Explorer Kids camp M-F July 14th thru the 18th from 9:30a.m to noon

Just Food Co-op - 2 hours 9 min ago

ages 7 – 12 years  Explorer Kids Camp will begin each day at Just Food Co-op. The group will visit and explore a different community friend each day for some gardening, cooking, learning and discovery activities. We will end the day with an easy brown-bag lunch back at the co-op. Parents should please dress their child appropriately for rain or shine in comfortable, outdoor-friendly attire. Children should bring along a water bottle and sunscreen. $105/*co-op member; $119/non co-op member 9:30 a.m. – noon M – F, July 14 – 18 Just Food Community Co-op. Taught by our Outreach and Education Coordinator Lisa Precht.

This camp is a collaboration between Just Food Co-op and Northfield Community services.  To register for this please visit their website at: (follow the community services link)


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August-Community Movie Night- “The Greenhorns” Thursday Aug. 14th 6:30-8:00p.m.

Just Food Co-op - 2 hours 14 min ago

This film highlights a group of young farmers who have chosen to re-orient our broken food system. ey are learning the skills needed and starting the kinds of businesses that can replace the old systems. They are involved and unafraid to challenge politics and have a vision of a brighter future for farmers everywhere. is film will not only entertain you, but inspire you – whether you grow one tomato plant or an entire garden. Stay after the film to meet a local, ambitious young farmer or two for a Q and A session.

This event is a collaboration between Just Food Co-op and Northfield Community Services.  To register for this event, please visit their website at: (follow the community services link)

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July Community Movie Night- “Ingredients” Thursday July 10th 6:30-8:00p.m.

Just Food Co-op - 2 hours 17 min ago

is feature-length documentary takes viewers across the United States, from the urban food deserts of Harlem to the diversied farms of the Hudson River Valley. Ingredients reveals the people who are bringing good food back to the table and the myriad ways we can all eat better. Ingedients empowers and sparks the joy of discovery in creating a healthier, more sustainable model for living and eating well in a world in need of balance. Stay for a visit and Q and A session with a local chef or farmer after the film.

This event is a collaboration between Just Food Co-op and Northfield Community Services.  To register for this event, please visit their website at: (follow the community services link)

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Community Movie Night “One Man, One Cow, One planet” Thursday June 19th 6:30-8:00p.m.

Just Food Co-op - 2 hours 21 min ago

is award-winning documentary is a blueprint for a post-industrial future, revealing what an environmentally-friendly and biodynamic food system, capable of feeding everyone, could actually look like. After the film, visit with a local, organic dairy farmer for a Q and A session to kick off National Dairy Month in June.

This event is a collaboration between Just Food Co-op and Northfield Community Services.

To register for this event please visit the Northfield Community Services Website at:  (then follow the community services link)

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Forsythias in Bloom

Forsythia – Tree form

Both shrub form and tree form Forsythias are now in full bloom here at our retail garden center and are announcing the return of spring!   Stop in today for a long overdue shot of gorgeous sunny yellow spring color!

We stock Northern Gold, Northern Sun and Meadowlark Forsythias, all of which have excellent flower bud hardiness and bloom reliably even after a tough southern Minnesota winter. The shrub form Forsythias grow from 6′-8′ in height to 8′-10′ depending on the variety.  Widths range from 6′ wide to 10′ wide.    They make great border plants – a natural fence or in the back of a perennial bed.  Their early spring bloom will stand out and once the flowers fade and the beautiful green leaves emerge – it will provide a great background for summer and fall blossoming perennials!


The Forsythia tree is a small ornamental tree that will bloom before the leaves emerge as well and will reach a height of only 8′-12′.

