Environmental resources still available during pandemic

A view of Denise Stromberg's garden, which was honored by Metro Blooms as the best pollinator garden in Minneapolis. Photo courtesy Metro Blooms

While local governments and organization have been cancelling Earth Day events and in-person workshops because of the coronavirus pandemic, there are still ways Southwest Minneapolis residents can stay involved with environment-related initiatives.

The coalition Blue Thumb, for example, has moved its annual series of workshops about planting turf alternatives and creating resilient yards and healthy soil online. The workshops cost $15.

Attendees of the resilient-yard workshops will still have the opportunity to receive one-on-one assistance from experts. They will receive that assistance over video conferencing. Call 651-699-2426 to register for a workshop.

Meanwhile, the Adopt-A-Drain program is seeking people to volunteer 15 minutes twice a month to clean debris from a drain and nearby sidewalks and streets in their community.

Hennepin County master gardeners have also weighed in. In a blog post, master gardener Steve Miles said one way residents could maintain an outdoor presence is by planting “victory gardens.” Americans planted victory gardens during World War I, the Great Depression and World War II to provide themselves with vegetables, herbs and fruits, he wrote.

Miles encourages people to practice “vertical gardening” and to grow plants that mature rapidly, can produce all summer long and/or can grow entirely inside. More information can be found at tinyurl.com/covidgarden.

For residents looking to get a jump on spring cleaning, the City of Minneapolis will begin collecting yard waste, such as grass clippings, leaves and branches, on April 6. Visit tinyurl.com/mplsyardwaste for more information.

While the service may be available in early April, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization recommends waiting on your spring garden cleanup until mid-April or early May.

That’s because most pollinators do not emerge until temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees. Throughout the winter and spring, many of these insects take refuge under leaves, in hollow plant stems and underground.

The watershed management organization recommends leaving some weeds in your yard for pollinators.

The Park Board has cancelled two Earth Day events that were slated for April 18, including an annual 5K run. But it is still encouraging people to collect trash in their neighborhoods.