I’ve been busy cleaning out my raspberry-choked flower beds in the front yard, getting ready to renew them. Around here, wild raspberries are among the worst of weeds, spreading by underground rhizomes, popping up everywhere. Although we do love the berries, I don’t want them in my flower beds. No thank you! The weather was nice, warm, and sunny so work went pleasantly.

On Saturday I went to the Giants Ridge Lodge in Biwabik, MN, as the guest speaker at the Minnesota State 8th District Horticultural Society meeting. I talked about heirloom seeds and seed saving to a big group of very interested listeners. We met a lot of people who were as passionate about gardening as we were, so the day was fun.

I’m busy taking plants out to the deck on decent days.
Hardening off plants makes them stronger and better suited to living outside.

But on Sunday, I opened my eyes to SNOW on the ground and coming down heavily. Then I pulled the covers over my head with a groan. Winter was back! We did chores and other necessary tasks outside and found plenty to do inside. Luckily, the snow melted and the rain came instead. It’s still cloudy and rainy but luckily, I’ve been able to continue carrying out hundreds of tomato, pepper, and flower plants to our deck on warmer days without much wind, to begin hardening them off. This makes the plants sturdier and slows down the super-fast, leggy growth they get when only experiencing nice indoor temperatures and no wind or sun. I can already see a difference in the plants. (Now if the sun will only come out again…) Our garlic was coming up so nicely through the winter mulch. Then it got snowed on heavily, but that didn’t phase it. The garlic is still growing and very happy.

Our garlic is doing well, despite the two inches of snow.

— Jackie


  1. Hard killing frost night before last just as all the fruit trees are in full bloom. Hate to go down without a fight so did manage to tarp down several of the smaller trees . Hope it helps.

  2. Are these raspberries a cultivated variety run wild from some previous garden or a truly wild species? If wild has anyone documented where they came from?
    Leggy tomatoes can be planted in a trench – strip the side shoots off the main stem, lay the plant in the trench roots facing down and top turned up and propped up with some dirt. Cover the stem. No need to tie them up or cut them down. The stem will grow roots from each stem node.

    • They are truly wild. There hasn’t been a garden here, other than ours nor one within a mile. Wild raspberries also grow in the wildest areas of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness north of us. They are our worst weed! Yep, we always plant our leggy tomatoes in a trench, and have for decades. It’s a good thing to remind folks of.

      • I wish they were our “worst weed”! We have leafy spurge, thistles, purple loosetrife, Absynth wormwood and if that wasn’t bad enough poison hemlock has moved into our cattails!

        I have tried to get some raspberries to grow in my garden at least 5 different years, but failed.

  3. I know what you mean about the snow. My daughter woke up for school on Monday and thought she was having a nightmare. Oh well that is spring in northern Minnesota. We have trouble with raspberries coming up where we don’t want them also, but at least my husband was able to clean up the rows when it was nice last week. We get tons of raspberries and I appreciate the advice on how to make juice. I made some last fall from the summers bounty and we have been enjoying it all winter. Freeze the berries and juice when you have time, much better than always wondering what to do with all these berries!

    • I’m always experimenting when I make juices and jelly. For instance, I’ve boiled several jalapeno peppers with my pin cherry juice to make Bronco Cherry jelly. It has just enough bite to be interesting! So much fun!

  4. From Arizona: What is this SNOW you speak of. We have heard rumors of white, flaky, frozen water falling from the sky, but have trouble believing ANY water ever falls from the sky. :)

    All kidding aside, I’ve been harvesting snow peas for almost two months and asparagus for the past three weeks. We’ve planted strawberries, bean, corn (Seneca Sunrise we got from you), Squash (Hopi Grey that I also got from you–I saved seeds from last year’s crop), Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Carrots, Watermelon, Cucumbers and a host of others.

    My one disappointment was that the Barry’s Crazy Cherry tomato we loved so much did not self-seed, as so many other heirlooms we’ve tried have done. To that end, I guess I just have to get more from you.

    • Hey you wouldn’t want us to go out of the seed business, would you? I whispered to those seeds NOT to go wild. Just so you’d have to buy more. It’s wonderful you’re harvesting now when it’s just a dream for us. My asparagus is either in jars in the pantry or under four inches of rotted manure, waiting to come up.

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