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Joni Kilde Downsizing Sale – April 25 & 26

Kuhlman Auctions - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 8:11am

Joni Kilde has sold her home at 1312 Blue Phlox Court in Northfield and will be selling the following items: 

Wicker porch set, small desk w/roll top, old trunk, 4 drawer file, shelving, chairs, hideabed and couch (like new), unique queen size bed with wall storage units on both sides connected above, dressers, creche, many pictures and prints, numerous small pieces of pottery and décor, collection of frogs, coffee table, modern dining room table & 4 chairs, long drop leaf table, dictionary stand, desk, Sony stereo, linens, small Magnavox flat screen TV, Weslo Cadence 70e treadmill

 ANTIQUES: including bean pot from Bundlie’s Grocery in Waseca, Dick Tracy lunchbox, Tom Mix comic, old Arizona Highways magazines, 4 gal RW crock, antique book shelf, child’s oak chairs, 2 gal crock

Sale starts at 9:00AM both days and runs until 4:00PM.  Numbers given out at 8:00AM

call 507-649-1983 for details

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Cool Season Annuals are Here!

Spring has now officially arrived.   We have received our first shipment of cool season annuals.

We have Snapdragons, Stock, Dianthus, Violas, Alyssum, Pansys, Dusty Miller, Petunias, and for the cool season veggies you’ll find Cauliflower, Brocolli, Kohlrabi, and Brussel Sprouts.

There are a limited number of succulent bowls available and the pansy bowls are beautiful!

Stop in this weekend and get a dose of Spring!  Temperatures are going up next week – above normal or so the weatherman says for the rest of April!

We also have ideas for Hostess Gifts for your Easter celebration!


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Spring on Hold – Birds in Need

Colder than normal weather this week of April 13-19 will slow the arrival of spring flowers and hinder gardeners eager to get started.  If there are some times during the week when soils are firm and partly dry, clean up of gardens can proceed.  If these conditions are absent this week one of the best activities may be providing some food sources for birds and other wildlife.  We are the stewards of the wildlife.  Resident birds and migratory birds would appreciate an assist during this late winter/spring of our discontent!  By turning up the leaves under shrubs, not only does this disturb the soil a little – but it will also interrupt the insects which will provide a meal or two for our feathered friends.

Put out new birdhouses, remove last year’s nests from existing houses, place small lengths of string, yarn and wool out for birds to use in making new nests, and think about planting bird friendly trees and shrubs that mimic natural habitat.   Some of these trees and shrubs include the Serviceberry, Red Osier Dogwood, Cotoneaster, Burning Bush, Bush Honeysuckle, Flowering Crabs and Showy Mtn. Ash.

Clean out your feeders and keep food fresh and provide a water source for the birds.  If birds that are early arrivals are able to find a few extra morsels of food during a colder than normal week, it could help them get by under warmer days arrive and naturally occurring plant and insect food sources become available.  Typical bird seed and suet are a good food source for some birds.  For other birds, try putting out a variety of foods such as sunflower seeds, millet (which is great for small billed birds who can’t handle the sunflower seeds as well),   orange halves, and grape jelly.   Softened raisins and over-ripe fruit that has been cut up is another offering for your “bird menu”.   With nesting occurring and new  young to be fed – crushed up egg shells are a good source of calcium for the birds.

Blue bird enthusiasts have found that providing mealworms and a special concoction called Bluebird Banquet by Linda Janilla from Bluebird Trails book can be a lifesaver during the winter to spring transition.  Other sources of food for these birds can include chopped up hard boiled egg yolks, corn bread and even small amounts of canned dog food.

Bluebird Banquet Recipe:   1 cup peanut butter; 4 cups yellow cornmeal; 1 cup rendered suet, melted; 1 cup flour; 1 cup small raisins; 1 cup small sunflower chips; and 1 cup peanut hearts.  (If organic cornmeal is used, omit the flour)

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Primula – Springtime Perennial

Our Primula Belarina collection is blooming with beauty in both the Buttercup and Cobalt Blue varieties. These springtime flowers create eye-catching floral arrangements that can later be planted for long lasting enjoyment.

With Easter celebrations right around the corner, Knecht’s Nurseries and Landscaping is offering these bright blossoms at a featured price of $12.99 for a decorative pot for your holiday table, or at $10.99 in a standard nursery pot.   Come see them in person and bring their radiance home to glorify your Easter dinner table.

