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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 - Cold winter greenhouses

Deep winter greenhouses and how they can work to produce food on the North Shore are discussed on this program hosted by Diane Booth, Cook County Extension. Guests in the studio include Melinda Spinler, who grows vegetables for a CSA in Cook County and Karina Roth, who manages the plant sale at Great Expectations School. 
Liz Perkus, a U of M graudate student who is doing research on deep winter greenhouses, joins the conversation as well.

Correction: Towards the end of the program, we chat about nitrate accumulation in leafy greens.  Liz misspoke, and would like to correct herself.  Nitrates actually accumulate in plants during dark hours, so harvesting near sundown of a sunny day is best rather than morning.  Another way to reduce nitrates is to use compost-based fertilizer rather than simple, soluble fertilizers, and be careful not to over fertilize.  Leafy greens tend to take up more nitrogen than they need, so if there is a lot of extra nitrogen in the soil they can accumulate more.  A great article on nitrate accumulation in greens can be found here:




Preserving Your Harvest

Fall is here again and with that comes the yearly question of what to do with all that garden produce!  Do you can it, freeze it, dry it, or what??

Joan Farnam and Diane Booth talk about preserving the harvest, and talk to Hana Senty about the different products she is making to sell at the Cook County Farm & Craft Market.

Listen Here. 

Hana makes jams from locally grown and wild berries, as well as designer jams, like this one:

Gingered Zucchini Marmalade (from the Ball canning book)

  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 2-3 inch piece of gingerroot, peeled & chopped
  • 5 cups shredded zucchini 
  • 1 tart apple, cored & shredded
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 Ball® 8 oz half pint jars
  • PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  • THOROUGHLY wash citrus fruit. With a vegetable peeler, remove colored peel from oranges; thinly slice orange peel and place in a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. 
  • WITH a sharp knife, cut white pith and any remaining peel from oranges and lemons. Tie pith, peel and gingerroot in a large square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag; add to peel in saucepan. Finely chop orange and lemon pulp; add to saucepan with zucchini, apple and sugar
  • OVER medium-high heat, bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, boil uncovered until mixture reaches gel stage, about 45 minutes. 
  • LADLE jam into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.
  • PROCESS jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.

Here's Hana's favorite Green Tomato Salsa Verde recipe. also from the Ball canning book.

  • 7 cups chopped cored peeled green tomatoes (about 12 medium)
  • 5 to 10 jalapeno, Habañero or Scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped red onion (about 2 large)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Ball® (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands 
  • PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil.  Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.
  • COMBINE tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and lime juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir in cilantro, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  • LADLE hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
  • PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
  • Quick Tip: Use from 5 to 10 hot peppers to reach the level of heat you desire. When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber gloves to prevent hands from being burned. 




Sustainable Agriculture Projects and Apples Along the North Shore of Lake Superior

"Sustainable Agriculture Projects and Apples Along the North Shore of Lake Superior" are discussed in this Sept. 10 program. Hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam interview Randy Hanson, the founder, coordinator and  ‘farmer in chief’ of the Sustainable Agriculture project at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  

They also talk to Cindy Hale, a researcher and farmer from St. Louis County who has been partnering with folks along the North Shore to increase apple production through a collaborative Minnesota Department of Agriculture grant. 

Ray Block, one of the  apple cooperators on the project from Cook County who has been growing apples intensively in the tall spindle apple growing system, joins the hosts in the studio as well.    



Northern Gardening talks Community Supported Agriculture

 Hosts Joan Farnam and Diane Booth discuss Community Sustainable Agriculture (CSAs) in Cook and Lake Counties with guests David Abazs, Round River Farm in Finland and Cook County growers,k Melinda Spinler, Community CSA; Nick Wharton, Good Nature Farm and Ian Andrus, Creaking Tree Farm, a new grower in Cook County. 

This program is sponsored in part by Northwoods Food Project and Cook County Extension.




It's All About Berries!

Hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam talk to Cook County grower Brian Wilson, and Tom Galazen and Ann Rosenquist from North Wind Organic Farm in Bayfield, Wis. about berry growing in the Northwoods.
Brian and his wife Laura put 10,0,000 strawberry plants in on their farm in Hovland. This is the first season for the new venture and everybody is excited about what these berries will taste like.
North Wind Organic Farm grows lots of strawberries, too, as well as raspberries and blueberries.
The panelists also discuss the spotted wing drosophila, native to Asia, that is proving to be a difficult pest for many berry growers across the country. It has been found in Lake County and in Bayfield.



Pesticides, Perennials and Pollinators

Hosts Diane Booth and Joan Farnam are joined by U of M Master Gardeners Max Linehan and Janet Ditmanson to discuss the use of pesticides by home gardeners; some great native plants you can use to help out our local pollinators, and information on perennials for Zones 3 and 4.



Drip Irrigation and Gardening in China

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Hosts Diane Booth (CC Extension), and Joan Farnam (Northwoods Food Project), welcome Dave Steckelberg to talk about installing drip irrigation systems and the Wright family (Jeanne, Greg and Olya) to share about agriculture practices in China.  Information about the Perennial Plant workshop hosted by the U of M CC Master Gardeners on June 6th will also be discussed.



Favorite Vegetable Varieties and Starting Seeds

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On the February edition of Northern Gardening, your hosts Diane Booth and Nick Wharton discuss several favorite vegetable varieties along with care of seeds and seedlings - with either natural or artificial light.



Getting the most out of seed catalogs

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In the January 2015 edition of Northern Gardening, hosts Joan Farnam and Melinda Spinler spoke with Heron Breen, Fedco Seed employee of 16 years.  Heron is in charge of vegetable trials, daily operations, seed grower outreach, and vegetable disease research.

In this program they discuss seed cooperatives and how they can save you money, as well as some of the vegetable varieties that can be relied upon every year to form the backbone of your garden, and exciting new varieties to try.



Bees, Bugs, and Pesticides

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On the June edition of Northern Gardening, your hosts Joan Farnam and Diane Booth will be talking about bees, bugs and pesticides! They talked with local beekeeper Louise Reavis, and Jeff Hahn, an entomologist at the University of Minnesota.