compost bin full of decompostables

Compost Starting-Rapid and Slow Method

  • September 24, 2022
    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Compost starting can be tricky. Barb will make your compost journey clear so you know what to do and when to do it. She will cover rapid and slow compost starting methods.

staff holding a bin of garlic

How to Grow Garlic

  • September 24, 2022
    11:00 am - 11:40 am
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Garlic is one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden and you plant it in the fall!

wild blue phlox flowers

Pollinator Planting Guides

Support for pollinators is a joint effort a partnership.

As of July 2022 Monarchs are now on the endangered animal list. As a flagship pollinator one that attracts attention because of it’s beautiful colors and easier tracking methods this news is a wake up call that we are losing pollinators at a fast rate. We need to add pollinator plants to our landscapes every year.

What We Need to Do Now

  1. Add plants into our landscapes so there is a succession of blooms spring through fall. You can use pollinator friendly annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees to accomplish this.
  2. Reduce or eliminate the use of insecticides. Organic insecticides still kill beneficial insects. There are now studies that find that even if the plant isn’t blooming, pollinators will drink dew off of plant foliage. If it’s treated with insecticides it will kill them. If you do need to spray, avoid bloom time.
  3. Plant ecologically sound landscapes. Add a diverse mix of native plants into your landscape to bring in beneficial insects, birds, and pollinators. Predatory birds and insects are a great way to control damaging insects without the use of insecticides.

Plants to Add for Monarchs

Name – Bloom Time

Pale Purple Coneflower – Early-summer
Butterflyweed – Mid-summer
Milkweed – Mid-summer – Emphasis on Common Milkweed since they lay their eggs on it.
Black-eyed Susan – All summer
Joe Pye Weed – Late-summer
Blazing Star – Late-summer
Aster – Late-summer to fall
Monarda fistulosa – Late-summer to fall
Goldenrod – Late-summer to fall

Download image of Drummers “Plants that Attract Butterflies”

Pollinator Planting Guides

Click on a map to download the Ecoregional Planting Guide. Each guide will give you information on specific plant traits that pollinators prefer ( color, odor, pollen, nectar, flower shape ) as well as a list of plants to support pollinators in that region. There are many overlaps in plant varieties in these guides. We wanted to include specific regions because we have customers that are from nearby areas that may live in a different zone.

Mankato is zone 4b and in the Prairie Parkland Temperate Province.

Don’t have room for an in-ground pollinator garden? Check out the portable pollinator garden list from National Garden Bureau.

Prairie Parkland Temperate Province Ecoregional Pollinator Planting Guide Regional  Map
Eastern Broadleaf Forest Continental   Province Ecoregional Pollinator Planting Guide

Sources: Pollinator Partnership. Selecting Plants for Pollinators, Prairie Parkland, Temperate Province. Published by Pollinator Partnership, San Francisco

Pollinator Partnership. Selecting Plants for Pollinators, Eastern Broadleaf Forest, Continental Province. Published by Pollinator Partnership, San Francisco, USA. https://www.pollinator.org/guides#about

ABOUT POLLINATOR PARTNERSHIP MISSION

“Birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals that pollinate plants are responsible for bringing us one out of every three bites of food.

They also sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce.

Without the actions of pollinators agricultural economies, our food supply, and surrounding landscapes would collapse.”

Learn more

potato varieties

Growing Potatoes, Onions, & Other Root Crops

  • April 2, 2022
    11:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Potato and onion sets will be in the store end of March so it’s a great time to learn more about growing these delicious and easily stored vegetables! Sweet potato starters arrive later in the spring since they need warm soil temps when planting. Veggie Deb will cover the basics of planting these vegetables as (more…)

vegetables in a bin

Vegetable Gardening 101 with Veggie Deb!

  • Vegetable Gardening 101
    April 2, 2022
    10:00 am - 11:00 am
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Learn about starting your own vegetable garden or ask your questions if your garden hasn’t thrived in years past.

marigolds

Digging Deeper – Late Spring Gardening

“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”
–  Gertrude Jekyll, On Gardening

This post is about late spring/early summer gardening tips and things to look for that may be showing up soon in your garden.

  1. Fertilizer

    Don’t forget water soluble fertilizers for container plants. Container plants are in a potting soil that do not contain enough nutrients for all season.  Depending on the plant, you will need to add fertilizer to the water or use a slow release fertilize like Osmocote. Follow directions of product and individual plant needs for fertilization. Top dressing containers with compost can also be done to add some nutrients.

