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This is an old revision of ArticleDrafting3 made by CandiceRSpitler on 2013-04-23 10:27:22.


Link to me

[Hmmm ... You start as a personal essay - stay with that perspective, otherwise it turns into a list of tips. Then the linking might work if you do more than just link - that is, the links should comment on your work, not the other way around. mcm]

Minnesota (or Northwoods) Gardening

Growing up in Belleview, Florida was a paradise for me. The temperatures were constantly above forty degrees and the vegetation bloomed even in the winter time. I remember the garden we had in the front of our lawn. It wasn't very spacious but it grew a variety of flowers. Now that I live in Bemidji, Minnesota the scenery change is jolting. I never knew what snow was like or the drastic death the landscape endures annually.

I never knew that I would forget the color green and how the grass smells in the summer heat. So, every August I ingrain as much stimuli as possible. Trying to store away every smell, every sight, every feeling of summer that I can. Around February, when the grass is still buried, I can't even imagine the beauty of spring.

However, this year is different. I've always wanted to create my own garden. I've always wanted a flower garden with Bleeding Hearts, skyscraper hydrangeas and burgeoning rose bushes. I've wanted to plant peach trees for me and cherry trees for my mother. This is the year that I finally take Florida out of my heart and plant it in the Earth.

Learn Before You Plant

I've done some research about the zone in which I live in. Apparently, I live in zone 3b which doesn't have a very long growing period for plants. The estimated extreme temperature for my zone is anywhere from -35 to -30 in the winter time. That's way too cold!

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's not a perfect map but it is beneficial for the Eastern United States.

Thanks to them I know a little bit more about what plants might be able to grow up here. As I mentioned before, I live in zone 3b. You might ask me what is a zone? 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.

According to the Old Farmer's Alamanac there are at least twenty-seven fruit and vegetable bearing plants that can be grown in Bemidji. These plants range from apples to tomatoes, and from peas to watermelons. There are sixteen decorative plants that I can choose from posted on their site. For flower choices, I have decided to attempt to grow hydrangeas, lilacs, and tulips.

I've been looking into the type of fertilizers that are best for gardens. Organic fertilizer is best for your garden because it doesn't have synthetic materials or pesticides in it. 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.

There are videos on youtube that shows people how to make their own worm castings if you're not interested in buying the end product. It's important to maintain a healthy soil at least once a year a pH test should be done. Especially, if I'm planting a hydrangea plant. An acidic soil (pH below 6) will make the flowers more blue. An alkaline soil (pH above 6) will make the flowers more pink.

A healthy soil also determines the lifespan of your garden. Remember to check your pH!

Garden Fairytale or Delectable Edibles?:

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 always had the dream of walking through a plethora of flora and fauna.

I want both kinds of gardens. I love the look of beautiful flourishing flowers but I'm a practical person. I want to reap some rewards from my garden besides pride. I have plans to grow blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and watermelon. I've chosen plants that I'll continually use even after growing season. I would plant onions but I don't always cook with them.

I would like to can blueberries. Make jam out of my raspberries. But most importantly, I would like to make homemade strawberry wine. It has always been a mini obsession of mine to make my own wine. I've been in local stores where they sell wine and beer kits. Right next to these kits are clean bottles to use when you're ready.

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 chosen:

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

Decorative Plants: Hydrangea, Lilacs, Tulips, Zinnias

Plan a Garden Setup:

Before you plant the seeds of your choice you need to section off your garden. Decide how much room you have to work with and sketch out a design for your garden. After this is done you'll have to till the ground and do some weeding. This step will be the hardest part of creating a garden. It's labor intensive and requires a lot of dedication.

After the seeds are planted layer some fertilizer or worm castings over them. Water the seeds gently. Avoid drowning them. The garden soil, water, and sun will be the deciding factors on your plant's life. However, regular maintenance will need to be done on the garden to prevent weeds from choking the plants.

Old Farmer's Almanac:

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

Reap the Rewards:


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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