2021 Spring Newsletter

The Green House Spring Newsletter: What’s New for 2021

The majority of the small-town economy is derived from small businesses. From the gas station on the corner, to the café down the street, to the shoe store across the street, to the hardware store next door, to the bakery the next block over, and even your local greenhouse, they all are operated by our friends and neighbors, as are the people they employ. These businesses and employees depend on local customers to be successful. Shopping locally keeps the money in our hometowns instead of sending it to corporate headquarters, 3-4 states away. This is what keeps our small towns vital and prospering. It may cost a little bit more, but you don’t have to park 50 yards from the door, you won’t find employees who won’t make eye contact with you so they don’t have to answer a question, or you won’t be treated as if you are an inconvenience. Local business operators and employees are friendly, are knowledgeable about their merchandise, are willing to help with your purchases, and appreciate your coming in their door. Support them and help keep your friends and neighbors busy and employed.

The Green House’s main location is located in Carlton, MN. We have two other permanent locations in McGregor and Aitkin. In May, we put up spring satellite houses in CloquetDuluth, and Superior, while employing more than 70 employees.

Buy Locally: Among 15 greenhouses, totaling over 50,000 square feet, all of our plants are locally grown and ready for Minnesota’s climate.

the green house of carlton interior

New Plants for 2021

Please click here to view our plant list, or view our full newsletter PDF by clicking here.

Gardening Myths to Keep in Mind for 2021

Don’t water mid-day since water droplets act like a magnifying glass & burn leaves. False!

Water on the foliage on a hot day actually reduces the leaf temperature of the plant which is a benefit. However, overhead mid-day watering is wasting water as much of it simply evaporates. The best watering practice is to water in the morning, on the soil. Evening watering overhead is not a good practice, since the water stays on the foliage longer and increases the likelihood of disease organisms to grow.

Peonies need to have ants for the flowers to open. False!

Peony flowers will open just fine without ants. The reason many think ants are necessary is that normally just before peony flowers open, ants are present. The reality is that peony buds exude a sugary sap that the ants find as a pleasant food source. They are there for the free meal and that’s it. Wood chips as mulch rob nitrogen from the soil. This is true of about the top ¼” of the soil only. They can’t pull nitrogen from deep in the soil where the plant roots are. So, if woodchips as mulch are the look you are going for, they will work just fine. In practice, I did plant some plants in a soil mix that had wood chips incorporated and the plant growth was affected by the chips using the nitrogen inside the soil, compared to soil without them. I just bumped up the nitrogen and they did just fine. I never incorporated it as a practice, due to the increased fertilization cost.

Jim’s Jottings

Jim has a BS degree in Horticulture from the University of Wisconsin in Madison and has 60+ years of experience in the industry. Here, he shares some helpful tips for your 2021 gardening season in Carlton, Duluth, Cloquet, Superior, Aitkin, and McGregor: 

“Pollinators” is a commonly used term of late. These include bees, butterflies, even hummingbirds & more. It’s all about the perpetuation of the species, whether the pollinators themselves or the plants they pollinate. Plant pollination is all about the production of seeds for the next generation. Many plants are pollinated by wind, some by flies, like carrots, but the main concern is those that are pollinated by the bees, etc.

The word pollinator is used for the insect or bird that carries pollen with it, but it is also used to refer to the plant that provides the pollen to fertilize the flower on the plant that will bear the fruit. The context where the word is used will determine which is being referred to. Plants that require a pollinator need one of the same species but of a different variety, to set fruit. These include apples, plums, pears, and the list goes on. Some of these will set fruit without a different variety nearby, but the fruit set is less, meaning that to have the best result, two different varieties must be planted Some fruits like cherries and peaches that can be grown in colder climates, are self-fertile, meaning they don’t need a different pollinator. But for those that require pollination by a different variety, these pollinators are a must.

For the most part, our garden vegetables are almost all self-fertile. Basic botany: Most all fruit-bearing plants produce flowers that have both male and female parts. You can’t have fruit without flowers. With very, very few exceptions crosses between genera are never successful as they will not cross. So, you can’t cross apples and plums and get pluplles or apllums, it just doesn’t work. That would be like trying to cross dogs and cats (they are generally already cross with each other).

So, how do they get seedless watermelons? It’s by the crossing of varieties with two chromosomes (called diploids) with those with four chromosomes (called tetraploids) they get what is called triploid, and these are sterile, no seeds. These are NOT GMO!!

The benefit for the pollinators themselves is simply the food source. A word commonly in use today is the word “generic.” We use it when referring to unbranded drugs or food. In most dictionaries, that is the essence of the first definition. But long before the existence of those things, generic had a different application, and that exists today as the second or even third definition. In the plant field, the original use of the word is still very much in use.

As an example, being a member of the aster Family, marigolds, as do all plants, have another Latin name. The Latin name for what we call French Marigolds, the short marigolds we all love is, Tagetes patula var Bonanza Yellow. Tagetes being the Genus, patula being the species and Bonanza Yellow being the variety, often referred to as cultivar also. Tall marigolds are called African, Mexican or Aztec marigolds and those are Tagetes erecta. There are other species, as well. When referring to these as a group, the plural of the genus is genera. Therefore, when referring to the Latin name, it is more commonly called the generic name, the original use of the word.

Many ask why do they use a Latin name instead of just using a common name? In France, they call marigolds, souci. In Spanish they are called, maravilla. So, whether in France, Spain, Sweden or any other country, the name Tagetes patula, is global. In reality, the names we are familiar with as a common name are actually the generic name. Examples of these would be things like petunia, impatiens, ageratum, begonia, gazania, etc. However, we prefer to use “coleus” instead of Solenostemon or “geranium” instead of Pelargonium.

Employment Opportunities at The Green House

Since you are here, we know you like plants! Come join our team! Every year we hire full-time and part-time greenhouse retail staff for almost every location. We have many staff members that return, but not all. Many go on to school or have found other employment so we need new staffers. Our retail season goes from roughly May 1 to usually about mid-July. If you like working with plants, talking with fellow gardeners, and enjoy the greenhouse atmosphere, give some consideration to applying for employment. Hours are flexible, plus employees receive a significant discount on all merchandise.

Greenhouse production ramps up in February so if you are interested in the planting & growing part of the work, apply in January.

The easiest way to apply is online through our application page, or call 218 384-4732 and ask for Mary. Our locations are listed below.

The Green House of Carlton: 210 6th St. Open 8-6 M-Sat, 9-5 Sun 218 384-4732
The Green House of Aitkin: 320 2d St. NE. Opening April 1, open every day, seasonal hours, 218 927- 1375
The Green House of McGregor: 9 Country House La. Opening April 1, open every day, seasonal hours,
218 768-4463
Sattelite Pop-Up Green House: Lakeside, Super One: 5928 E. Superior St. Opening May 5, Open every day 8-8.
Sattelite Pop-Up Green House: Superior:  2911 Tower Ave. Opening May 4, open every day 8-8.
Sattelite Pop-Up Green House: Cloquet: 1208 Hwy 33S, opening 5/1, Open every day 8-8.


For the Carlton classes, please make sure to sign up using the form on the Carlton Community Education Class Offerings Website to secure a spot. If these class times do not work for you. We are offering a second option of dropping off your planters, and we will plant them for you. Please indicate what you would like regarding sunny shade or part shade and plant preferences (such as no petunias or no yellow plants, etc.). View Our Classes Page for more information.

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