Thursday, October 18, 2018

Upcoming Events for Oct and Nov

The next seed packaging is Wednesday Oct 24 from 5-8 pm at the White Bear Library.
I promised moving our events to different days of the week to accommodate more people and so this time it's on a Wednesday. As usual, come when you can and stay as long as you like. Treats provided. No experience necessary! Come help package seeds for the seed library and enjoy the conversation with other gardeners.
BRING YOUR SEEDS YOU SAVED FROM YOUR HARVEST!

The next Seed Talk is Tuesday November 13 at 6:30 pm at the White Bear Lake Library.
The topic is Black Gold! Come find out what I mean by Black Gold and how you can make your own Black Gold with little effort.
Also I will show several methods for starting vegetable and native plant seeds. Yes, it's too early now to start tomato seeds, but it's not too early to think about it! Also, one of the easiest methods to start native plant seeds is done after a frost.

I'm also giving a free in depth class on how to save and start native plant seeds.
Seed Starting Talk at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
When: Sat, November 3, 10am – 11am
Where: 2660 Fawn Lake Drive NE, East Bethel MN 55005 (map)
Description: Learn how and when to save native plant seeds. Learn several methods on how to start native plant seeds including ones you can do now. Find out about the White Bear Lake Seed Library and how you can get free seeds. Free class taught by Pam Larson Frink, Horticulturist and one of the Founders of the White Bear Lake Seed Library
RSVP to Caitlin: caitlin@umn.edu

Remember do not cut down your dead plant material until spring. Our helpful pollinators and other insects and animals need winter cover to survive! Also, many birds relish native plant seeds during the fall and winter.
Pam

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Upcoming Events and Garlic

The next seed packaging is Wednesday Oct 24 from 5-8 pm at the White Bear Library.
I promised moving our events to different days of the week to accommodate more people and so this time it's on a Wednesday. (Just a FYI--Wednesdays are quite booked at the library so most of our events will still be on Monday or Tuesday evenings.) As usual, come when you can and stay as long as you like. Treats provided. No experience necessary! Come help package seeds for the seed library and enjoy the conversation with other gardeners.

The next Seed Talk is Tuesday November 13 at 6:30 pm at the White Bear Lake Library.
The topic is Black Gold! Come find out what I mean by Black Gold and how you can make your own Black Gold with little effort.
Also I will show several methods for starting vegetable and native plant seeds. Yes, it's too early now to start tomato seeds, but it's not too early to think about it! Also, one of the easiest methods to start native plant seeds is done after a frost.

After a frost brings me up to the subject of Planting Garlic.
Yep, about 1-2 weeks after a killing frost is the time to plant garlic. So it's time to start buying your garlic to plant. Don't buy supermarket garlic as it is a soft neck garlic which doesn't grow well in Minnesota. Buy hard neck garlic such as Rocambole, Purple Stripe and Porcelain. You can find them at Farmer's markets or garden stores.

Read this article on planting garlic by the University of Minnesota here: Growing Garlic

Or try this article from High Mowing Organic Seeds here: Garlic Growing

And finally I want to bring to your attention a website that gives you information on many of the garden clubs, societies, and groups related to gardening and plants in the Twin Cities area. All in one place! One of the best parts is that it has a calendar with events. This is maintained by Dick, a member of the Lake Owasso Garden Club--Thank you Dick for your hard work! Check it out here:  Crosspollination

There are still flowers blooming and vegetables to harvest--enjoy your gardens!
Pam

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Seed Library will be at the Harvest Party this Sunday!

Celebrating White Bear Lake Community Grown Food - Prepared by Local Chefs!
Harvest Party
Sunday, September 23
12:00-3:00PM | FREE Event!
White Bear Area YMCA Community Garden
2100 Orchard Lane, White Bear Lake, MN 55110

FREE event and meal, featuring fresh, local veggies grown at District 624 schools, the HealthPartners White Bear Lake Clinic, and the YMCA community gardens!
- Meal served starting at 12:00PM, while it lasts! Meal includes soup and grilled veggies prepared by local chefs, and homemade bread prepared by White Bear Lake United Methodist Church.
- Enjoy family activities, learn gardening and seed saving tips! 


Come collect seeds from the YMCA's gardens.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Seed Packaging Help Needed

Gardeners,

Just a reminder our first seed packaging of the season is this Monday, August 27 from 4:30-8:00 pm at the White Bear Lake library.
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!!
It is easy to do and I bring treats --a shameless bribe!

It will be in the Lion's Den room. Come when you can and stay as long as you are able. This is an open event.

