Final Fall Harvest and Garden Winterization

Our final farm and garden harvests are in. Most of the fall leaves have tumbled down, laying beautiful rustic confetti for us to walk upon. A calm, warming sunlight shines under the patio and illuminates tidied garden, play hive and outdoor seating spaces. Like other growers and growing spaces, we are ready for a hibernating winter. And this is what we have done to prepare for it.

Rural Farm Manager Tony harvested the last of his greens, baby carrots and beets, green tomatoes, peas, and winter squash. At the Tiny Diner, we harvested the last of our kale, transplanted herbs for indoor use, and cleaned up untidy areas. We pulled up diseased plants from the roots up to compost them. And we cut off other plants at their base (like beans) to allow their roots to decompose directly in the soil.

After final harvests and plant removal, we make sure properly tuck in our growing spaces. It is not enough to remove annual plants. We seed cover crops like winter rye, winter peas, and oats in September (ideally) into our empty beds to prevent erosion through the late fall and early spring. There little sprouts will growing during cold nights and chilly days until the snow comes. At the rural plot, we add composted manure, as demonstrated by the late soil-builder expert Bruce Bacon of Garden Farme, to all of our beds. Then we mulch with 3-4″ of hay to keep soil in tact. For our gardens at the TD, we add straw-stuffed coffee bags and dense straw bales to growing spaces that will not receive snow but are outside so the plants do not freeze too hard and die.

Even with our garden and farm plots evanescing, there are still wonderful colors, textures and patterns to absorb and cherish. Come on down to the Tiny Diner for a hot tea or coffee and walkabout. It is a good time for taking notes not only on our plant season but on our personal season as well. Happy fall!

Rural Farm Manager Tony overlooking his abundance plots at Garden Farme and contemplating the end of the season.

First Place Tomato: White Cherry

Despite a very hot and humid day for our 5th Annual Tomato Tasting & Spice Challenge, we had a
great turnout of spice lovers and tomato coneissuers. To get the day started, local neighborhood volunteers Mary Stade and Cindy Hagen helped Seed Sages set-up the event. And a wonderful volunteer, Christine Harkess Shortridge , of Open Arms helped guide people through the various tasting steps. 5 different farms entered their tomato contenders including Hexagon Farm & Projects, Open Arms Farm, Heirloomista, Seed Sages, and our Tiny Diner @ Garden Farme. Tomato varieties included Pink Ponderosa, Honeydrop, Early Girl, White Cherry, Yellow Pear, Mountain Gold, White Cherry, Black Cherry, Estrina, Principe Borghese, Nepal and Rose de Berne.

In addition to 11 tomato varieties for tasting, we also had a “Spice Challenge” table to assist everyone in opening up their senses to healthy and exciting flavors. The spices included shiso, raw garlic, raw ginger, a spicy serrano pepper, and nasturtium leaves, fresh tulsi basil and sweet banana peppers from our gardens at the Tiny Diner.

After everyone finished sampling all the tomatoes and voting, clear first, second and third place winners surfaced. Each grower received a prize from the Tiny Diner. Here are the results:

First place: White Cherry from Hexagon Projects and Farm
Second place: Black Cherry from Heirloomista
Third place: A tie between Rose de Berne from Hexagon Farm and Estrina from Open Arms.

Thank you to our volunteers Christine, Cindy and Mary as well as our partner Seed Sages for making this event possible. Thank you to all of the growers who entered tomatoes too. Be sure to come to our 6th Annual Spice Challenge and Tomato Tasting next August 2019!


September Garden Update 2018

Have you come to the Tiny Diner this month? Did you see our honeybees pollinating our sunflowers? Did you

Herbs exploding out of planters this season.

notice that our willow thicket is gone? We have had a lot of changes – both seasonal and constructional – to our tiny landscape of late. Our gardens are more lush than ever this season. Here is a brief update so you can identify and watch our ever-changing landscapes evolve.

After 4 years of adding organic compost, cover cropping in the fall, supporting perennial blooms, and letting annual crops go to seed, we have large fruit and nut trees, huge berry bushes, and herbs that are encroaching on our pathways. We have had to prune, trim and shape these plants in order to encourage plant growth AND visual clarity for visitors. We have been harvesting tomatoes, peppers, nasturtiums, garlic, serviceberries, plums, cherries, and herbs throughoutf or the past month.

