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    A Pest Above the Rest – Japanese Beetles It’s July and our gardens are in their prime! But wait, what is that insect on my beautiful roses? And why do the leaves on my raspberries look like skeletons? Read this article about the dreaded Japanese Beetle and what you can do to minimize the damage they cause. Read More Bird Feeding Bird-feeding is for all of us who enjoy and love watching birds. Inside this article you’ll find information on bird-feeding tips, preventing disease in your bird feeders and an update on the AVIAN (HPAI) bird flu that disrupted this summer’s bird-feeding habits. Read More Boxelder Bugs It’s cool but sunny outside and I would like to walk into my front door but the door and wall are covered with black and orange bugs! They are boxelder bugs and they are looking for a warm home for the winter. Read how to manage these nonharmful but annoying pests. Read More Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea} Is creeping charlie an unwelcome intruder in your garden? Read this article to find out more about why this plant is so hard to eliminate and, even, how you can appreciate and even live with Creeping Charlie in your garden. Read More Getting the Jump on Jumping Worms Many of us associate worms in the soil as an indicator of “good garden soil.” Unfortunately, that is not necessarily true in Minnesota these days. “Jumping worms” have become more common in local gardens recently and that is not a good thing. Read this article to understand why. Read More Protecting Our Trees from Invasive Species The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources defines an invasive species as “species that are not native to Minnesota and cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” This article defines and identifies the invasive species that can cause harm to the economy, environment, or human health. Read More Taking on Ticks You’ve turned in after a productive day of gardening. Beginning to doze off, you feel something ever so slightly brushing against your thigh. You reach and feel a small hard object crawling up your leg. Lights on. It’s a tic, ambling along, looking for a nice warm place to suck your blood! It is tick season and there is good reason to be wary. Read More Diseases, Pests & Wildlife

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    Books & Other Resources ​ Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard A family's dog fall into an outhouse on a camping opened up a new world to a young girl - fungi, mineral-colored soil, humus, insects, worms, and more. The young girl grew up to become a forest ecologist and educator. Suzanne Simard’s look into the communicative world beneath our feet highlights nature’s resilience and its enormous capacity to heal. Read More ​ Teaming with Microbes, by Jeff Lowenfels The book, Teaming with Microbes, may leave a reader inspired to learn more and in awe of the world below their feet. If that is the case, Jeff Lowenfels' book may be a good next choice. Read More ​ The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats By Daniel Stone Who knew that the life of an “agricultural explorer” could be both fascinating and suspenseful. Read this review of book, “The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats” to learn why food exploration can be exciting! Read More ​ The Herbal Kitchen By Kami McBride The Herbal Kitchen by Kamie McBride is a tremendous resource and beautifully written guide to expanding your herbal repertoire. Fifty herbs and spices are discussed with tips for preparing, storing, and using them, and over 250 recipes will have you inspired to add more herbs to your garden (what's one more bed?!) Read the full review to learn more! Read More

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    Indoor Plants ​ Propagating House Plants Winter blahs got you down? Bring more green into your home by propagating your houseplants. It’s easier than you think for many plant varieties, and it’s a fun way to spend part of a gray day. Read More ​ The Short-lived Beauty of Blooming Cactus Various cacti can provide gardening pleasure in Minnesota both outside in the summer and inside during the cold weather. There are thousands of varieties of cacti, many of which are different and exotic, in other words, pretty cool. But there are some tricks to growing cacti successfully. Here are some tips on growing healthy cacti and getting them to re-bloom. Read More ​ African Violets African Violets are one of the most popular houseplants because they require little maintenance and, cared for properly, bloom several times a year. But, as with any plant, they do have specific needs that you must know and pay attention to in order to provide the color and pleasure that you are hoping for. Read this article to understand how to achieve a happy, healthy African Violet in your home. Read More ​ Houseplant Pests Discovering and controlling pests on your indoor plants is an important step for keeping your indoor garden healthy and happy. The information in this article will help you keep these unwanted visitors off your plants and out of your home. Read More ​ Helping Houseplants Stay Healthy this Winter Chances are, you’ll be spending more time indoors over the next few months. So will your green and growing friends – your houseplants. It makes sense then to get to know how to keep them healthy. Read More ​ Holiday Cacti Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti are beautiful flowering holiday plants Read More ​ Poinsettias – A Home in Mexico and Dr. Poinsett The Poinsettia is a weed in its native Mexico. It is called lobster plant or Mexican Flame Leaf and has become an essential part of North America’s Christmas décor. Read More

