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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:

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.




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.