Our rooftop garden, which is in its third year of production, is in a difficult spot. We have been growing crops in the Night Shade (Solanaceae) Family for three years. These are crops that can handle sunny, hot and windy spots like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. However, this year, the tomatoes have produced very little and are very diseased. This is partially due to transplant nursery sources but is likely due to soil depletion as well. In plant containers of any kind, like our wooden planter boxes, soil depletes much more readily given that rain water washes through and it is aerated on all sides. We have decided that we are going to pull out all of our plants on the rooftop this week to properly amend the soil for next year. We will add compost and winter wheat as a cover crop to amend the soil. Plus, this rest period will force any tomato diseases to expire as well. Next year we will NOT plant tomatoes nor peppers on the rooftop and instead plant all herbs and flowers. We will forego short-term crop production gain in order to build more soil health for the long run.

Construction to improve our aqueduct and cistern system to catch all the rainwater from the west side of the restaurant roof.

Lastly, our willow thicket was dismantled in August given that it could not be repaired. This last week, our talented and friendly carpenter friend Dan began the installation of a new Play Hive for all. It is going to be built with cedar wood and strong pillars with hopes that it will endure for years to come. Additional construction pictures coming soon. You don’t have to wait for them though. You can check out the progression of our fall gardens and our NEW play hive by coming down to the Tiny Diner this month. The fall season is a perfect time to relax, observe and share the harvest with us!

In Our Hands: Bees and Seeds Workshop Sept 16th, 2018

Two fronts collide to form a necessary stewardship storm in this workshop at Lily Springs Farm: bees and seeds. With a lot of attention on our pollinators in the last couple of years, we decided to sponsor a unique and essential topic to continue life as we know it. Bees, among many other pollinators, co-evolved with flowering plants over thousands of years. Us humans came later to steward and harvest the abundance. While some plants can pollinate themselves without the help of any living being, many of the crops we rely on need bees to do the hard work. Most fruit and nut tress in the midwest, vegetables crops like tomatoes and squash, and our precious alliums like onions, require bees of all kinds to pollinate and produce. This workshop explores the depths of our relationship to bees, flowers and seeds with the aim to enhance our ability as a species to care for them through hard times.

With over 2 decades of collective experience, Erin Rupp of Pollinate MN and Koby Hagen of Seed Sages will include the following activities in this workshop:

  • Hive exploration with BEE SUITS
  • Detailed views of bee and flower ANATOMY
  • Flower scavenger hunts with BOTANY LOOPS
  • Seed collecting and sharing with GREAT PARTNERS
  • Resources and actions steps for the WHOLE FAMILY
  • TOUR of Lily Springs Farm
  • Light refreshments from TINY DINER

It is in our hands, literally and figuratively, to take care of bees and seeds we are blessed by. There are so many fun and easy things we can do to protect them and encourage vitality for seven generations. We hope that you will join us at Lily Springs Farm on Saturday September 16th from 10am to 1pm. Check out the event here and sign up today! Space is limited!




5th Annual Tomato Tasting and (NEW) Spice Challenge

Did you know that 100 years ago, farming communities across the U.S. had over 400 distinct varieties of tomatoes to share and cook with? Due to homogenization of farming practices, mechanization and industrialization of our food systems, that number has dwindled down to less than 25. Would you like to do something about it? The first step you can take is to fall in love with flavor again, and garner energy to support gardeners and farmers who grow for nutrition and diversity (not just shelf life).

Whether you like tomatoes or not, our 5th Annual Tomato Tasting and Spice Challenge has something for everyone in the family. While there are other tomato tastings in the Twin Cities, our tasting is all about savoring flavor and instilling dedication to diverse foods. This event was created 5 years ago at the Tiny Diner to raise palette sensibilities and awareness about preserving agrobiodiversity from farm to plate.

BE THERE: Saturday September 15th from 12:30-2:30pm.

See our official event description below and help spread the word. 


TOMATO TIME! Would you like to revive your palette with distinct tomato flavors and other amazing tastes? Come on down to our Tomato Tasting and Spice Challenge. We will have taste-bud exploring challenge for you to earn a sweet prize. Plus everyone can vote on their favorite tomato and help local growers win too! Light refreshments and music provided.

