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Minnesota (or Northwoods) Gardening

One of the things I always wanted as a little girl was to create my own garden. I wanted to cultivate fresh fruits and vegetables while saving money. It's hard work to start a garden but it will be well worth it in the end. Currently, I'm residing in the Bemidji, Minnesota area. Living in this area is a kill zone for having a beautiful garden all year long. In the winter time snow can get as high as three feet in some areas. So it's not a climate well-adjusted for gardening. With hard work and well done research anyone will be able to construct a successful garden.

Do Your Homework:

The first step any gardener should take is to understand the area in which you live. The zones in which a person lives greatly determines when to plant, what kinds of plants work best, the germination period of certain plants, and how to keep your garden alive. Since I live in Bemidji, Minnesota I will focus my article on the plants and techniques that work best on zone 3.

Thanks to the National Gardening Association (NGA) anyone can look up their regional zone. The USDA Hardiness Zone Map is a type of map that was developed to catalog critical climate information such as rainfall and the year-round temperatures. The USDA map is the most used in North America. It is not a perfect map but it is beneficial for the Eastern United States.

What is a zone?
Well a zone is a tool gardeners use that shows the climate of an area. It helps to find plants that can take up permanent residence in your garden year-after-year.

What is the best fertilizer?
Organic fertilizer is the best for your garden. Organic or natural being defined by not using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides in your garden. A couple of examples would be worm castings, manure from livestock, post-harvest crop residues, or even composted plant and animal remains. However, worm castings are said to be the richest natural fertilizer. They stimulate plant growth more than any other natural product on the market.

How important is it to maintain a healthy soil?
It is extremely important to have healthy soil because it determines the lifespan of your garden. Before any kind of fertilizer is added to your soil, have it tested. The application amount will in all likely hood vary.

As a side note: There are tutorials online which can help you save money by harvesting your own worm castings.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac:

Plants that work best in Zone 3 area code 56601, Bemidji, MN:

Fruit/Vegetable bearing plants: Apples, Beans, Beets, Bell Peppers, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Celery, Chives, Garlic, Grapes, Onions, Parsnips, Pears, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Raspberries, Spinach, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Tulips, Turnips, Watermelon

Decorative Plants: Aster, Astilbe, Black-eyed Susans, Coneflowers, Crocuses, Daffodils, Delphiniums, Hydrangea, Lilacs, Peonies, Phlox, Sedum, Tulips, Veronica, Yarrow, Zinnias

Choose A Kind of Garden:

There are two different kinds of garden. The kind which bears edibles and the kind that indulges the senses. Before you begin planting you have to make important decisions on what you want out of your garden. I want the opportunity of having both kinds of gardens. This means I'll separate the flowers from the edible plants. I'll do this by taking measurements of my yard and rationing out how much space I would like for my gardens and how much I want for everyday grass.

It's important to know how much space you have to work with because it may determine the kinds of plants you can buy. I don't have a lot of room in my yard for a huge spacious garden. However, I will choose a few plants from each category and plan out a design for them. These are the plants I've chose:

Fruit/Vegetable bearing plants: Blueberries, Broccoli, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon

Decorative Plants: Hydrangea, Lilacs, Tulips, Zinnias

Plan a Garden Setup


link to zones: NGA
gardening zones: Bonnie plants
plant hardiness: USDA
best plants: U of M's book
Old Farmer's Almanac: Zone 3 Plants
Best Fertilizer for Garden
Organic Fertilizers
Worm Castings
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