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Northern Gardening

Northern Gardening

  • 2nd Thursday 7-8pm
  • and following Saturday at 6am
News & Information

Recipes | Local Food on the North Shore

Northern Gardening covers a variety of gardening topics relevant to our northern climate. The program airs on the second Thursday of each month from 7-8 p.m. and is rebroadcast the following Saturday at 6 a.m. The program is a partnership between the Northwoods Food Project, the Cook County U of MN Extension Office, and WTIP.

The Northwood's Food Project is a non-profit organization who's purpose is to increase Cook County's long term food sustainability and self-reliance by eating and growing locally produced food.

Learn more about the partnership between WTIP, the Northwoods Food Project, and the Cook County U of MN Extension Office that makes Northern Gardening possible.

Jeanne Wright and daughter Olya, Diane Booth, and Melinda Spinler in the WTIP studio for Northern Gardening.

What's On:
Preservation cover

Northern Gardening - Home Food Preservation

Home Food Preservation is Baaaacccckkkkk!!   Join hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnum on WTIP’s Northern Gardening for a great discussion about preserving food.  This is a very hot topic with young people who are using recipes from Facebook and other social media platforms that are not USDA tested or approved. 

This is also the time of year where peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, apples – etc. are bountiful and some of us want some new ideas about how to preserve food we have spent the past 6 months growing.  Guests will include: Christina Ward, University of Wisconsin Master Preserver, and author of the new book, “ Preservation: The Art and Science of Canning Fermentation and Dehydration.” Sally Berg, local U of M Master Gardener, and Mary Routh and Raia Meltzer, longtime food preservationists, will join us in the studio.


Blister rust

Northern Gardening: Insects and disease in our forest and backyards

The topic this month is 'Insect and Disease: Pests in our forest and backyards'. Guests include Myra Theimer, silviculturist on the Superior National Forest; Jessica Hartshorn, DNR forest health specialist; and Steve Katovich, USFS entomologist.  We discuss some of the needlecast diseases and blights that are found on red pine and spruce,  how to deal with white pine blister rust, the possibility of mountain pine beetles coming to Minnesota, and more.


Northern Gardening

Northern Gardening - A Potpourri of Topics

 Join hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam on WTIP’s Northern Gardening this Thursday, August 10, from 7 – 8 p.m. with a ‘Potpourri of Garden Topics.’  Guests will be giving us some updates on local bees and pollinators, growing hops, spotted wing drosophila, the Community Orchard and forest health issues in Cook County.  




All About Invasive Plants

Did you know that the beautiful lupines blooming in ditches across Cook County are non-native invasives, crowding out our native plants? Given that, how do you know if the plant you are introducing into your garden won't become a problem in the future? And who decides what plants go on the noxious weed list and must be eradicated?  These questions and more are discussed on this special program on Northern Gardening.

Guests on the show include Cook County Invasive Team members Jack Greenlee, Superior National Forest; Brandon Seitz, Grand Portage National Monument; Becca Orf, Cook County Invasive Team coordinator and Nancy Seaton, Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Association.



Northern Gardening - All About Perennials

Join WTIP’s Northern Gardening hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam as they talk about growing perennial flowers with two special guests: Mike Heger, formerly known as “Mr. Perennial Man of Minnesota” and Tom Kaspar, owner of the new Bending Birches Greenhouse in Duluth and a favorite on PBS’s show, "Great Gardening."

Cherry tomatoes

Northern Gardening - Growing Hydroponic Vegetables

Growing Hydroponic Vegetables: It can be done.

Join co-hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam with guest Paula Sundet-Wolf as they interview Barry Thoele from Barry’s Cherries out of Staples, MN, and Rich Fisher, Bay Produce Grower from Superior, WI.  Both growers are using hydroponic methods of growing for year-round produce, which we can also do here.  What are the advantages of growing hydroponically versus growing in soil?   Would this be a good system for us in Cook County? These are some of the questions we ask.

To find out more, look at this video of Barry and his hydroponic greenhouse.

Barry will be giving a TEDX talk next week. Rich produces tomatoes and other vegetables for the Challenge Center/Bay Produce in Superior, Wi. They deliver to Grand Marais.


John Whitman's book

Northern Gardening with author and gardener John Whitman

Join Northern Gardening hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam as they interview well-known gardener and author John Whitman.

Whitman has just released his spectacular new gardening book: "Fresh from the Garden – An Organic Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries and Herbs." 

Whitman has previously co- authored – "Growing Roses in Cold Climates," "Growing Perennials in Cold Climates," and "Growing Trees and Shrubs in Cold Climates." After 50 years of gardening experience, he brings a lot of growing know-how in many different areas which he shares with us on the show. 



Hardy roses can be grown in Cook County

Northern Gardening talks all about roses

Northern Gardening host Diane Booth and Cook County rose grower Jim Boyd talk to David Zlesak all about roses in this mid-winter program. 

Zlesak, who was interviewed over the telephone, is a rose breeder and associate professor of horticulture at the Univ. of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has developed many hardy rose varieties and has just introduced a new climber for northern regions like Cook County.

Listen in as David, Diane and Jim talk about how to grow healthy roses, which varieties are perfect for our climate, how to overwinter them successfully and more.  



Are cut flowers a viable new industry for Cook County?

Join Northern Gardening hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam and Master Gardener Sally Berg as they talk with Rita Jo Shoulz of Alaska Perfect Peony Farm and explore the possibility of creating a local industry here in Cook County.

Alaska has discovered a world-wide niche in the peony cut-flower industry and has gone from zero peony roots grown for the industry in 2004 to more than 139,000 peony roots in just 10 years.  

Can we do to this in Cook County?  Peonies like cool summers and long days — exactly what they have in many regions in Alaska and along the North Shore. 

Rita Jo Shoulz talks about how she started growing peonies for cut flowers in Alaska and managed grow it into a multi-million dollar industry. She also offers lots of tips about how to grow the perfect flower. Check out her site, for lots more info.


Gardening books

Christmas gifts for the gardener in your life

Hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam welcome Linda Chappell, recently retired librarian at the Grand Marais Library, to the studio to talk about Christmas gifts for the gardener.
On the show, they interview Kent Peterson, owner of Terrace Horticultural Books in St. Paul, about what books he recommends, and then Diane reports on what U of M Master Gardeners around the state said when asked about their favorite garden gifts, including tools, art in the garden and other fun ideas. 

For a full list of gardening books and gift ideas mentioned in this show, along with much more, click here.