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3738 42nd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN, 55406






Karen O'Connor

"Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well."
-Mark Twain

I think that quote might be the reason you haven't seen a newsletter in many weeks...
Here we go, though, because the last minute is getting uncomfortably close for some of the store's upcoming events...

Read on for: store events, SALE info, and some fall planting tips!

Join us Saturday, 9/24, from 11-5 to learn about an interesting solution to our weed woes and time constraints.

Introducing Meadowbox: pre-planned plant communities by Field Outdoor Spaces that Increase pollinator and soil life with low-maintenance plants that work together, and out-work weeds. Have a snack and beverage and learn about the options at Mother Earth Gardens Northeast. Talks on the hour, samples and an extra 10% off our already discounted perennials!

Many of you know that mums and cabbages are great for fall containers because they can take frosty nights and still look great - giving them the staying power you need until it is time to create your winter container. But there are many other plants for sale at the garden center right now (and 25% off!) that are also strong fall choices. Here's a short list of a few annuals and perennials that we use in containers throughout the fall:
annual rudbeckia
annual salvia
annual grasses
calibrachoa (million bells)
annual asclepias (butterfly weed)
perennial grasses
perennial herbs
heuchera (coral bells)

Garlic is available now, along with all the other spring flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils and allium. We've got several varieties of garlic available from spicy to smooth...
PUMPKINS coming next week.

SALE info:  Our all store seasonal sale continues through Sunday, September 25th. Buy two, get one free annuals and perennials, including mums! 25% off basically everything else!  (Plants and selected outdoor decor will continue to be on sale until you clear us out, through October.)
Garden Consultations 10% off through November, too.
September and October are EXCELLENT times to plant trees, shrubs and perennials, so come on in and get ye a deal!

Wednesday, October 12 from 5-9pm: Northeast Customer Appreciation Event. Adult and all ages beverages, snacks and sneak peeks at our holiday gift line up along with discounts all party long....
Wednesday, October 26 from 5-9pm: Longfellow Customer Appreciation Event. All of the above, and did I mention a giveaway or raffle kind of thing?

MAY 2016 (part 2)

Karen O'Connor

Still, dark and raining hard
on a cold May morning
and yet the early bird
is out there chirping,
chirping out its sweet-sour
wooden-pulley notes
pleased, it would seem,
to be given work,
hauling the heavy
bucket of dawn
up from the darkness,
note after note
and letting us drink.
-Ted Kooser

Yep, the mornings are brighter, the birds are noticeably louder and the weeds seem to be everywhere.
May! The month of green and plenty - you are forgiven if you are feeling overwhelmed. There is everything to do, and everything to enjoy, but it is impossible to Get It Done, so permission given to let some things go, or to get to them later. You are not too late. The lovely thing about gardening is that it is not instant, and is continuously evolving, so do what you can, and rest assured there will always be more tasks.
With that in mind, this newsletter will do a little compartmentalizing and scaling back, too, and focus on just A, B, and C: arugula, basil, and cilantro.
Why pick these three? Because in May we start anywhere we can, and these popular herbs are a fine beginning.

Arugula (Eruca sativa) is an edible annual, frequently sold as an herb, but which really behaves more like a lettuce. It has a peppery flavor and the younger shoots are milder and softer. Arugula is very high in vitamins A, C and K, and provides fiber, protein and sulfur-containing compounds that are believed to decrease cancer risk.
Growing arugula is different than growing many potted herbs. It prefers cooler conditions, and can become sharp and intense when the weather heats up. Like lettuces, it tends to "bolt", or quickly go to flower and seed, in hot weather. For this reason, it is challenging to have one arugula plant in a pot for the summer, like you might have one rosemary plant. Many gardeners plant an arugula plant, then plant seed every three weeks in succession so that a continuous crop of younger shoots can be enjoyed through the summer. The flowers of the arugula that has bolted can be left for pollinators in a garden bed, or if you have a large container, you can simply cut it way back or gently remove it while the new seedlings grow in.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is hands down the most popular herb we sell, and Sweet basil, or Genovese style, is the most popular type. There are other delightful basils to try: Thai and Persian have a licorice flavor and add a singular flavor to stir fries, Lemon and Lime basil have a fresh, slightly tart flavor, and Purpurea purple leaf adds dramatic beauty to an herb garden.
There have also been some improvements to the Sweet basil scene, such as Dolly and Envigor, which are bred for resistance to some of the more common basil pathogens. British basil performs better in cold, wet weather.
And on that note, the thing people really, really don't seem to like to hear is that basil does not benefit from being planted too early. Some of you probably lost basil in our recent May cold snap. Temperatures cooler that 50 degrees can spell the end for basil, and if planted in soil that is too cold and wet, it can be stunted for the entire season. In our climate, basil is best planted when temperatures are between 65 (night) and 85 (day), typically early June. Yes, you read that right - June. Getting a jump on the season just doesn't happen with basil. You end up with poor performing plants that are easy targets for pests. So, save it for later, and get rewarded for putting it off.
Once the heat starts kicking up, you'll need to water regularly, and pinch off all flowers. Pruning stalks taller than 6 inches down to their second set of leaves will make the plant grow bushier and you'll get more of the good stuff. At the end of the season, harvest before nights start dipping below 50 consistently. Freezing it is the best way to keep the flavor intact if you wish to store basil.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is an aromatic, leafy herb that grows well in cooler temperatures. Like arugula, if it is kept cut before it flowers, the flavor stays clean and robust. When it gets warm enough in the summer, though, cilantro will quickly produce flowers that will go to seed. That seed is the herb coriander, which can be collected, making cilantro a dual purpose plant. To keep cilantro on hand for longer than springtime, seed or replant every few weeks. Eventually, it will be hard to keep ahead of the flowering, but cilantro will grow beautifully again in the fall when temps drop. If you have cilantro in a container, keep it trimmed and replant during the season.

