Karen Jeannette, Horticulture Research Fellow & Yard and Garden Editor
For many gardeners, the gardening season starts as soon as garden catalogs arrive and seed packets are back on the shelves of garden centers and nurseries. At this time of year, it's tempting to choose the flower varieties that most quickly jump off the page of gardening catalogs with the newest improved colors, or to select vegetables packets with photographs of the most succulent varieties you've ever seen. While sometimes those varieties are in fact winners, Minnesota growing conditions can challenge the best of the best nationally rated varieties, not to mention those that are just the best photographed.
Finding a stunning specimen or exceptional deal on a plant is always a thrill. However, when trying to get the best value from your plants in 2010, don't forget that finding the right plant for its growing conditions can create much value through benefits such as improved growth, insect and disease resistance, and fewer maintenance needs.
Choosing varieties to grow for the coming gardening season is a common garden task for many in January. Yet for some, formulating overall landscape plans to meet site conditions and functional goals must come first. Among hundreds of resources at the University of Minnesota Gardening Information website (http://www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo ), here are a few highlighted resources to start gardening with for 2010.
- U of MN Annual Flower Trial 2009 - Find the 2009 Annual Flower Trial's top performing annual flower cultivars that are likely to be seen on the market in 2010 or shortly after.
- Starting Seeds Indoors - A guide to growing plants from seeds, including tips for buying seed and supplies, planting, and how to successfully grow seedlings for transplanting into the garden at the right time.
- Suggested Vegetable Varieties for Home Gardeners - A practical guide listing vegetable varieties that have been successful in Minnesota test trials.
- The Best Plants For 30 Tough Sites - Trying to find out which plants are deer resistant, what grows in dry shade, or which annuals are more cold tolerant than others? University of Minnesota Extension Service Master Gardeners draw on their 30 + years of teaching and experience to provide this list of plant selections for 30 tough sites.
- Fruits for Minnesota - Find fruit varieties well-suited for your Minnesota location. Then find more information on how to grow these fruits.
- Landscaping - January is a great time to formulate landscape plans. The landscaping section of garden information provides many resources to help you get started.
- Upper Midwest Home Lawn Care Calendar for Cool Season Grasses - When is the preferable time for performing lawn chores? This calendar of lawn care activities can be helpful for planning lawn care maintenance for the upcoming season. For more information on how to perform these activities, see the Gardening Information lawns section.
- Tree and Shrub Selection for Home Landscapes - A list of resources for helping select trees and shrubs for a variety of conditions and landscaping situations.
- Use Diagnostics and Wildlife for troubleshooting last year's plant problems so you can formulate appropriate plans and prevention strategies for 2010.
Find More Minnesota General Gardening Information by TopicGo to:
- University of Minnesota Gardening Information website @ http://www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo
- Find the plant topic your interested in the left-hand column under the "Find information on" heading
- Seek out the general information sections about the topic to learn more
Screenshot (below): Finding general plant information by plant topic @ http://www.extension.umn.edu/gardeninfo/