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    Trees & Shrubs Best Time to Prune Trees Although trees are quite resilient and may be pruned anytime, there are both practical as well as biological reasons to prune or not prune during certain times of the year. Read More Buckthorn Removal Ah yes, the dreaded B word … Buckthorn! This noxious invasive species threatens residential, woodland areas, waters and grassland areas. Unfortunately, buckthorn is a multi-year commitment as the seeds in the soil can germinate for many years. So, you ask, what kind of treatment plan should you use? Read on for tips to use in removing this invasive plant. Read More Buttonbush (Queen of the Wetlands) Buttonbush is a great shrub for naturalizing in wet areas and attracts butterflies. Read more about its attributes. Read More Holiday Trees Tis the season. If your holiday decorating includes a fresh cut tree, here are some things to consider before selecting your tree and some tips to ensure it lasts throughout the season. Read More How Trees Talk to One Another Have you ever walked in the woods and thought there was someone there, someone talking? Well, if you have, you were right. It was the trees talking to one another. Read More How to Identify Minnesota Native Conifers The garden beds are tucked in under an abundant blanket of snow. The wardrobes of the deciduous trees are a distant memory after their yearly fashion show. But for some of us, one of the most beautiful sights this time of year, is the star of the season’s show: the coniferous tree. Most conifers stay green throughout the winter but they are not all the same. Read More March is a Great Time to Prune Many Trees and Shrubs Don’t let the fact that there is still snow on the ground deter you from getting outside and pruning the trees and shrubs in your yard that need it. Late winter and early spring is the best time to prune most trees and shrubs. This article will provide some advice on how to go about it to make your plants and yourself pleased with the result. Read More Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) Looking for a small tree to add to your landscape? Consider the Pagoda Dogwood, it grows quickly and offers delicious berries for the birds in late summer. Read more about this attractive tree here. Read More Plants for Winter Interest In Minnesota, the winter color palette tends toward white, brown and gray. But we need not think of this landscape as drab or uninteresting. Fill your yard with interesting shrubs and sturdy perennials to enjoy a peacefully pleasing home landscape. Read this article for several plants that liven up a winter landscape. Read More Preparing Your Trees and Evergreens for Winter We’ve all heard that there are only two seasons in Minnesota---Winter and Getting Ready for Winter (or is it Road Repair?). In any event, Minnesota’s harsh winter can cause severe damage to landscape plants. The big three threats are sun, cold and critters. Happily, there are a number of things you can do this fall to protect your trees and shrubs from the Terrible Trio. Read More Why Weigela? Weigelas are beautiful, deer-resistant, flowering shrubs. There are many lovely varieties to choose. Learn why you should consider this shrub for your garden. Read More

  • News

    Gardening by the Month ​ February - Starting Seeds Indoors If you want to grow plants from seed for your garden this spring, February is the time to start – planning and planting. There is a little more to it than dropping a seed in soil. Read More ​ April - What To Do About Winter Damage As we think beyond winter to spring, you may encounter winter damage to some of your plants. In this article, Karna Berg reminds us how to give your plants a boost going into winter and how to deal with winter damage in a way that will allow plants to recover and, ultimately, flourish. Read More ​ May - Container Gardening Container gardening provides those with little or no yard an opportunity to grow vegetable, herbs or flowers inside your home or on your deck or patio. In addition, placing containers as part of your in-ground garden can add additional space and/or additional beauty to the garden. This article will help you plan your container garden. Read More ​ June - Fun With Fairy Gardens Fairy gardens are a great way to experience gardening with your children or grandchildren but – grownups love them, too. It’s said that if you plant a fairy garden, something magical happens. Years drop away, stress leaves you and you’re transported into the world of make believe. Nothing brings out the inner child in us more than when we plant a fairy garden. This article will inspire to experience the joy of fairy gardens. Read More ​ September - Seed Saving Seed saving is a fun and rewarding experience—especially when you see the fruits of your labor the following year! We are approaching harvest time in Minnesota, so now is the perfect time to think about harvesting seeds. Read this article for some tips to help make your seed saving productive! Read More ​ December - Enjoying the Winter Garden As Minnesotans, we learn to appreciate the cycle of northern gardening. The truth is, after putting the garden to bed for the season, the winter respite provides a chance to enjoy the garden in different ways. Read this article for thoughts about how to enjoy your garden in winter. Read More