  2. Boost for New & Established Plants

    Most in-ground soils will benefit from adding organic material like compost and a starting fertilizer like Biotone Starter before planting or Plant Tone after planting. Top dressing the established perennials/shrubs with compost in the spring will give them an extra boost of nutrients. Plants like butterfly bush, delphinium, and clematis like if you put a mound of compost around their root ball.

  3. Watering

    Newly planted plants in the ground need deep watering so their roots reach down and establish themselves before winter and reduces stress on the plants. Water deeply a couple times a week. If it rains a little (pay attention to how many inches you get with a rain gauge), you can water around your new plants a little more to get water deep into the soil. It helps you conserve water and save time watering. 1″ of water per week is the recommended amount of water. Pay attention to the soil and if it is wet looking, hold off for another day. Best method is to stick your finger in the soil and if it’s dry a couple inches down, it’s time to water.

  4. Weeding

    Remove weeds now while they are small, as they grow quickly. Weeding is easy when soil is damp since it’s easier to pull the whole plant including the roots. Be careful not to walk on soil around your plants to avoid compaction of the soil.

  5. Prevent Fungal Diseases

    With rain and warming weather you need to be proactive about fungal diseases. It’s best to prevent it, instead of treating it because once it starts, you can’t get rid of it completely. Treat your plants that have a higher chance of fungal issues with a fungicide before you see signs of it.  For example, tomatoes usually get blight so best to treat with Bonide Revitalize or Copper Fungicide before it starts. Make sure to water your plants at the base and water in the morning when possible so the water can dry before it cools off at night. Mulch around your plants as well to help prevent fungus from the soil splashing on your plants.

  6. Insect damage is going to start. Keep an eye on your plants for damage to their foliage. It’s important to remember, a little bit of insect damage is not bad and if you see an insect, it doesn’t mean they are bad. We need to move passed the thought that bugs are icky and nuisance. There are very important insects that are good for the garden and actually improve plant health.

    Look for these invasive species instead:
    Japanese Beetles: Metallic looking green/bronze beetles flying or munching on landscape plants. They love roses, hollyhock, cherry trees, plums, grapes, blackberries, and linden trees. They can be found snacking on other plants as well. Read more about them hereIncorporate plants that repel Japanese beetles such as catnip, chives, garlic, nasturtium, and white geranium around your susceptible plants. Jumping Worms: Although we haven’t had any recordings of jumping worms in our area, these can be very detrimental to lawns and gardens. There are sightings of these worms in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area so if you are doing any transplanting of plants from that area, purchases of mulches and soils, or any plant swap around our area. Read more about them here so you can know what to do to avoid them or if you see them, how to alert the U of MN Garden Extension. There are no proven ways to eradicate these worms yet.

Getting rid of insects isn’t always easy and great care should be taken if you choose to spray with insecticides, even ones labeled organic. It’s still an insecticide made to kill insects.

*Quick side note about fungus since we have been having cool springs the last couple years. With cool/wet weather you may encounter anthracnose on your plants. If you are seeing brown spots on trees and shrubs early in the spring it may be this.

carrots pulled from the garden

Starting a Garden & Resources

Congrats on starting a garden! There has been a huge increase of people wanting to grow their own food as well as flowers, pollinator plants, and converting lawns to native species. This post will hopefully help bring some info together and be a place to update and share resources you have shared with us!

First, I’d like to link to our Resources page. For example, this is where you can find more info from Bonide, our recommended disease and pest control brand, or from Espoma, the plant fertilizers and amendment product line we have most of in store. Also info on maintenance of plants, or starting a victory garden.

New to gardening? Here is a Vegetable Gardening Estimated Sowing Dates (PDF) and our Seed Starting Indoors (PDF).  We try to host a seed starting simplified workshop every year to help new gardeners with questions or issues they are having. 

This is a great video and article on what you should do when starting a garden. It covers everything from where to put your garden and down to soil health. It links out to other resources as well if you want to learn more. Space choice, soil health, etc can not only be used for vegetable gardening but perennials, native, and other gardening you’d like to do!

Hope some of this helps as a jumping off point to start your own garden this year! We have our greenhouse grown plants like annuals and produce starters, quality plants shipped from vendors so you can get mature perennials, as well as annual flowers for baskets and filling in landscaping, native plants, shrubs and trees for a living privacy fence, sun and shade perennials

It’s time to embrace your outdoor living space!

all purpose grass seed

Early Spring Yard and Garden Tasks

The desire to start gardening and enjoy outside is hard to suppress. Each spring will bring us new weather patterns and it’s best to take Nature’s cues when it comes to accomplishing these yard and garden tasks

YARD AND GARDEN TASKS:

1. Wait to clean up dead perennial matter until temps are consistently around 55F-60F. Beneficial insects will be in their dormant state in leaf litter and dead perennial matter. You should wait to clean up dead plant material as late as possible into the spring.