If you have collected any seeds this season, bring them to the meeting or you can always drop them off at the seed library table at any time.

Hope to see you there!

Pam, who is very happy to have rain :)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Next Seed Talk, Tuesday August 14, 6:30pm White Bear Lake Library

Our next Seed Talk is Tuesday, August 14th at the White Bear Lake library at 6:30 pm. The main subject is common garden pests and what to do about them. I'll share some of my ideas and I hope you will share your ideas about how you deal with various gardens pests and diseases. This is an informal meeting and everyone is welcome. I'll also help anyone who wants to know how to save seeds.

The seed library is down to the bare bones! We need peas, beans, lettuce, annual flowers and native plant seeds to restock the drawers. Please consider saving seeds from non-hybrid varieties of these plants for the seed library. I've setup the next seed packaging date for Monday, August 27 from 4:30-8pm. No experience is necessary. Treats provided!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Tips for Growing Tomatoes, Bean, Peas and Lettuce

Here are the Tips we came up with during the first 
Seed Library Talk


Tips For Growing Tomatoes
The tomato is native to western South America and Central America. In 1519, Cortez discovered tomatoes growing in Montezuma's gardens and brought seeds back to Europe where they were planted as ornamental curiosities, but not eaten.

Most likely the first variety to reach Europe was yellow in color, since in Spain and Italy they were known as pomi d'oro, meaning yellow apples. Italy was the first to embrace and cultivate the tomato outside South America.
Practice crop rotation when planting all your vegetables. A 4 or 5 year rotation is the best to help prevent disease and insect problems.
Plant your tomatoes deeper than what they came in the pot. Tomatoes will form roots all along the stems and more roots make a stronger plant.
Grow several varieties – some will work better than others or may be less susceptible to disease or you may like the taste of some better than others.
Grow where they have at least 4 hours of sunlight, more is better.
Support plants with stakes or cages.
Don’t mulch until the soil warms – tomatoes need heat. They won’t really grow until the soil and air temperatures are warm. You can speed things up by covering the planting area with black or red plastic mulch a couple weeks before planting.  You can lift the plastic before planting but there is some research that says the red plastic increases yields.
Never water the plant, only the soil. The leaves and stems don’t like getting wet and it may encourage disease. Water deeply while the fruits are developing. When the fruit is ripening you can ease up on the watering. Less water will concentrate the sugars for better flavor, but don’t let the plants wilt or they will drop their blossoms.
Keep tomatoes evenly moist and not too much to avoid split fruit. Rule of thumb is one inch a week, but if hot dry weather or if grown in pots they will need more.
Every week or so when flowering start giving plants a seaweed or fish emulsion feed, or a weak all-purpose fertilizer. Less nitrogen is better.
Pinch out any shoots that develop between the stem and main branches – they take up energy from the plant developing fruit.
Once your plants are about 3 feet tall, remove the leaves from the bottom foot of stem. These are the oldest leaves and usually the first to get fungus problems. The bottom leaves get the least light and air flow and soil borne pathogens can easily splash up onto them.
Cut off the top of the plant when six trusses of fruit set. This helps to focus the plant’s energy.
Pick off the leaves around the tomatoes when they’ve reached full size, but haven’t changed color yet. This gets sun to the fruit to increase air flow and minimize disease.
Good Companion plants with tomatoes
NOTE: There are a lot of things that can impact the effectiveness of plant companions, so don't expect magic. Companion planting is part experience, part folklore, and part wishful thinking. Most companion planting teachings are passed down by gardeners who experimented with pairing plants and had some success.
  • Basil repels insects and disease, improves growth and flavor. Repels mosquitoes and flies (even fruit flies).
  • Borage improves growth and flavor and repels tomato worms.
  • Bee balm, chives, dill, mint and parsley improve health and flavor. Use dill early since mature dill starts to inhibit tomato growth.
  • Carrots planted near tomatoes may not get as large as they should, but they'll still taste good.
  • Garlic repels red spider mites. Garlic sprays help control late blight.
  • Stinging nettle nearby improves taste.
  • Sow thistle aids growth.
Bad companion plants with tomatoes
·         Cabbage (Brassica) family - stunt the growth of tomato plants, (including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, rutabaga,  and turnip).
·         Corn - - The corn earworm is the same as the tomato fruit worm. (Also known as the cotton bollworm.)
·         Dill -- Mature dill plants, as mentioned above, will start to inhibit tomato plant growth. Plant the dill you want to go to seed away from your tomatoes.
·         Eggplant, peppers and potatoes - These plants are in the same family as tomatoes and are all susceptible to early and late blight, which will build up in the soil and get worse each year. Avoid planting them near each other or in place of each other for at least 3 years. Also planting tomatoes near potatoes can make the potatoes more susceptible to potato blight.
·         Fennel - Inhibits tomato plant growth.
·         Walnuts - Don't plant tomatoes under walnut or butternut trees, which produce an chemical called juglone that inhibits the growth of tomatoes (and all the members of the nightshade).