  • News

    Annuals & Bulbs ​ The Ws (plus an H) of Bulbs The great thing about planting bulbs is that they will bloom year after year. Here's what you need to know to grow bulbs successfully in your garden and look forward to early spring color. Read More ​ Glorious Amaryllis Amaryllis is a beautiful plant with large, stunning blooms that can be grown as a houseplant year-round. Get ready for some beautiful inside blooms and learn all about growing Amaryllis this winter. Read More ​ Zinnias: Vibrant Accents to a Northern Garden You know that zinnias provide a beautiful flourish to the summer garden. The varieties and colors are endless and can be enjoyed from late Spring into the Fall. But did you know that growing Zinnias from seed is both easy and rewarding? Read this article to learn why you might want to grow your own zinnias from seed this year. Read More ​ Early Spring Blooming Plants Deep in the doldrums of winter, everyone is anxious for spring weather to arrive so that, once again, they can dig in the dirt planting flowers and vegetables. To entice us even more, we’re seeing bulb plants in the stores for sale so we can enjoy them at home until spring finally arrives. In this article, I’ll talk about some of the most popular spring blooming plants for your garden. Read More ​ Harvesting and Preserving Herbs Harvest time is such a fun time of the year. There are so many herbs to harvest and preserve for the upcoming winter months. Some share their bounty year after year, like tarragon and oregano, and others, like basil and marjoram, are planted in spring for a fall harvest. Read More ​ Forcing Flower Bulbs Successfully Need a little color in your home this winter? After all the holiday décor is stored away, forcing flower bulbs indoors is a great way to enjoy flowers, both for their color and fragrance, during the cold winter months. Read More ​ Growing Daffodils Sometimes referred to as narcissus, daffodils nodding yellow, white, or variegated heads, are true harbingers of spring. Daffodils are a colorful addition to your garden with few basic steps. Read More

  • News

    Lawn Care ​ What to Do with All Those Leaves? Did you know that the trees in one acre of forest shed as much as two tons of leaves each fall? Your neighborhood may not have that many trees, but even a little bit of raking is hard on the back . . . and it’s no fun for anyone but the kids who jump in the piles! It doesn’t make sense to bag or compost your leaves. Instead, turn them into a valuable natural resource that delivers organic matter and nutrients to your landscape. Read More ​ Fall Lawn Care Fall is the best time to prepare for next year’s healthy lawn. Most lawns in Minnesota have cool weather grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass, tall and fine fescues and perennial ryegrass. Read More