You can top dress with compost as well as mulch around the root zone of your plants when you see perennials emerging.

2. Clean and sanitize your outdoor containers, bird baths, bird feeders, and garden tools. Check out the new garden decor and tools in store!

3. Prune off dead/damaged branches on shrubs and trees. Late winter/early spring is the best time to prune trees, before their buds are formed. Refer to our pruning guide in regards to shrubs and trees.

4. Clean debris from your vegetable garden and top dress the soil with compost at least two weeks before you plant. Avoid compaction of the soil by using designated walkways. Compaction of the soil will reduce the level of oxygen available for plant roots. Lightly till in compost if you notice your soil is compacted.

5. Early to Mid-April, depending on weather and ground temperature, is the best time to put down new grass seed or ground covers like clover. Wait to scatter seed until day temps are 60F+ consistently before spreading seed. Most seeds, including grass won’t germinate until the soil is 55F+. We carry bulk or bagged grass seed from Ramy Seed in Mankato. If you want to forego a conventional grass lawn, get a  wildflower seed mix and scatter the seed in mid to late April.

Please note, if you want to do a weed killer in the same area you want new grass, you will have to wait to over-seed grass until summer or fall. If seeding is more important – forgo the crabgrass or weed killer and just use a lawn food

6. Apply crabgrass killer and weed pre-emergents just before we have consistent 60F days. Most products last 6-8 weeks and timing the application with the weather is important or you may need to reapply. Weeds  germinate when soil is 55F. There are many turf products, likes Maxlawn Weed and Feed, that contain fertilizer as well as weed killers so you can accomplish both tasks if you have weeds throughout your lawn. Our staff can help you decide what is best depending on what you want to accomplish!

If you don’t mind weeds, use a lawn fertilizer around the time you have to mow for the first time.

PLANT THESE in your GARDEN EARLY TO MID-SPRING:

Summer blooming bulbs, potatoes, asparagus, strawberries, cold vegetable crops, and onion plants.

Plant summer bulbs when the soil has warmed to above 40F and the soil isn’t soggy. Usually early April through mid May depending on the spring weather. The soil should be rich and well-draining to avoid bulb rot if cooler temps come back.

Find growing instructions in the store!

Cool Season Hardy and Semi-Hardy Vegetables:

list of cold season hardy and semi-hardy veggie crops

lettuce

Seed Starting

Welcome new gardeners!

Late winter and early spring is the time to start seeds indoors. Our last frost date is projected as May 1- May 15th. The last frost date is what you work from when planting your seeds indoors. Keep your eye on the weather and it will help you know when you can acclimate your seedlings and then transplant outdoors.

First let’s talk about some of our early sowing seeds, cold hardy vegetables like the brassicas family which includes cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage can be seeded in early to mid-March as well as lettuces. These cold-weather crops can be put outdoors earlier and do well in a cold frame or hoop houses as well for an earlier start.

Important seed packet info:

Best time to plant for our zone
How deep to plant the seeds
Days to germination gives an idea how long it takes the seed to sprout
Days to maturity = the number of days from planting to harvest
Seedling thinning & spacing directions
Check if it’s a perennial or annual to help determine where you are placing the plant

Examples of plants sowing times before transplanting outdoors:

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Cold Season Crops ( Early spring or late fall )

Broccoli 4-6 weeks
Brussels Sprouts 4-6 weeks
Cabbage 4-6 weeks
Cauliflower 4-6 weeks
Onion 10-12 weeks

[/su_column] [su_column size=”1/2″ center=”no” class=””]

Warm Season Crops (Late spring through early fall)

Eggplant 8 weeks
Parsley 8-10 weeks
Pepper 8 weeks
Tomato 8-10 weeks

[/su_column][/su_row]

 

These crops are best when sowed directly into soil outside ( plant according to packages recommended soil temps and timing ).

Beets, beans, carrots, corn, kohlrabi, lettuce, radish, peas, potato, spinach, and swiss chard

What you need to grow your own plants – Water, Light, Growing Medium, and SEEDS!

 

Get to know the plants you are trying to grow!

Use your seed packet to guide you. Look for information such as:

-When to start the seeds, seeding depth, germination temperature, light and water             requirements, nutrient requirements, mature size and final plant spacing

 

Should you start the seeds indoors, or direct sow them in the garden or planter?

-Use the “date to maturity” as a guide.