FREE! RAIN OR SHINE Suggested donation: $5-10. Any donations will go towards production stipends for local crop heros (gardeners and farmers) that grow rare, delicious crops and seeds in 2019.

This event is co-hosted by Seed Sages, educational organization based in the Twin Cities. They  provide seed consultations, designs, trainings, and research for seed production. Their mission is to re-skill our garden and farm communities in the art of seed saving and breeding to strengthen the foundation of our local food systems: our seed systems.



Honey, Goats, Bees, Seeds: September Events and Workshops 2018

If there was ever a time I wanted to duplicate myself, it would be for the month of September so I could attend all the exciting

and unique events and classes we have this fall. We have our 5th Annual Tomato Tasting & Spice Challenge, baby goats, chickens and honey tastings at our Farmers’ Market each Thursday, natural dye and soap making classes, and a very unique workshop about stewarding bees and seeds at Lily Springs Farm.


For more info, see descriptions below. Send any questions and RSVPs to Scholarships are available for all classes! 


5th Annual Tomato Tasting and (New!) Spice Challenge

Saturday September 15th from 12-2pm  

It’s tomato time! Would you like to revive your palette with distinct tomato flavors and other amazing tastes? Come on down to our Tomato Tasting and Spice Challenge. We will have taste-bud exploring challenge for you to earn a sweet prize. Plus everyone can vote on their favorite tomato and help local growers win too! Enjoy complimentary light refreshments and live music.

FREE! RAIN OR SHINE Suggested donation: $5-10. Any donations will go towards production stipends for local crop heros (gardeners and farmers) that grow rare, delicious crops and seeds in 2019. 

Tiny Diner Farmers’ Market Events: Thursdays 5-8pm

Chicken Play Day with Egg|Plant Farm Supply- 9/6 

Baby Goats with Goat Shine- 9/13

Community Sing with Janet Skidmore- 9/20

Rooftop Honey Tasting with Mademoiselle Miel- 9/27

Bouquets from Jerry’s Dahlias at our TD Farmers’ Market every Thursday night through Sept.


Soap Making Class with Longfellow Soap

Wednesday September 5th from 6-8:30

Cost: $20

Learn to make all natural soap with John Hanson, owner/maker of the Longfellow Soap Company. In this class you will learn how to make the 5,000 year old technique of making lye-based soap. Each student will receive a manual with equipment list, ingredients and where to buy locally, John’s “secret recipe”, instructions for making soap, and websites for purchasing essential oils. Each student will also take home five bars of soap the night of the class! Space is limited! Class is $20 but scholarships are available! Email andrea.e@tinydiner.comfor pay-what-you-can options or to RSVP.

Instructor Information: John Hanson is the owner of The Longfellow Soap Company and a a longtime resident of Longfellow neighborhood. He began making soap after taking a class that he purchased from a fundraising event for the Friends Quaker School in St. Paul. At first he gave all his soap away to family and friends until they started asking to buy it! Before making soap, John worked years in retail and another 14 in woodworking and carpentry. 


The Art of Growing Organic Fruit: Harvest, Seed Saving & Clean-up

Sunday September 9th 2-4

Cost: $20

Learn the art of harvesting for health of tree, seed-saving & more!

Join us for a workshop series exploring the cultivation of fruit trees, shrubs & other perennial edibles for our Northern climate. In this class you will learn the art of harvesting for health of tree, harvesting techniques, seed-saving & more! We will discuss many strategies for growing healthy fruit and keeping your garden ecosystem in balance. ‘As they say, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is right now!’

Instructor Information: Cody is owner of Land by Hand and co-founder of Open Hearth Permaculture Education. He graduated from the U of MN College of Design, and is a certified Permaculture Designer & Educator.


Bees and Seeds: In Our Hands

Sunday September 16th 10am-1pm

Cost: $40 (Scholarships Available)

Location: Lily Springs Farm in Osceola, WI 

Come explore the relationship between bees and seeds with us! Co-taught by Erin Rupp of Pollinate MN and Koby Hagen of Seed Sages, this class will explore the co-evolution and interdependence of bees and seeds, and how we can foster healthy existence for years to come. This class includes hands-on activities with bees and a tour of the Lily Springs Farm bee and seed plots, and some useful tips and resources to take home. Bring own lunch for 1pm, light snacks provided. Space is limited! Email to RSVP.

