It would be nice if we squash growers could just sit back and watch the bees do their job and pollinate our plants. But, with the decline in bee population, that's not going to happen. So, if you want a decent crop of squash, you're going to have to learn how to do the pollinatin' yourself.


A pretty darn good slug catcher

Here's a better way to get rid of slugs (in my opinion) than some of the other time-tested methods. Hint: it's not a waste of good beer.


And, so it ends

Alas, our reluctant spring, which led to a late start on sowing seeds, combined with my apparent lack of skill at seed germination, has already convinced me to pronounce my attempt to graft eggplant onto tomato root stock an utter failure.

And, so it begins

This year, my featured project will be an attempt to graft Japanese eggplant onto Maxifort tomato rootstock. Since eggplant doesn't seem to do well in Zone 3, I think this might prove to be worth the effort, if it works.

Too much of a good thing (claytonia)

Claytonia is one of my favorites. I recommend to any cool climate gardener. Just make sure you harvest it before it goes to seed, when the first flowers emerge. Otherwise, it will take over your garden and even areas around it.

Adventures in tomato grafting

So, here's what I've learned so far about tomato grafting.

1) Make sure you start a lot of seedlings, both of the root stock and the scions. I only succeeded with half the attempts at grafting tomato seedlings. No surprise I didn't go to medical school. There's a lot of planning (and luck?) involved in timing the rootstock to match the stems of the scions, so it's a good idea to have a lot of candidates for a match of the stem sizes.

2) Start the root stock about 10 days after you sow the

The best (garden) plans of mice and men...

"Everyone has a plan ... until they get punched in the face."

-- Mike Tyson

I was cleaning off my very messy desk today and found the planting schedule I had laid out back in February. It said I should be sowing lettuce, spinach, radishes and bok choy in the hoop house later this week. That's the same hoop house that was bending under the weight of a foot of snow earlier just a few days ago. 

Temperatures has warmed significantly and we haven't had more than a trace of snow the last few

Hoop house crushed under 13 inches of 'spring'

After braving a particularly hard winter here in northern Minnesota, our hoop house finally buckled under the weight of 13 inches of wet, heavy snow in a major mid-April storm.