‘double flowers with crinkled foliage, perfect for woodland or shady rock gardens, prefers consistent soil moisture – Zone 4 hardy!’

Thanks to one of our new employees, Jill Olson, for submitting this blog!   Look for more photos and blogs by Jill!

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6th Annual Kid’s Planting Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner which means it’s time for two things…

SPRING and our 6th annual Kid’s Planting Day!    Here are the details:

Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping presents our 6th Annual Kid’s Planting Day!  Saturday, April 26th from 10:30 am to 11:30 am

We provide the pot, selected annuals, soil, and all the care the plants need until Mother’s Day Weekend, when kids can pick up their planters decorated with a bow and Mother’s Day Pick!

The cost is $6.00 per planter.  We encourage pre-registration so we know how many to plan for.  This event is hosted in one of our heated greenhouses, where it always feels like spring, so it will be nice and warm even if the weather is cool or rainy.

Please join us or pass this information along.

Knecht’s Nurseries & Landscaping   1601 Hwy 19 West, Northfield · 507-645-5015

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The Awakening

Just a few days ago winter’s grip on the land was still quite visible.  Last Friday, a snowstorm was blanketing much of Minnesota in up to a foot of fresh snow.  One week later, a consistent stretch of above average temperatures have chased away the last snowbanks, and the land is awakening.

A faint green tinge is now evident on some grassy areas, and silver maples, elms, cottonwoods and red maples are swelling their leaf buds, and are about to begin pollinating for seed production.  Woodland wildflowers on south facing slopes are waking up and a few blossoms should be open this weekend.

For all Minnesotans who are lovers of the outdoors and their gardens, these are the days when we feel reborn, and almost as if we just got let out of jail.  Last night we made the short trek to our meadow and removed the white plastic trunk protectors from ten trees, the very first tending of our gardens for the 2014 growing season.  Now we are eager to clean up the debris from winter in other areas of our landscape, and will have to patiently wait to work in each area for soils to dry and firm up so we avoid compacting the soil and damaging roots.

Spring frost will surely dust the roof tops and gardens on some mornings over the next few weeks, but make no mistake, the awakening has begun.  Enjoy the journey.

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Firebird Flowering Crabapple

Dwarf flowering crab trees have risen in popularity in recent years due to a desire for more compact ornamental trees to fit smaller yards.  My favorite dwarf crab is the Firebird Crab, because of its well behaved branching, prolific flowering, exceptional disease resistance, and the great fall and winter appeal of the small pea sized red fruit that adds color to a drab time of year.

Firebird Crab is what I think of as a true dwarf and is usually grafted onto the stem of a Dolgo Crab at a height of 32″ to 48″ above ground level to create a “lollipop on a stick” appearance.  Firebird Crab is a variant of Sargeant Crab, from which it draws its hardiness, dwarf genetics and the very best disease resistance.  Leaves stay clean in appearance and remain on the tree from spring all the way through late fall on the Firebird Crab, making it a delight to the eye in all seasons.

Each spring pink flower buds cover the entire crown of this tree, eventually opening to a lovely creamy white in such numbers that it looks almost like a puffy white cloud.

Plant the Firebird Crab in properly drained soil where there is plenty of sunshine to get the best results.  You can plant Firebird Crab under overhead power lines and there is little change it will grow into the lines as well as using it as the focal point of a landscape bed.

The size rating on this tree is 8 feet tall by 12 feet wide.  due to its small stature, pruning is quite easy.  If you find a place in your landscape for the Firebird Crab, I’m certain you will enjoy it for many years.

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Coo Coo for Coconut oil Thursday June 12th 7-8p.m.

Just Food Co-op - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 6:06pm

Just try it! In this interactive class, discover how to absorb the benefits of coconut oil. Try it on your skin to protect against aging. Try it in cooking to replace butter and other oils as a natural saturated fat that gives foods a delicious flavor. Expand your palate and your health — inside and out.

 Register here
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The Mighty Oaks

Yesterday, our crew peeled back protective layers of white plastic and closed cell foam blankets to reveal hundreds of small special air root pruning pots, each holding one or two acorns planted last October.  When those acorns were collected, culled to select the very best, and carefully planted,  it was with the great hope that someday each could grow to become a might oak tree.