How to Grow Peas and Beans
The pea is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world. Although its origin is obscured in history, peas were found in excavations in Switzerland dating to the Bronze Age and in an Egyptian tomb at Thebes. Peas were popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans. In fact, the word 'peas' is a derivation of the Latin 'pisum.' The Anglo-Saxon word for peas was 'pise' or 'pease' as in the nursery rhyme, 'pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold.'
Peas thrive in cool weather and young plants will tolerate light frosts. Once germinated, peas adapt well to the cold, damp climate of early spring. Peas must be planted as early as possible in the spring to get a full harvest before hot summer temperatures arrive and put an end to production.
Unlike peas, beans cannot tolerate any frost. Plant after all danger of frost has passed. Beans like hot weather and full sun, but if too hot will slow production.
Peas don’t need much fertilizer. Too much nitrogen will only produce leaves not pods.
Water deeply once a week or more if hot and dry. Peas and beans need moisture to produce.
Like other members of the legume family, peas and beans have a symbiotic relationship with Rhizobia bacteria that colonize the roots of the plants and help them 'fix' nitrogen in the soil. After soaking the seeds overnight in lukewarm water, drain them and sprinkle an inoculant over them just before planting. This will boost the pea plants and produce higher yields.
Pick beans frequently to encourage a larger harvest.
Beans have shallow roots and can’t compete with weeds, so weed regularly. Mulch helps.
Practice crop rotation to prevent insects and disease.
Companion Plants for beans and peas
Marigolds repel insects
Celery repels butterflies
Other companion plant interactions – planting beans next to potatoes improves potatoes as beans fix nitrogen in the soil


How to Grow Lettuce
Keep soil evenly moist at all times, watering every other day if necessary. If lettuce doesn’t get enough water it tastes bitter.
Lettuce like nitrogen so feed with an organic fertilizer at least once during the growing season.
Lettuce likes pulverized soil, similar to carrots.
Harvest in the morning before the heat of the day stresses the plants.
Plan your garden so lettuce will be shaded by taller plants during the heat of the day.
Practice crop rotation to prevent insects and diseases.
Lettuce is a cool weather crop. Plant as soon as soil can be worked in the spring and plant again 6 weeks before first frost in the fall.
Sow cold tolerant buttehead or romaine lettuce 4 weeks before first frost.
Leaf lettuce can be grown in pots, just keep moist at all times.
 




Wednesday, May 23, 2018

NEW! Community Seed Network

Just want to let you in on a new source of seed libraries and seed savers--the Community Seed Network.

The Community Seed Network connects and supports community seed initiatives by providing resources, information, and a platform for networking.

FACEBOOK-INSTAGRAM-hands-CSN-EN

I have added the White Bear Lake Seed Library to their list of sources and you can find us on their map. You can also get to the map by clicking on CONNECT and the BROWSE the DIRECTORY. It's a great resource and I hope you check it out. 

It also has a Facebook page where members can share information. At this time I do not have a Facebook account, but if one of you does have a Facebook account and would like to share info about our seed library, please contact me. (Maybe I'll have to get a Facebook account?)

BUT the best part is the LEARN resource, which has tons of info on saving seeds and growing plants.
I can tell a lot of hours have been put into this resource. I hope you find it interesting and useful.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Spring Activities and Events

Contrary to the blizzard and 12+" of snow, Spring and all its activities will eventually come, though sometimes that seems like wishful thinking. Check out the many activities coming up:
Wild Ones Meetings - Open to the public, great speakers on various topic concerning native plants.
    April 17 - Rare Plants of Northern Washington County, presented by Jason Husveth, FamilyMeans building, Stillwater, 7-8:45 pm, socialize 6:30pm,  stcroixoaksavanna.wildones.org

    April 26 - Healthy Soil, Healthy Plants presented by Anne Sawyer, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Autumn Grove Park, Roseville, bigriverbigwoods.wildones.org
    May 15  - An Invitation to Landscape with Native Plants: Getting Started, presented by Kathy Widin, FamilyMeans building, Stillwater, 7-8:45pm, Socialize 6:30pm, stcroixoaksavanna.wildones.org

