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Near perfect growing weather creating 'one of the best gardening seasons ever'

Warm weather and timely rains creating a bumper crop of fruits and vegetables

HOPKINS, Minn. — Lilian Nyasani’s happy place is a 20’ by 20’ plot of ground in Hopkins.

“I think gardening is the best thing you can do for yourself,” the Kenya immigrant says.

In 2020, Lilian’s patch of the Hopkins Community Gardens could be called her ecstatic place.

Lilian’s kale is knee high, her cucumbers vining like crazy and her tomatoes big as softballs.

“The weather this year has been good,” Lilian says.

Same story on Trisha Steen’s adjoining plot. “Yeah, having zucchini grow out of my ears,” she says.

“Giving away a lot,” Trisha continues. “It's out of control, but it's good.”

Trisha, a hairdresser, spent the spring off work due to COVID-19.

She’d thought about starting a garden before.  “It was a good time to try it out,” she says.

Her timing proved better than expected.

“This has been one of the best gardening seasons ever,” Pete Moe, director of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, says.  

Pete says early planting weather helped, and only got better.

“Then, end of May, early June, it got warm, just perfect weather for the warm season crops, things like peppers and opal basils, some of the herbs,” Pete says, “and tomatoes love warm weather.”

Soaking rains have done their part too, arriving through the early summer just when needed, with sunny days in between. “Which is just the prescription for growing great vegetables,” Pete says.

Final ingredient?

“They need a lot of love,” Lilian says, clutching her garden hose and smiling broadly.

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