Master Gardeners think spring

Jerry Vitalis

Chisago County Master Gardener

Even though the winter has started out really cold, the garden catalogs that are coming help us to shorten the winter, if only in our minds.

Master Gardeners are also trying to help, by offering events before the growing season. On Saturday, Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon, Tom Dickhudt and I will be at Peterson’s Farm, Home and Garden Store in North Branch. We talk about raising leeks and onions and answer general garden questions.

Then a series of classes will be taught at the Senior Center in North Branch. Each class goes from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and costs $5. Pre-register at 651-277-0151 (recommended), or you can register at the door.

Jim Birkholz, owner and operator of Pleasant Valley Orchard near Shafer, will start the series on Tuesday, Jan. 28, with a class on pruning apple trees. Believe it or not, February and March is the time to prune fruit trees, depending on the cold and snow depth.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Jim will lead a class on apple pests and diseases.  Each year, many of the gardeners who take Jim’s first class return for this, and there are always questions about fruit trees.

Our spring series will also offer classes on growing blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, and one called “Secrets to Healthy Garden Soil.” For complete class descriptions and a registration form, or to be added to our mailing list, visit our website at

We are also taking orders for our annual bare-root plant sale.  The order form is on our website, or call the office at 651-277-0151 and we will mail you an order form.