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Koehler

Darrel Koehler

Darrel Koehler writes 'The Prairie Gardener' for Thursday's Herald. Send garden questions in care of him to Grand Forks Herald, P.O. Box 6008, Grand Forks ND 58206-6008.
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Articles

PRAIRIE GARDENER: Autumn the most glorious time on the North Shore

Autumn on Minnesota’s North Shore is the most glorious time of year. For a brief period it looks like Jack Frost has gone completely mad with his paint brushes.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: It’s time for garden cleanup, winter prep

Every autumn, the Prairie Gardener feels a little melancholy as he begins the annual garden cleanup.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Growing apple, fruit trees takes patience

Growing aApple production in Minnesota dates to the territorial days before 1858. When large numbers of settlers from northern European arrive to take up homesteads, they wanted to plant apple trees. But they had to contend with our severe cold first.pple, fruit trees takes patience

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: The best time to divide irises is late August through September

With August soon history, many gardeners are starting fall preparations in their gardens. While we still have more than a month of summer left to enjoy, autumn is just around the corner for those of us who will soon start winter preparation as well.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Growing giant pumpkins requires skill and patience

The golden orbs of autumn are becoming behemoths as growers try to grow ever bigger pumpkins. This year was no exception with Chris Stevens of New Richmond, Wis., (near Stillwater, Minn.) who produced a world record pumpkin totaling 1,810 pounds. The old record was 1,725 pounds and was grown in Ohio in 2009. A 2,000-pound pumpkin is within reach soon.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Community gardening projects flourish in Greater Grand Forks

Nothing beats the crispness and taste of fresh green beans from the garden, or for that matter, carrots, beets, peas or tomatoes. This is what Nancy Nelson, second-year vegetable gardener, discovered this summer. Nelson was one of many fledgling gardeners who took part in community gardens in Grand Forks this summer. Not since the Victory Gardens of the World War II era have so many people discovered it was so much fun digging in the ground to plant veggies. This garden produce helped cut food expenses and taught youngsters and others the importance of fresh veggies and fruits in their diets. First lady Michelle Obama’s enthusiasm hasn’t hurt, either.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Tinker gardens is one of six gardens you can visit while in Rockford, Ill.

Robert Hall Tinker, longtime Rockford businessman, found a short-cut to fame and fortune. He married the widow of his boss and achieved both. His wife was the widow of John Manny, who was the inventor of the reaper and who got caught up in a long-term legal clash with Cyrus McCormick, who made a similar claim. Manny won.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Put Buffalo’s botanical gardens at the top of your must-see list

While it was too early for the 105th annual Chrysanthemum Show, which begins in late October at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Grand Forks senior citizens were able to take in the Victorian Week and Ivy Show in late September.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Ash borer leaves thousands of dead trees in its wake

There is both good and bad news on the emerald ash borer scene this week. Let’s begin with the bad news. On a mid-autumn motor coach tour, sponsored the Grand Forks Senior Citizens center, the Prairie Gardener and others enjoyed a preview of fall colors all the way from the Berkshires of eastern New York state to the scattered forests of Pennsylvania.

PRAIRIE GARDENER: Farmers Almanac paints dire weather picture for region

After a warm and sometimes wet summer, the region may be facing a fall with more of the same. September, October and November is likely to bring more above-normal temperatures to the region. This is good news for gardeners and farmers as we get about our harvest and prepare for winter. Much of the garden harvest will occur in early October when we bring in potatoes, root crops, cabbages, squash and pumpkins. We also will wrap up the tomato harvest.

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Columns

PRAIRIE GARDENER: Summer wanes and fall chores loom

Yellow leaves are falling from the trees. Birds are gathering for the fall migration. And, the list of autumn chores keeps on growing. Have no fear. Nearly a week of summer remains before autumn officially arrives, and that may be just enough time for a few more picnics or a trip to the lake.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Gardener thinks of the tropics in August

With all the sweltering heat and blazing sunshine, you would think we were living in the tropics. The tropical look has been growing in popularity in gardening circles, and while it is too late to make any change this year, it might be something to consider next year.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Classes set for NDSU Extension Service master gardener program

The deadline to register for the 2012 master gardener program is Aug. 1. Classes will kick off Aug. 17 and continue through Oct. 5, according to Ron Smith, North Dakota State University’s Extension Service horticulturist in Fargo.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Strawberries are a sweet sign of summer

Strawberries, either wild or cultivated, long have been one of the most prized fruits on our tables. The Ojibwe or Chippewa Indians observed June as the “strawberry moon” month for good reason. They found large patches of wild strawberries in grassy glens and on the prairies or low areas. While they had no way to store the bounty, they did enjoy this first fresh fruit of the season with relish.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Early freeze slices into Minnesota apple crop

This year’s apple crop has suffered major damage, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. The severe damage is confined mostly to the major apple production areas of southern Minnesota and the Twin Cities area.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Long, hot summer may be in the offing

Some gardeners have called this the year without winter. After one of the mildest winters on record since 1910, the summer is shaping up to be one that will be hot and long.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Cherry trees are a gift from Japan that keeps on giving

After a century, a diplomatic gift from Japan continues to flourish in our nation’s capital. We are talking about the famed Japanese flowering cherry trees, which bring their beauty each spring to the Tidal Basin and surrounding areas.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Garden tomatoes are a summer treasure

There’s nothing quite like a plump, juicy summer-ripened tomato from the garden. While the first tomato always is slow to ripen, we usually end up with abundance of these luscious red orbs of summer by late August. Then all too soon, Jack Frost comes and the curtain falls on another tomato season.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Wisconsin botanical garden is a beauty

Beauty, inspiration and education are terms that can be used to describe the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Wisconsin’s capital city. On a recent bus tour, the Prairie Gardener along with 49 others from this region who were headed back home from an East Coast break with Judy’s Leisure Tours of Fargo, had a chance to visit both the outdoor and indoor gardens. With stormy weather possible that day, the choices ensured at least one venue would work.

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PRAIRIE GARDENER: Tiptoeing through the tulips — and more

Floriade, a world horticulture event occurring once in a decade, opened earlier this spring in Venlo, the Netherlands. It’s billed as the greatest flower show on Earth and will run through Oct. 7.

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