– Some plants have sensitive roots and/or mature fast enough in our climate to be direct sown    ( ex. Sunflowers, Nasturtium, Beans, Radishes, Peas, Dill)

-Some plants have a LONG growing season and should be started indoors to reach maturity

( ex. Peppers, Tomatoes, Cole Crops, Lemongrass, Rosemary)

**Hardy perennials may require cold stratification or scarification for proper germination

 

What type of growing medium is best?

AVOID using soil from your yard/garden if possible! It is an easy way to introduce unwanted pest and disease problems. *Most at home compost piles do not get hot enough to kill harmful pathogens.

Some plants may require specific soil/drainage requirements.

 

Seed Starting Mix

-Fine textured, soiless medium

-Sometimes heat sterilized

-No nutrients, intended for germination only

Standard Potting Mix

-Easily sifted to achieve a fine texture for seed starting

-Available with or without added nutrients

Make your own!

-Many recipes online for DIY germination mix and potting mix

 

Materials you may need:

Plug Trays

– When choosing a size: How many plants do you want to grow? How big is the seed, and how             much room do the roots need?

-Provides a controled environment for proper germination

 

Soil Pellets

-Soak in water to expand the pellet

-Plant entire pellet into your pots or garden

-Plastic-free option

 

Open Flats

-With drainage holes: Fill with seeding mix and scatter seeds. Divide and up-pot/plant out

-Without drainage holes: Use under plug trays to catch water/soil

 

Humidity Dome

-Fits over most plug trays and open flats

-Short dome for seed starting

-Tall dome for cuttings

-Helps keep soil moist

 

Pots

-Use various sizes to start seeds if desired. Divide and up-pot/plant out

-Choose the RIGHT sized pot when up-potting! Too big and it may not dry out fast enough,             causing root rot. (Can up-pot again to a larger size if needed.)

-Plastic, Coco Coir, Biodegradable options

 

Watering Can/Spray Bottle

-Stream from watering can may be too harsh for seedlings

 

Heat Mat

-Most homes are not warm enough for proper germination

-Raises soil temp 10-20 degrees above room temperature

-Be careful when using in combination with dome and lights!

 

Lights & Timer

-Supplimental light is essential to growing happy seedlings indoors!

-Prevents weak, leggy plants

-Full Spectrum/Daylight. T8 & T5 Florescent, Standard Bulbs, LED

-Use a timer to make life easier! 14-16 hrs. of light per day

Fans

-A light breeze helps grow strong plants!

 

Caring for your seedlings.

Proper watering is essential.

-Allow tap water to sit out overnight to dechlorinate. Avoid using soft water.

-Keep soil evenly moist until germination

-Know your plant’s specific needs

-Find a routine and water early in the day.

-After germination, allow soil to dry slightly between watering. This encourages root growth!            (Avoid “loving your plants to death”, aka over watering)

-Bottom watering keeps foliage dry

 

Fertilizer

-Seedlings do not need nutrients right away. Wait until they have a few sets of true leaves before feeding

-Know your plant’s specific needs

-Half strength, balanced fertilizer works well for most

-Granular soil amendments

 

Hardening Off

-Allows your plants time to adjust to light, temperature, and environmental changes

-Start in the shade on a calm day, for an hour or two. Slowly increase time outside and sun  exposure over several days

 

Here is a pdf version of instructions on seed starting indoors and some guidelines on when to start certain crops!

We carry grow lights, seed starting kits, seedling potting soil, fertilizer, and seeds. Later in the spring we will have vegetables and herbs that we have grown for you to purchase if you don’t get to starting your own seedlings.

packet seeds on store shelf

Seed Starting Simplified Zoom Webinar

  • Seed Starting
    February 27, 2021
    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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We want to empower anyone interested to grow their own food, flowers, and other plants and go step by step on seed starting!

perennial display garden

Perennial Parade in the Display Garden

  • Perennial Parade
    June 27, 2019
    5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

View the beautiful mature perennials in our display gardens and learn more about each one with our resident Horticulturist.

Facebook Live Q&A

  • Facebook Live Video
    March 20, 2020
    1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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Join us on Facebook live to ask your plant and garden questions!

packet seeds on store shelf

Seed Starting Simplified

  • Seed Starting Simplified
    March 23, 2019
    11:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Education is key to being successful with starting your own seeds and being successful in growing your own beautiful vegetables, flowers, and other plants!

aqualogical resources image

Intro to Aquaponics

  • Aquaponics Intro
    March 2, 2019
    9:30 am - 10:30 am
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Let’s use water wisely! Dive into what aquaponics is and see how an aquaponics system works and how to start your own!

moon in the sky with tree silouettes

Gardening by the Moon – A Fascinating Lore

We have all heard of the moon effecting the water tides but have your heard of it effecting soil moisture?