  • News

    Edible Plants Edible Plants Brussels Sprouts Brussels sprouts are one of the few crops usually harvested in late fall – late September through late October, depending on your location. Flavor improves with cooler fall weather and they can stay in the garden as long as temperatures remain above 20°F. Read more about how to grow and enjoy this late season vegetable. Read More Carrots and Parsnips Carrots and parsnips are favorite “winter” vegetables. They are “root” vegetables that are staples of Minnesota gardens. You can save the carrots and parsnips that you grew in your garden for eating in the winter. Even if you didn’t grow them yourself, carrots and parsnips are a great addition to a winter meal. Learn more about how to grow and enjoy these healthy and tasty vegetables. Read More Growing Terrific Tomatoes ​ Read More Harvesting Vegetables Whether you’re an old hand or brand new to vegetable gardening, at times it can be difficult to know exactly when and how to harvest your vegetables. Learn more about the importance of timing when harvesting your vegetables. Read More Hydroponics at Home Have you heard of the hydroponic method of growing plants but thought is sounded too difficult to try at home? Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil. Read More Microgreens - Only Micro in Size Did you think that you would have to wait until spring to grow fresh greens for your dinner table? Not so if you read this article and learn how to grow microgreens indoors. Microgreens are easy to grow, quick to harvest, have year-round indoor growing potential, exceptional nutritional value, and seeds are available in many varieties for endless experimentation. There is nothing micro about microgreens-accept their size! Read More Spaghetti Squash (“Cucurbita pepo”) Spaghetti Squash is something to consider introducing to your diet. It is relatively easy to find in the grocery stores in the winter as well as Farmer’s Markets in the late summer months. You can also grow it in your own garden! It is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, low in calorie and carbohydrates, high in fiber, and easy to prepare. Spaghetti Squash is different than typical squash varietals in that it can be shredded into strands resembling “spaghetti” and can be used as a gluten-free replacement to pasta, helping you achieve your carb reduction or weight loss goals. Read More The Power of Edamame Edamame is a recently popular vegetable that deserves a place in your garden and kitchen. Rich in protein, antioxidants and fiber, it has many health benefits. Edamame can be eaten in many different ways. Read more about this powerful vegetable in this article. Read More

  • News

    Garden Prep & Care Composting Would you like to save $$$ on your gardening expenses? Homegrown compost can be used to solve various garden challenges while saving you money from buying other product solutions in-store. Read More Cover Crops for the Home Garden As you harvest the last of your vegetables and fruits late in the gardening season, open soil space becomes available in your garden. Why not try something new and fill those spaces with cover crops? Read more about cover crops in the home garden. Read More Deciphering Seed Catalogs Seed catalogs start coming in January or February - a good time to start dreaming of your next garden! But there is so much information packed into a seed catalog it can be hard to interpret the abbreviations and array of plant varieties. This article will help you to decipher your seed catalogs so that you can choose the best plants for your garden. Read More Garden in the Minnesota Winter with “Winter Sowing” Itching to get planting? Even in our cold Minnesota we can start our spring gardens. Winter seed sowing is possible using homemade miniature greenhouses and plenty of snow. Here's how... Read More Imagining Your Garden’s Possibilities January is a month of fresh starts, a time to renew and begin again. Whether you were pleased or frustrated with your garden in 2021, the new year is a great time to dream about your 2022 garden’s possibilities. Valerie Rogotzke shares some thoughts about how to reimagine your garden. Read More Putting Your Garden to Bed If it’s yellow or brown, cut it down. If it’s green, leave it alone. This long-standing rule-of-thumb means you can’t just wake up one day and decide to put your garden to bed for the winter. It’s a gradual process because plants die back at different rates depending on when they transition energy to the roots. Cutting off green leaves can weaken a plant and affect its vigor and bloom next year. Besides, there are lots of reasons to avoid cutting shrubs, stems and perennials – for winter interest and for wildlife. Here are some ways to ready your gardens for cold and snow ahead. Read More Rain Gardens Whether you live in a city or along a lake or river, managing storm water run-off is something to consider in your landscape. Read this article to finds ways to do it. Read More There's Always Next Year - Season End Reflections Fall is a logical time to reflect upon how your garden fared during the growing season. What went right, what went wrong, what lessons were learned? This season presented ample opportunity to learn some gardening lessons. Conditions tested even the most experienced gardeners and the most established gardens. Read about some of the problems that one Master Gardener tackled this summer and some lessons learned. Read More To Till or Not to Till One sure sign of spring for me as a young man was my father-in-law rototilling his vegetable garden. He’d fire up his trusty TroyBuilt and belching smoke and fumes, pulverize a good portion of his back yard. The resultant fluffy black soil seemed to invite planting. Read More

