News Flash

Wright County News

Posted on: February 2, 2021

U of M Extension Offering Tips On How to Extend the Life of Your Garden

By Adam Austing, University of Minnesota Extension Educator

As we enter February, many Minnesota gardeners find themselves wishing they didn’t have to wait until April or May to get back in the garden. Cold fall temperatures usually shut down our growing season by October, which we’re more than halfway through our wait to get back to working in backyards and gardens! But some of us are just too impatient to let nature work its course. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to squeeze every day out of our growing season.

One of the simplest ways to warm up the soil in the spring is to use soil warming mulches. Plastic mulches can be laid in your garden one or two weeks before planting. The soil surface needs to be smooth and level for these mulches to work well. These work by absorbing the sun’s heat and transferring it to the soil it’s making contact with, so air pockets due to uneven soil will reduce the effectiveness of the plastic mulch. Clear plastic is an exception to this rule. Clear mulches allow the sun’s energy to move through the plastic and heat the soil. As the soil warms, the clear plastic will work to trap heat and moisture instead of it being released into the atmosphere.

Plastic mulches do not come without some issues. The habitat in soil underneath plastic is not as good for soil-dwelling organisms as soil covered with plant material or compost. This could potentially reduce soil health and productivity in minor ways. Also, petroleum is a major component of plastic mulch, so it’s recommended that you throw away the plastic after each growing season. Annually needing to purchase new plastic mulch and then throwing it away is not ideal for many people.

There are many alternatives to using plastic mulches to extend the growing season. Biodegradable paper mulches and photodegradable plastic mulches are available, but are often less effective than plastic and come with their own sets of challenges. Landscape fabric or other permeable materials can help increase yields, but aren’t as effective at raising soil temperatures in early spring. There are also many types of structures, covers, and other ingenious ways people have fought the cold temperatures of Minnesota springs and falls. Many of these can be viewed at extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/extending-growing-season.

February is a great time to start preparing for spring. Now is the perfect time to trim many trees and cut back perennials. You can make plans for your garden, make sure tools are clean and ready to go, and evaluate how you can be more successful than you were last year. We’re also getting very close to the time to be starting seeds indoors. A guide to growing plants indoors can be found at extension.umn.edu/planting-and-growing-guides/starting-seeds-indoors.

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Wright County News

DNR Releases Updated Fall Color Map

Posted on: October 1, 2021

County Board Approves 2022 Preliminary Levy

Posted on: September 28, 2021

Second Half Property Taxes Due Oct. 15

Posted on: September 22, 2021

DPS Labor Day DWI Campaign a Success

Posted on: September 15, 2021

Public Health Releases COVID-19 Dashboard

Posted on: September 7, 2021

Extension Provides Crop Update

Posted on: August 23, 2021

DNR Releases 2021 Waterfowl Handbook

Posted on: August 10, 2021

MPCA Declares Air Quality Alert

Posted on: July 29, 2021

Veterans Career Fair Tomorrow

Posted on: July 28, 2021

Wright County Has Job Openings

Posted on: July 23, 2021

WCEDP Has Redesigned Website

Posted on: July 9, 2021

WOW Van in Monticello Today

Posted on: July 1, 2021

WOW Van Coming to Monticello July 1

Posted on: June 23, 2021

Wright County Fair Schedule Released

Posted on: June 21, 2021

Highway 30 Project Delayed

Posted on: June 1, 2021

May 9-15 Is National Police Week

Posted on: May 11, 2021

Appointments Open at License Center

Posted on: April 30, 2021

DNR EagleCam Up and Running

Posted on: April 27, 2021

Roadside Spraying

Posted on: April 22, 2021

DNR Has Interactive Bird Song Page

Posted on: April 21, 2021

Appointments Open at License Center

Posted on: April 2, 2021

First Half Property Taxes Due May 17

Posted on: April 1, 2021

I-94 Construction Ramping Up

Posted on: March 29, 2021

HHS Announces New Call Center

Posted on: March 26, 2021

First Half Property Taxes Due May 17

Posted on: March 24, 2021

Virtual Tour of Justice Center

Posted on: March 10, 2021

Fish Houses Must Be Off Lakes By Monday

Posted on: February 24, 2021

Two 4-H Summer Internships Available

Posted on: February 17, 2021

Members of Solar Farm Work Group Named

Posted on: February 16, 2021

I-35W Bridge to Glow Purple Tonight

Posted on: February 16, 2021

View Today's Press Conference

Posted on: February 11, 2021

Sheriff's Office Statement on Shooting

Posted on: February 9, 2021

County Offices Closed Monday, Jan. 18

Posted on: January 15, 2021

Public Health Releases COVID-19 Dashboard

Posted on: December 31, 2020

DNR Warning Residents About Thin Ice

Posted on: December 18, 2020

MEADA Receives $125,000 Federal Grant

Posted on: December 10, 2020

Public Health Releases COVID-19 Dashboard

Posted on: November 30, 2020

Sheriff's Office Releases Activity Report

Posted on: November 30, 2020

Sheriff's Office Releases Activity Report

Posted on: November 16, 2020

Santa Coming to Bertram Park Dec. 5

Posted on: November 5, 2020

View the Ballot You Will Be Filling Out

Posted on: October 21, 2020