From The Farmers Almanac, gardening by the moon “is an age-old practice of completing chores around the farm according the the moon phases and that the moon governs moisture.”

Growing in Popularity

It is growing in popularity for various reasons but prominently because people are trying to find ways to stay in touch with nature. If people pay attention to the seasons, weather conditions, and natural patterns they can start to feel more in touch with their environment and surroundings.

There are certain garden centers that plant solely on moon phases and swear by it. We have yet to find current research projects that proves it to be more effective. However, we can find anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness online. To be in touch with your environment and weather conditions is an important part of your gardening success. Even if it is gardening by the moon’s phases or not. On this website , they list some sources of research, anecdotal accounts, and their findings for gardening by the moons phases.

General Rules

The over arching rule is that people plant specific crops based on the phase of the moon. It is also believed there are better times to prune, build fences, wean animals, fish, etc. What do they mean by better? Everything from better yields, increased growth, stronger fences, juicier meat, and even to more flavorful produce.

The general rules, from The Farmers Almanac website, is “the new and first-quarter phases, known as the light of the Moon, are considered good for planting above-ground crops, putting down sod, grafting trees, and transplanting.

From full Moon through the last quarter, or the dark of the Moon, is the best time for killing weeds, thinning, pruning, mowing, cutting timber, and planting below-ground crops.”

Working on your garden and land by the moon does seem like a good way to keep track of when to do certain tasks. If it produces better yields and healthier plants that would be an amazing bonus!

Conditions Are Important

If you choose to plant by the moon please remember that other planting conditions still need to be paid attention to.

  •  Soil temperature
  •  Present and forecasted weather conditions
  •  Moisture levels
  •  Soil type
  •  Specific planting needs of the crops you want to grow

 

If you have any questions about when to plant something please contact us or stop in and chat about your gardening goals!

DO YOU PLANT BY THE MOON? Email us or message us on our Drummers Facebook page and let us know!

Websites where you can find more information about gardening by the moon:
The Farmers Alamanac
Read about some moon phase gardening research here.

shamrock plant

New for the Garden in 2018

  • March 8, 2018
    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Discover new plants, techniques, thoughts and products for the garden.

Supporting Pollinators at Home

  • April 5, 2018
    5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Come learn about pollinators of all types and how to provide for them.

Growing & Maintaining a Home Lawn in Minnesota

  • March 3, 2018
    9:00 am - 10:00 am
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Discover the finer points of growing a great home lawn.

Growing & Using Herbs for Teas

  • April 7, 2018
    11:00 am - 11:55 am
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Understand the ins and outs of growing herbs.

Choosing & Caring for Annuals

  • March 29, 2018
    5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Discover the basics of growing and caring for annuals.

Growing & Using Culinary Herbs

  • April 7, 2018
    10:00 am - 10:55 am
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Understand the ins and outs of growing herbs.

Fall Colors Planter Make & Take Morning

  • September 9, 2017
    11:00 am - 11:45 am
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Join Geri and plant annuals in a 10″ whiskey barrel-look container with your favorite fall colors. She will share tips on how to keep your annuals looking good through the fall season. Annuals being used will tolerate a light frost. Also, she will demonstrate a container planting and talk about the plants’ cultural needs. You (more…)

What happened to Grandma’s flowers?

  • What happened to Grandma's flowers?
    March 25, 2017
    1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Master It! From Master Gardeners!! Join area University of Minnesota Master Gardeners throughout the day and discover answers to four different topics. They’ll answer questions at the end of each session too. Joyce Wilcox will present, “What happened to Grandma’s flowers?” A discussion of problems with growing old fashioned, Impatiens walleriana in your yard and garden. (more…)

Succulents: Their care, propagation and uses

  • March 25, 2017
    12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Master It! From Master Gardeners!! Join area University of Minnesota Master Gardeners throughout the day and discover answers to four different topics. They’ll answer questions at the end of each session too.   Carolyn Becker will discuss the care and feeding of one of the most popular categories of plants today: Succulents:  Their care, propagation, (more…)

wild blue phlox flowers

Early Spring Perennials

  • March 25, 2017
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Event Phone: 507-388-4877

Master It! From Master Gardeners!! Join area University of Minnesota Master Gardeners throughout the day and discover answers to four different topics. They’ll answer questions at the end of each session too. Learn to appreciate the early wonders that can be incorporated into woodland and hosta gardens. Barb Maher gardens on a wooded lot in (more…)