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    Recipes & Cookbook ​ Winter Chicken Stew (And a Special Valentine Treat) The ice and snow have buried your garden under a cold blanket. Picking fresh veggies and herbs from your own plot is a distant memory and a future hope! You can still make tasty nutritious meals for your family using your garden produce, just open your freezer. Here is a recipe for a delicious chicken stew that will make great use of your frozen vegetables and herbs. Follow that up with this special sweet Valentine’s treat. Read More ​ Chicken Curry Cooking in the winter is a time to fill your kitchen with tempting, warming fragrances that are new and exciting. This Chicken Curry recipe does just that. It also makes use of the carrots, parsnips, tomatoes, peppers and cilantro that you may have in your freezer from last season’s garden. Read More ​ Cooking with Garden Vegetables The vegetables that you harvested from your garden (or buy from your grocery store) continue to provide healthy and tasty snacks and meals during the cold months of the year. Joy Johnson shares two tasty recipes for you to enjoy as the flowers sleep and the leaves settle to the ground in November. Read More ​ A Trio of Garden Produce Recipes It’s cold, it’s snowy and your garden is sound asleep resting under a blanket of snow and ice. Last summer’s dry, hot weather is a distant memory. However, it was that weather which helped us produce a bumper crop of tomatoes, peppers and apples. Joy Johnson shares 3 yummy recipes that make great use of those saved vegetables. Read More

  • Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard

    < Back Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard A family's dog fall into an outhouse on a camping opened up a new world to a young girl - fungi, mineral-colored soil, humus, insects, worms, and more. The young girl grew up to become a forest ecologist and educator. Suzanne Simard’s look into the communicative world beneath our feet highlights nature’s resilience and its enormous capacity to heal. Valerie Rogotzke, Master Gardener “This is not a book about how we can save the trees. This is a book about how trees might save us.” A family's dog falls into the outhouse on a camping trip in a Canadian forest. Uncles, aunts, grandparents, and parents all begin to dig out the poor creature, clearing away leaves from the forest floor, ripping up several feet of tree roots, and overturning several feet of earth. What a young girl sees, though, is not just the tree roots or the dirt itself, but a whole world under the ground: fungi, mineral-colored soil, humus, insects, worms, and more. That young girl grew up to become the forest ecologist and educator Suzanne Simard, a woman whose academic research would lead her back to the world beneath our feet. She began studying the fungal networks of mycelia and the ways that trees communicate with one another through root systems, and discovered that the oldest and most established trees—what she calls mother trees—direct the sharing of resources amongst all the flora of the forest. Simard’s look into the communicative world beneath our feet highlights nature’s resilience and its enormous capacity to heal. Her work appeals to gardeners, naturalists, and scientists alike. For more, her 2016 TED Talk educates on mycelia and mother tree communication, culminating in her advice for all to get out into local forests, to save old growth forests, for loggers to save the mother trees when logging occurs, and for logging companies to regenerate our forests wisely after logging. Simard’s book Finding the Mother Tree goes further still. This is not a dry or stuffy read, but an adventure story. Simard shares her fascinating field research in clear prose, telling stories about her sometimes-eccentric Canadian family of loggers and campers. Readers end with a deeper knowledge of how the natural world works and deeper appreciation for our human responsibility in protecting it. SOURCES : https://mothertreeproject.org https://suzannesimard.com Simard, Suzanne. Finding The Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest . New York, NY: Knopf Publishing, 2021. “How Trees Talk To Each Other,” TED. 2016 https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_simard_how_trees_talk_to_each_other ? language=en Photo credit: book jacket

  • Home | DCMGV

    Learn more and Register today! About Us The mission of the Dakota County Extension Master Gardener program is to educate and assist the public by answering questions and solving problems about horticulture and related environmental topics. There are more than 130 Dakota County residents who are University of Minnesota Extension-trained and volunteer thousands of hours each year. Gardening Problem or Questions? Garden Information Ask a MG Ask a Master Gardener Extension Yard & Garden Extension Yard & Garden Garden Information 1/3 Upcoming Events View All Events Get the Buzz Don’t miss out on the Garden Buzz, the Dakota County Master Gardener’s monthly newsletter bringing you interesting, timely, research-based information on best practices in consumer gardening and caring for the environment. Monthly gardening tasks Master Gardener events Plant diseases, insects or other garden problems Tips to enhance your garden and the environment; Ideas for sharing the joy of gardening with the children in your lives Recipes, gardening books and much more! ​ Subscribe Now

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