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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:

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.



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. 




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.



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.



Northern Gardening talks all about small, delicious fruits

Northern Gardening host Diane Booth talked to Jim and Beris from the Honeyberry Farm in Bagley, MN, in this week’s program. Honeyberry Farm specializes in some of the more unusual small fruits like honeyberries, bush cherries, aronia, currants, elderberries, gooseberries, etc.  They also are a host farm for Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms and host volunteers or WWOOFers from around the world. To learn more about Honeyberry Farm, see

Guests in the studio included Linda Kiel, local Cook County gardener and small fruit grower; and Jan Johnson, owner of Jams Made by Jan, from the Gunflint Trail. It is a wrap-around show covering everything from growing fruits, to providing the labor for growing the fruits, to talking about value-added fruit products. 




Putting your gardens to bed

Hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam discuss wrapping up the gardening season with Cook County gardeners Chel Anderson and Melinda Spinler. They talk about planting garlic, how to get your vegetable and perennial gardens ready for winter and more. 



Northern Gardening - Handling the harvest

Harvest month has arrived, and Northern Gardening hotsts Melinda Spinler and Joan Farnam discuss how to store all your wonderful garden produce as well as wild foods like mushrooms. They are joined by Nina Simonowicz, who has a big garden and gathers mushrooms and other wild foods from the forest. They talk about canning, freezing and drying as well as how to store root crops like carrots and onions. They also talk about their favorite recipes for using their wonderful produce.

Note: Cook County Extension will teach an introductory class about the basics of canning, drying or freezing food you have grown yourself at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22. Register by calling Diane Booth at 387-3015.



Midsummer Vegetable Gardening & Odes to Bees

Northern Gardening hosts Melinda Spinler and Joan Farnam talk about midsummer gardening and the challenges of running a CSA (Community Supported Agricuture) with Cree Bradley, co-owner of Chelsea Morning Farm in Lake County, Grand Marais Master Gardener Sally Berg and Hovland gardener Nathan Slettedahl in this program.

The guests talk about the challenges and rewards of gardening on the North Shore and give lots of tips to local gardeners.

 Ann Possis was also a guest on the show, and she read a few short poems from the newly released book, "If Bees are Few: A Hive of Bee Poems." Did you know that poets have been writing about bees for 2,500 years? Listen in to learn more.



Northern Gardening talks all about rain gardens

Rain gardens are growing in Cook County! 

Northern Gardening hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam talk to experts about how rain gardens work, what to plant in them and how to get one built in your yard. Guests included Mary Blickenderfer, former U of M associate professor, who  helped install the first rain garden at the Cook County Community Center in Grand Marais; Ilena Berg, Cook County Soil and Water district manager, will gave us an update on funding opportunities to install rain gardens; Kathy Bolstad, who maintans a beautiful rain garden on her property; and Rene Skadburg and Laurie Kriz of the Blue Moose, who talk about the plants that work in rain gardens in Cook County.