The oak trees of our forests are an incredibly important part of the web of life.  While large majestic oak trees provide cooling shade, nesting and roosting sites for many creatures and very strong wood for building homes and furniture, it is the acorns from the healthy trees that help maintain healthy populations of deer, wild turkeys, birds, squirrels and more.  Acorns are densely packed with starch, oil and protein that provides some of the most important nutrition for wildlife.  Every spring I eagerly look  forward to the time when the fall planted pots of acorns are uncovered after a long winter under wraps.

Just as I had hoped, a great many of the acorns have already germi
nated with the husk splitting to allow a root to penetrate the soil mix.  Within a few weeks small shoots with leaves will emerge and grow vigorously toward the sun.  I’m always amazed by the way the acorns can spend several cold and snowy months outside and still produce a beautiful little oak tree by the end of the summer.

You can help grow the forests of tomorrow by adopting some of these little oak trees and planting them in sunny locations.  Someday, under the wide spreading branches of the oaks you planted, your grandchild might be found collecting the acorns to grow yet another generation of mighty oaks.

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Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr

Monkey See, Monkey Read - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 7:05pm

Review by Steve Swanson

Nevada Barr, Destroyer Angel. an Anna Pigeon mystery, St. Martins, April, 2014, 342 pp.

When Jerry of the Literate Monkey handed me this pre-publication mystery, I remembered having read several other Anna Pigeon mysteries, two of them set in Minnesota’s Isle Royale Park on Lake Superior.
Reading Nevada Barr’s biography, I wondered if we might have had the same writing tutor, James B. Hall, she at University of California, Irvine, and I at University of Oregon.
There are a dozen and a half Anna Pigeon mysteries, all of them set in national parks. This one, also set in Minnesota’s north woods, opens with four campers—one of them a paraplegic, and one extremely wealthy–kidnapped and held captive by urban thugs.
A third of the way into the book I had plausibility traumas on behalf of Anna Pigeon who, arriving late at the campsite without even her Swiss Army knife, finds four armed and vicious criminals holding her four friends hostage out in the woods. Is she The Lone Super-Ranger?
Anna must figure out how to free the hostages. The action starts early, 20 pages in, and it’s a real potboiler. Anna, weaponless, sneaking around outside the kidnappers’ campsite, manages to rescue all four hostages and save a wounded dog, though she and one of the hostages is wounded and the others are brutally injured by the thugs.
If you like wild, violent, gory stories, if you like relentless suspense, if you like Nevada Barr, and if you like narrative twists and turns, settle into your easy chair with this one.

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Dallas Crow Poetry Reading

Monkey See, Monkey Read - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 1:36pm

Dallas Crow and Rob Hardy will give a poetry reading Thursday, April 17, 7:30 pm.


In Small, Imperfect Paradise, Dallas Crow unflinchingly explores themes of love, sex, growing up, and growing older. The spine of the narrative is the speaker’s progression through a relationship, from the early possibility and romance, through marriage and parenthood, and on to the painful dissolution. The titular poem identifies a moment of stillness in this progression, where two realities exist, one aching, and one idyllic: that of the husband and wife, whose relationship is over, and that of the sleeping children, who do not yet know.

The small, imperfect paradise that Crow writes toward is shattered in “Separation”: “Like a home movie played backwards,” Crow intones, “the gifts / are rewrapped and taken away, the guests / sidle awkwardly out, and then your children leave, / smiling and waving.” In this collection, Crow creates a Möbius loop that mirrors the human experience; the poems wind through startling pain and realization and then loop back to hope and love again and again, each experience simultaneously fractured and precious.

Dallas Crow grew up in small towns in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and attended Oberlin College. He now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota and teaches high school English at Breck School in Golden Valley, Minnesota. His poems have appeared in many periodicals (including English Journal, Poet Lore, and Tar River Poetry), two anthologies, and—as part of a public art project—in the sidewalks of St. Paul. He has also published a number of essays on contemporary poetry.

