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Gardening Brown Bag series offered

Gardening season is just around the corner, and University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas County want to get you off to a great start. They will offer a series of informative gardening sessions free of charge without pre-registration.

These lunch-time sessions from noon to 1 p.m. are offered in conjunction with the Douglas County Library. Bring a lunch or snack to the library and explore Minnesota gardening with the following session:

• May 3 — Soils by Steve Henry. It all begins with the soil. For the garden, raised beds or pots, know what you have before you plant. Organic matter, ph and nutrient balance are key to healthy plants.

• May 17 — Planting time! by Diane Henry. Transplanting tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables and flowers. It will include tips that may help you be more successful.

• May 31 — Marvelous honeybees by Lewis Struthers. Learn how the beehive is organized, how bees communicate, how they heat themselves in winter and keep cool in summer.

• June 14 — Unusual Fruits for Minnesota by Joel Kangas. There are many cold hardy fruits available for the area. Learn about general planting and care, unique characteristics of different varieties and some pros and cons.

• June 27 — Deer Resistant Plants by Mary Jane Keith. Tired of losing plants to the deer? This will discuss possible solutions to minimize deer damage to plants. A list of deer resistant plants will be provided.

• July 12 — Sauerkraut by Lowell Anderson. Did you know sauerkraut is a great source of probiotics? This will discuss the old-fashioned way of making sauerkraut. Come and hear about the benefits and fun of making it at home.

• July 26 — Low Maintenance Perennials by Pat Jepsen. Let's look at some low maintenance choices to add beauty, but not work, to your garden. Now is a good time to hunt for discounted perennials that can be planted in the fall.

• Aug. 9 — Feeding Birds in Winter by Al Glaeseman. Sunflower seeds? Thistle seed? Safflower? Cracked corn? Tube feeder? Platform feeder? How do you attract the desirable birds to winter feeders?

• Aug. 23 — Tomato Tasting by a Master Gardener panel. Back by popular demand, this session includes a tasting party.

To learn more, contact the University of Minnesota Extension at (320) 762-3890 or visit the office down the hall from the Douglas County Library.