    May 24 - Tips for Discovery Biodiversity in your Backyard, presented by Larissa and Erik Mottl, 6:30-8:30 pm, Autumn Grove Park, Roseville, bigriverbigwoods.wildones.org

Apr 21 - Earth day Cleanup at Tamarack Nature Center - Help us celebrate Earth Day with a morning at Tamarack! We'll remove invasive plants from trails and nature center grounds and work in the garden to get it ready for planting.  9-noon, ages 8+,  Tamarack Nature Center 5287 Otter Lake Road White Bear Township, MN 55110

Apr 21 - Gardening with Native Pollinators with Heather Holm and Pollinator Friendly Alliance,
Warner Nature Center   15375 Norell Avenue, Marine on St. Croix. 10:00-11:15 am.  Call Warner to register 651-433-2427.

April 22 - EARTH DAY!! Do Something Nice for the Earth! Plant a tree or plant, cleanup a park or educate someone about why we need to protect our earth.

May 5 - May Mosaic - The latest dirt on soil, composting, seed saving, and more. Bring your garden questions for Ramsey County Master Gardeners to answer as well as garden stories to share with your neighbors. Find out about pollinators and their importance in your garden and yard.
11am-2pm, Historic Como Streetcar Station, 1224 N. Lexington Pkwy 55117

May 6 - New Pollinator Garden Planting near Mississippi River, May 6
POLLINATOR GARDEN TO BE PLANTED IN HIGHLAND PARK NEAR RIVER! On Sunday, May 6th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. an extensive pollinator garden, featuring native ornamental grasses will be planted on the east side of the Temple of Aaron parking lot in an abandoned city alley right of way. The area previously was filled with invasive shrubs and weeds. This garden will measure 300 ft long by 10 ft. wide and extends south from Hartford Avenue. Ramsey County Master Gardeners will be on hand to assist volunteers with planting the “plug” grasses and wildflowers. We ask that you bring your family members out for this one time installation of a garden that will not only attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, but will also serve as a snack bar for our resident Bald Eagles who have been nesting nearby since 2015. Bring a pair of garden gloves and a hand trowel or shovel. Refreshments will be available. You will want to be able to say that you were involved in the planting of the River of Grass Pollinator Garden. Why? Once established, this garden will be the longest native ornamental grass border in Minnesota and possibly the Upper Midwest, according to Dr. Mary Meyer, University of Minnesota Ornamental Grass researcher and educator. Come help us install this fabulous garden that will start waving its grasses and showing its blooms later this summer. Where to arrive: Meet in parking lot behind 616 South Mississippi River Boulevard in St. Paul Since the River Boulevard is often closed on weekends for walks and races, we encourage you to reach the site this way: From I:94- Exit Cretin Avenue, drive south to Hartford Avenue From Cretin Avenue, turn west on Hartford Avenue. Drive 2.5 blocks- just past Mount Curve Avenue- to entrance to parking lot.
May 11-13 - Friends School Plant sale - selling over 2,450 plant varieties of all neonic-free plants: vegetables, flowers, rare, trees, shrubs, bulbs, herbs, etc. Amazing amount of plants! friendsschoolplantsale.com

May 12 - Welcome to the Garden - Open House for the community gardens at the White Bear Lake YMCA from 9-12 with events and education. The Seed Library will be there.
May 21 - Flowers for Pollinators - Learn how to identify the pollinators in your neighborhood and develop an understanding of the threats they face in our communities with this presentation from U of M Extension Master Gardeners. You will leave this presentation empowered and inspired to create pollinator-friendly habitats in your community - to help pollinators thrive in your community. Shoreview Library, 6:30-7:30pm, https://www.rclreads.org/
Landscape Revival. Selling pollinator safe, neonic-free native plants at 2 locations this year! Landscape Revival
June 2 - Landscape Revival, Shepherd of the Hills Church, 3920 Victoria St N, Shoreview, Minnesota (MN) 55126, 9-1:30
June 9 - Landscape Revival, Richard Walton Memorial Park, 5th Street N and Hadley Avenue N, Oakdale, Minnesota (MN) 55128, 9-2
Jun 4 - Flowers for Pollinators - Learn how to identify the pollinators in your neighborhood and develop an understanding of the threats they face in our communities with this presentation from U of M Extension Master Gardeners. You will leave this presentation empowered and inspired to create pollinator-friendly habitats in your community - to help pollinators thrive in your community. White Bear Lake Library, 6:30-7:30pm, https://www.rclreads.org/

June 24 - Mahtomedi Garden Club Tour. mahtomedigardenclub.org