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Star Tribune: Strategies for growing food in challenging Minnesota climate

By Mary Jane Smetanka
Star Tribune

Fresh from the Garden (John Whitman)Long Lake author John Whitman’s roots as a gardener were planted decades ago when his mother handed him some sprouted potatoes and told him to cover them with soil. As summer passed, he watched the plants pop up, then followed his mother’s instructions to dig up the area after the plants died.

“I couldn’t believe the number of potatoes!” Whitman said. “Within three years I was growing at least 30 different kinds of vegetables.”

He has put those many years of experience to use to write “Fresh From the Garden: An Organic Guide to Growing Vegetables, Berries and Herbs in Cold Climates” (University of Minnesota Press, $49.95). Whitman’s book, which covers everything from compost to nutritional content of various crops to combating pests, is a conversational, common-sense guide to growing 1,700 varieties of plants in places like Minnesota.

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