Knecht's - Northfield, MN Nurseries and Landscaping

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Cool Weather Greens

11 hours 46 min ago

Growing cool weather greens is a great way to maximize the short Minnesota growing season and enjoy fresh produce sooner. Many leafy greens prefer cooler weather, so late April to mid May is a great time to plant them. 

Cool weather greens like lettuce and spinach can be interplanted with warm season crops. As the summer heats up, they thrive in the cool shade of taller plants like tomatoes. Crops like kale and cabbage should be planted where they will have room to mature and enjoy full sun.  

Leafy greens do best in rich soil, so work slow release fertilizer into the planting beds to keep them producing happily. 

Eat Your Greens

Lettuce, spinach, leafy greens – Direct sow in late April. Plant in an area with light shade to help prevent bolting when weather warms. Harvest as needed and cut from the outside for leafy types. Head types can be harvested entire.

Kale – Sow in late April in rich soil. Kale happily grows in cool weather and keeps producing all summer.  Harvest as needed, cutting from the outside.

Cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli – These cool weather crops take a bit longer to mature, but they love getting a start in cool weather. Direct sow in late April to early May in rich soil. Mulch plants as warm weather approaches to keep the roots cool and retain moisture. Plant seedlings out in cool weather too!

Hungry for more? Check out our blog on root crops for cool weather! 



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Cool Weather Root Crops

11 hours 47 min ago

Root crops that like to grow in cool weather should be planted as soon as the soil is workable in spring. Planting in late April to early May is perfect. Growing cool weather crops helps gardeners maximize the short Minnesota growing season and enjoy fresh produce sooner. After quick turn crops like radishes are harvested, the same plot can be used for warm season vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.

Planting Cool Weather Crops

Cool weather crops grown for their edible roots perform best in loose, deeply cultivated soil and should be directly seeded. Thoroughly weeded, consistently moist, well-drained garden beds are ideal locations. Raised beds are excellent choices for root crops. Removing rocks and any large chunks of mulch or debris will help develop aesthetically pleasing, large, and unblemished roots.

Thinning cool weather root crops is essential. Things like carrots and radishes can’t develop properly if they are crowded. Follow spacing and planting depth instructions on each seed packet.

Carrots – Sow when soil can be worked. Germination can be irregular, so be patient. 

Radishes – Sow when soil is workable. Radishes are quick to germinate and can usually be harvested in a month or so.

Beets – Sow when soil can be worked. Beet greens are delicious too, you can clip a few while the roots are forming and enjoy them cooked or raw.

Onions –  While not exactly a root crop, onions can be direct seeded in late April. Plant them in full sun in a spot they can mature all summer. 

Want some roughage with your roots? Take a look at our post on greens for cool weather!

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The Norway Spruce

Mon, 04/12/2021 - 10:45am

Oft overlooked, never disappointing, Norway spruce is an old standby. A reliable, large evergreen that thrives in our cold climate. What the humble Norway lacks in high ornamental value, it makes up for in easy care and a fast growth rate. 

One of the fastest growing spruce we carry, Norway spruce is an excellent choice for areas that could use a mighty evergreen presence. They’re a superb choice for windbreaks, screens, and hedges in large-scale landscapes.

Young trees have a pleasing Christmas tree form that is great for winter decorating. Later on, the branches develop a graceful, pendulous habit and the bark shows a unique grey-brown flake. A mature Norway can grow to 60 feet tall or more and 30 feet wide.

More to Love about Norway Spruce

Norway spruce display good disease resistance. This is, hands down, one of their best characteristics, especially if you’ve encountered evergreen diseases in your landscape.  

Norway spruce are deer resistant. The rigid needles make them less attractive to deer looking for a tasty meal, making them an excellent choice for areas with heavy deer populations.

Norways are relatively undemanding. Their shallow, lateral root systems transplant well, and they adapt to most soils as long as there is adequate drainage and they receive regular water while getting established. Plant them in full sun to maintain denser form and ensure they grow with good vigor.

This is a fast-growing spruce with a large footprint, so pick the planting site accordingly. A small front yard isn’t adequate to accommodate a mature Norway; but a large, open area on the property is an ideal place to let these trees grow to their full potential.

Has it been a while since you’ve planted a tree? Take a look at our tree planting video for a quick refresher.

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Patience, Spring Gardeners

Thu, 04/01/2021 - 1:30pm

Signs of spring are all around us. The birds are chirping, crocus are popping, and Minnesotans are wearing shorts. Unusually early spring weather, pandemic blues, and the usual itch to get outside after a cold winter has us all wondering what we can do in our spring garden. Have patience, dear gardeners! It’s not quite time to start planting.


Though the weather is warming, it is not yet predictable. Nighttime temperatures are still swinging well below freezing and daytime temps are just as unstable. The plants, wildlife, and pollinators need a bit more time to wake up from their winter nap. When nighttime temps are consistently in the 50s, you can grab the shovel and shears!


Working cold, wet ground is not ideal for soil structure- it’s best to let soil warm up and dry out before digging.  Nobody wants to deal with poorly drained soil or chunky, inhospitable garden beds! Not to mention, seeds and new plantings appreciate a warmer place to settle in to.

Early Spring Garden Activities

It’s not all bad news! Here are some things you can do in your spring garden:

Walk your garden and note what plants have started to break dormancy. It’s incredibly enlightening to observe what plants are active in cooler weather versus warmer weather.  Examine buds on shrubs and trees. Getting to know your garden during different seasons is rewarding and educational!

Note areas that need more structure or vertical elements and think about what trees or shrubs might work. Measure. Sketch a garden map!

If you want to start seeds this year, now is the time! It’s a great way to get your hands in the dirt. Read our blog on seed starting for tips. 

Assess your mulch and decide where it needs to be topped up. A total depth of 2 to 4 inches of mulch is ideal!

Clean tools and perform maintenance on yard and garden equipment. Organize your garden shed if you have one.

Put the shovel down and get your pen out, gardeners. Now is the time for creativity and planning. The hard work will come soon enough!

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Congratulations Simone & Taylor!

Mon, 03/22/2021 - 3:46pm

Knecht’s is thrilled to announce we have two more certified professionals on our staff this year! Taylor Rasmussen and Simone Schneegans share in our passion and curiosity for all things plant related. They worked hard to pass a rigorous test qualifying them as a Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association Certified Professional with an emphasis in the Garden Center field.

Taylor has been part of the Knecht’s family since 2018. His strong organizational skills and steadfast work ethic makes him the perfect fit to lead our production crew. If we need to find a tree on our nearly 10 acres, Taylor always knows where to find it. He is a key player in our operations. With a background in biology, he is our in-house resource for questions about any critters that might be hopping, slithering or running through the nursery. Taylor is a kind, smart and reliable person that we are lucky to have as part of our team.

Simone is also starting her 4th season with Knecht’s and wears many hats here. She helps to lead our retail crew, exceeds at customer service, writes blogs for our website, and manages our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. Not only is she creative and brilliant, but she also makes every day exciting and fun with her sweet and sassy personality. Simone has an extreme passion for all plants, which make her the perfect fit as part of our Knecht’s family.

Simone and Taylor join Jim, Leif, Deb, Bernie, Tracy and Heidi with the MNLA – Certified Professional credentials. We believe the benefits of continued education in our line of work are invaluable and want to help every one of our customers and staff be successful in any gardening and landscaping efforts. We are grateful for the efforts Simone and Taylor have put into their education and every day on the job. Congratulations Simone and Taylor!

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