Listen Now
Pledge Now


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 - 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.



Tools in the Garden and Gardening Apps

Tools in the Garden!

In this week's program we talk about Hergonomic Tools, tools designed for women and for men as they age. And we talk about about gardening apps that will help you in your garden. Mark and Melinda Spinler, long-time Cook County gardeners, join hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam in the studio, with guests interviewed by phone. 

Hergonomic Tools is a Pennsylvannia company started by Liz Brensinger and Ann Adams, who received USDA grants to research tool designs that are easier to use and friendlier to the body. They have come up with some great ideas! Check out their tools at Http://

In the second half of the show, we talk with  Lynda Ellis, U of M Master Gardener from Anoka County, about gardening apps and how to grow things "smarter." More information on these apps can be found at

We also talked about some of our favorite tools, including a Hori Hori knife and a broadfork. 



Food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture along the North Shore

Hosts Joan Farnam and Diane Booth will be talking about the initiatives Grand Portage is making with their food sovereignty plan. This will be the last in a series of topics we have been exploring this winter on ‘Sustainable Agriculture’ along the North Shore of Lake Superior. 
Guests Rick Anderson and Tess Bailey will talk about the development of local food from backyards to community gardens, along with a plan that will encompass the cultural food values of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
Join in during the broadcast by calling 387-1070 with your questions and comments about sustainable food and what ideas you may have about Cook County adopting a holistic food plan.



Growing Health Through Food

Join Host Kristin Wharton for lively and informative conversations about food and health. She talks to Tess Bailey, a member of the Grand Portage Food Sovereignty Advisory Team, Jenny Breen, a chef in the Twin Cities and Kim Knutson, one of the producers growing for the  Local Food Market in Grand Marais.



Documenting 100 years of Gardening in Cook County

Hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam welcomed in-studio guests Wayne & Philis Anderson and Dave Ingebrigtsen to talk about the combined 100 years of gardening experience they have had growing vegetables in the county. They also spoke with Bob Olen, St. Louis County horticulturist and a host for Great Gardening on PBS-8. The gardeners talked about their favorite vegetable varieties, where to get seed and pests to look out for.

The new 2016 Recommended Vegetable Variety List for Cook County from the Cook County Extension office has been released. Copies are available at the radio station and at the Cook County Extension Office at the Community Center.



Northern Gardening: Starting seeds indoors & the latest on LEDs

This month's Northern Gardening, hosted by Diane Booth and Joan Farnam, is all about starting seeds indoors and outdoors, giving you tips on how to make your seed starting easier and better.

Guests are Karina Roth, who starts all the seeds for the Great Expectations School annual plant sale, and David Abazs of Round River Farm in Finland. They talk about starting seeds based upon the calendar or by using agrophenology, which looks at what's happening in nature to determine when to plant. 

We also talk with Esther Gesick, assistant scientist from the U of M Horticulture Dept., about a study to see how effective LED lights are to grow plants indoors. 



Animals Raised for Food in Cook County

Join hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam for a program on “Animals Raised for Food in Cook County.” The talk with Cook County folks who are raising cows, goats, chickens and pigs for both meat and milk. The farmers in the studio for this program included Andrea and Roger Westerlind, David Berglund and Lyndsay Anderson, Hana Senty, and Joel Lewis. They talked about their operation and discussed the challenges and joys they face being a farmer in Cook County.
Northern Gardening has been documenting food production along the North Shore of Lake Superior this fall and winter under a WTIP grant from the University of Minnesota Northeast Sustainable Development Partnership. Northern Gardening airs on the second Thursday of every month from 7-8p.m. and is hosted by the Northwoods Food Project and Cook County Extension. It is rebroadcast at 6 a.m. the following Saturday.


Changing Food Systems and the Green Dollar Survey results

Find out about the changing food systems in Minnesota and in Cook County in this broadcast of the December Northern Gardening show. Hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam spoke with Ryan Pesch, a farmer who also works in community economic development  and Jeri Person, produce manager at the Whole Foods Co-op in Grand Marais. 

Sam Johnson also gives an update on the findings of the Green Dollar Survey, which looked at how many food dollars are spent in Cook County each year and how local farmer/producers can get a bigger piece of that large pie.