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Bonus Bucks Are Here!

Our Bonus Bucks are back for another season!

This April and May, for every $25 you spend, you will receive one Bonus Buck.  Then anytime in the month of June, you can use these – just like cash – on any retail purchase!

Now is the time to start planning for new trees, shrubs or perennials!  Do you have some plants that need replacing?   Our greenhouses are full of perennials just waiting for the weather to warm up!    Make your list now on what you need to do.   Annuals will be available late April and in May.

Also – sign up for our e-news.  Each Friday, we send out an e-mail on new plants, advice, happenings, etc.   Then twice a month, we send out coupons that are only available for the customers on our e-news list.  Our first coupon for 2014 comes out next week – April 11th!

Our website has been going through many updates and revisions the last month.  If you have a problem signing up on the form on the sidebar, just use the contact us form and we’ll get you on there for next week’s kickoff coupon!


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How a Combination of In-House Talent and an Outside Agency Makes for the Best Social Media Strategy

Brand Yourself Consulting - Tami Enfield - Mon, 03/31/2014 - 12:40pm
Finding the Balance: In-House or Outside Agency? Why Not Both? According to...
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Great Flowering Shrubs, Landscape Design & a $5 Coupon


Leif will be presenting a seminar this Saturday, April 5th, 2014, at the Northfield  Area Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden Business Expo here in Northfield .  The topic will be Great Flowering Shrubs for Southern Minnesota.    His seminar will start at 11:00 am!

Amy Voight, our landscape designer, Heidi Brosseau and Leif will be at our booth to answer any questions you may have.   Amy is busily meeting with customers and designing projects which will be either installed by our crew or tackled by the homeowners themselves.   Our landscape design services are described under our landscape tab.   An article written by Amy – ‘Gardening as Art’ is also found on our Design Services page.  It is sure to fire your imagination.

In the April issue of ‘The Entertainment Guide’, you can catch a sneak preview of his talk.  The article touches on three of the ten flowering shrubs that he’ll speak on in detail on Saturday.  Is the Northern Sun Forsythia, the Ann Magnolia or the Regent Serviceberry going to be the one that does it for you for your yard this spring?

Also in the April issue of the Entertainment Guide you will find our first coupon of the season – be sure to clip it out and bring it with you this April!

The Home Show will be at the Northfield Arena, located at 1280 Bollenbacher Drive, Northfield, MN from 9 am to 3 pm.


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Winterburn on Evergreens

Modest winterburn

Severe winterburn

We are starting to get calls about concerns people have for evergreen trees and shrubs with needles that are turning brown, which is a condition called winterburn.  Winterburn is generally worse in years when there has been a really long period of snow cover, especially if continuous snow cover has existed for more than 60 days.  This winter, I think we have had 100-120 days of snow cover, so winterburn is probably going to be widespread on susceptible varieties.

The evergreen shrubs and trees most vulnerable to winterburn are those most recently planted that do not yet have a large and well established root system.  White Pine, Red Pine, Scotch Pine, Austrian Pine and some varieties of Arborvitae develop winterburn more easily than the other evergreens.  The bad news is that winterburn is an issue once every few years.  The good news is that most trees that look poorly i the spring will push out nice new growth in May or June, and will look good again in a relatively sort period of time.

Sometimes selected twigs/branches may get dried out enough to kill the twig/branch.  If this happens – wait until mid to late June before pruning out twigs you think are dead, to give them a chance to sprout new growth if the damage is light enough.

Most winterburned evergreens will make a comeback.  In cases where damage is extensive, a decision will have to be made to work with a tree or shrub that is misshapen, or to remove and replace.  It’s all a matter of degree, and what each property owner finds tolerable.

In years like this when winterburn is fairly widespread, I’m always amazed at how terrible an evergreen tree or shrub can look and still make a good recovery.  If needles brown out, but the surface of the twig is not shriveled, a good recovery is possible.  When the bark of a twig is shriveled the twig is probably dead, and it may be time to make plans for replacement.

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