Some quick store news as we sign off:
We have herbs and annuals all summer. All summer.
YES we still have tomatoes, peppers, cukes, squash, melons and other veggies.
We are nearing the end of the cabbages, greens, onions, potatoes and other cool season vegetables.
Mushroom spawn should be arriving in June.
MIlkweed available at both stores, native plants and perennials available all summer through fall.

MAY 2016

Karen O'Connor

COLD temps overnight
Potential for 34 degrees overnight Friday the 13th and Saturday the 14th.
Bring inside the following warm weather edibles (or cover if not possible to bring in):
Basil, tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, melons, beans, eggplant, okra, ground cherries, peanuts, tomatillos, figs, olives.

Bring inside the following annuals (or cover if not possible to bring in):
Coleus, sweet potato vine, impatiens, begonia, thunbergia, alternantha, celosia, castor bean, zinnea, annual vinca, tropical annuals and houseplants.

What will be fine outside?
Trees and shrubs
Cold tolerant veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, spinach, peas, kale, onions, carrots and beets
Cold tolerant annuals like pansies, nemesia, diascia, and osteospermum

Good luck, and don't worry, it's just May in Minnesota!

APRIL 2016

Karen O'Connor

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
-William Wordsworth

April is mercurial, all promise and sunshine one day, only to turn into windy rain the next. All manner of footwear and outerwear is April-appropriate; you might be planting lettuce in shorts, or in a winter vest with gloves. Lucky there are plants that can tolerate this transition - several are listed in the planting tips below.

A N D, you'll be happy to know, you are not "behind". In fact, the season has barely started. Believe us when we say, we have hardly begun to clean (our yards and tools), assess (which plants made it through winter), or amend (add compost or manure to garden beds).

So with permission to be a slow-poke, here are your April gardening tips. They all start with the word Breathe, and they all end with the word Enjoy.

Gently rake away those leaves that are still in the garden!
It's always beneficial to get a soil test from the University of Minnesota. It will help you apply the right soil amendments in the right place.
Add compost, soil conditioner or manure to garden beds.

Cold tolerant vegetables and herbs:
Kale, Cabbage, Collards, Chard
Broccoli, Cauliflower
Lettuce, Spinach
Onions, Leeks, Shallots
Potatoes, Beets, Carrots and Radishes (direct seed),
Peas (direct seed)
Cold tolerant annuals:
Nemesia, Diascia
Spring hardy herbs:
Make a beautiful herb and pansy pot for your stoop, balcony or deck!

INSIDE, or When Its Cold Out:
Cover your sensitive or new plantings outside
Fertilize your houseplants (don't bring them out until we have consistent 45-50 degree overnights)
Continue to start seeds indoors! Yes, warm weather crops such as cucumber, basil, squash, tomato can still be started inside in late April. They are planted out after danger of last frost, which is mid May in our area.
Start summer bulbs such dahlia, lily, canna and gladiola in pots inside to get a jump on summer - they love the warm soil of late May, not the damp chill of April.

Or just come visit us! You will be thrilled by the best pottery selection ever. You will be fascinated by the surprising selection of succulents.  Explore the store and ask us questions; we're ready for spring.

TA-DA! We have a brand new look to our website! Please visit our beautiful new virtual space for gorgeous pictures, information, and more information! We are working on getting on fruit list for 2016 up on the site, but today you will find potato and onion how-tos, as well as our organic straw bale garden guide. Need a little help designing your garden? Our Services page is brand new, too.