Growing Season Coming Soon

The growing season is coming soon to east central Minnesota.  A stop at your local ECRL library to check out some gardening books and magazines can inspire you to start planting.  These books from the ECRL collection offer some tips and advice for growing food and flowers throughout the summer.

  •   Plant marigolds near tomatoes or roses to reduce attacks by aphids.
  • Pests are less of a problem in weedy gardens but yield is lower.
  •  Frogs and toads should be encouraged in any garden because they feed on garden pests
  • Some weeds are useful.  Dandelion leaves make a great salad, nettle is an important food for butterflies and can be eaten as a spinach substitute and clover takes nitrogen from the air and brings it to the soil.

  •  Try growing your leaf lettuce around your broccoli plants to act as a living and harvestable mulch
  • Leave kale plants in the garden in the fall and they’ll product new growth next spring.
  • Newspapers make very good mulch.  Spread in sheets before adding compost on top.
  • One way to use herbs is to make sun vinegar.  Clean herbs such as chives, rosemary or tarragon and fill half of a jar with herbs and the rest with white distilled vinegar.  Cap and place in sun for one to two weeks.
  • Narrower walkways allow more space for beds.
  • Plants need space for roots and thrive best in 18 inches of loosened soil.
  • Rotate plants to avoid depleting the soil and get rid of diseases and pests.

Here are a few new ECRL books and some magazines from which to get up-to-date gardening ideas:
First, Jack.  Hot Beds: hot to grow early crops using an age old technique.  Totnes, 2013.
Hartung, Tammi.  The wildlife friendly vegetable gardener:  how to grow food in harmony with nature.  Storey, 2014.
Jabour, Niki. Groundbreaking food gardens: 73 plants that will change the way you grow your garden.  Storey, 2014.
Shelton, Neil.  The everything backyard farming book: a guide to self-sufficient living through growing, harvesting, raising and preserving your own food.  Avon, 2013.
Northern Gardener
Organic Gardening(available on Zinio)
Mother Earth News(available on Zinio)
Better Homes and Gardens
Kathy Morrow
Mille Lacs Lake Community Library
Branch Librarian

Magazines Aren’t Just Print Anymore

Libraries are usually known for their books, but magazines are an overlooked part of the collection.   ECRL has magazines in a variety of formats, depending on your needs.   
          The most basic is the old-fashioned paper magazine.  ECRL subscribes to many magazines throughout their 14 branches so if you are looking for a magazine that you don’t see, ask the librarian if it is available at another branch.  You can check out the back issues of any magazines through ECRL and keep it for three weeks.

          The next way to look at magazines is through the ELM database.  The state of Minnesota has subscribed to some costly databases so that everyone with a library card can have access to a huge variety of academic and popular journals and magazines.  Students are sometimes first introduced to this resource through their school library.  To gain access to these, go to the homepage of ECRL and look for the fourth box down.  Click on the ELM databases and then look for EBSCO or Megafile. 


If you would like to use your computer, tablet or smart phone to look at magazines, try the new Zinio feature.  Click on the link from the library home page.  You will be asked to make two accounts—one through ECRL and the other through Zinio.  Once you have this on your tablet or computer, you’ll love it.  You can look at many different magazines—ads and all–at your leisure.

Kathy Morrow

Mille Lacs Lake Community Library
Branch Librarian