Instructor Information: Erin Rupp works with Pollinate MN, a pollinator education and advocacy organization, working toward a better Minnesota for pollinators and people.  

Koby Hagen is the founder of Seed Sages, an educational organization that offers seed consultations, designs, trainings, and research for seed production. Their mission is to re-skill our garden and farm communities in the art of seed saving.


MN Grown Color: An Introduction to Natural Dyes

Sunday September 16th from 12-2

Cost: $10

Join us as we explore the art of growing, harvesting, and dyeing with plants grown here in Minnesota. You’ll learn how to process plants and flowers from the forest, prairies, and your own gardens to create beautiful hues. By the end of class you’ll have learned the basic techniques of making dye from a couple of plants available in Minnesota this fall. Participants will need to bring two to three different 100% natural fibers to dye (linen, silk, wool, cotton), that weigh no more than 8 oz all together. Fibers can be purchased at a fabric or craft store. Space is limited! Please RSVP to

Instructor Information: Libby London has a background in cold climate permaculture farming, cooperative sustainable farming, and natural dyeing.  She currently runs a natural dye business called Northern Dyer where she grows and forages for natural dye plants, teaches workshops, researches dye plants for our region in Minnesota, and runs a custom dye lab. 


Seed Saving in September: Native Flowers & More              

Saturday September 23rd from 2-3 pm

$5-10 suggested donation

Come learn about and collect native plant seeds at the Tiny Diner! We will discuss ethical ways to collect seeds in our neighborhoods and in the wild, as well as best practices for seed collection and storage. This is the last part of our three-part series on seed saving. 

Instructor Information: Koby Hagen has been stewarding seed production and care for over ten years. She is passionate about connecting plants to people to animals through seeds. She is the founder of Seed Sages, a local seed production education company right here in the Twin Cities. 

Our Farmer’s Market is open! Aug-Sept

One of our great produce vendors, Heirloomista.

If you missed our first two farmers’ markets this month, fear not! We have 7 more markets through the end of September that you can come to and check out. Each Thursday, from 5-7pm, our parking lot at the Tiny Diner transforms into a fest of fresh local produce, music, community resource booths, crafts, and interactive explorations for everyone.

Each market has an interactive, educational themed activity to help us connect to another vital aspect of the living system we are a part of. This month, we have events centered around dog care, youth voices, and water use awareness. Check out a thorough description of all our FM events here.

We also are giving out stamp cards for every purchase at the Market. Once you have filled this card up with a few purchase stamps, you can turn it into our Market Manager and receive a gift certificate to the Tiny Diner. Support local produce, and receive free Diner food. So come on down! If you would like to be part of the market as a vendor, or know of someone who does, pleas send them our way. Contact Andrea:


Abundance in August at TDFM

Much of the edible abundance from local farms in Minnesota happens during the months of August and September. This means that our farm plots at Garden Farme are bursting at the garden seams. Our farm manager Tony Root is working overtime, alongside his harvest assistant Sammy, to bring fresh, local and delicious produce to the Tiny Diner.

Right now, he is harvesting baby potatoes of rare colors like purples and reds, cherry tomatoes, kale, tons of edible flowers, peppers, ground cherries, scallions, summer squash, and herbs galore. Plus this year, in honor of Bruce Bacon’s hard work and dedication to high-quality, artisan garlic, Tony is helping harvest the garlic bulbs that Bruce planted last fall before he passed away. He is selling fresh garlic to restaurants in case you know any interested establishments (contact These profits will go directly to supporting future farm endeavors at Garden Farme.

September will bring a whole new wave of ready-to-eat fresh produce, including large tomatoes, spicy peppers, large onions, and more squash. Be sure to check out our Farmers’ Market this month on Thursdays from 5-8pm to see the kinds of produce other local farmers are growing and to support local food economies. You will get a chance to talk to Sammy at the TDFM booth and find out how our rural grow site is doing!

Butterfly weed to the rescue!

Butterfly weed (Ascelpias tuberosa), also known as orange milkweed, pleurisy root, silky swallow-wort, and butterfly love, is a perennial native plant with clusters of orange or yellow flowers from early summer to early fall. Unlike other milkweeds, this plant does not have milky sap in its tissue. It is easy to grow from seed yet does not like transplanting due to its sturdy taproot. It can handle dry and wet soils. Not only is it a very pretty/showy plant, it is a good source of nectar for Monarchs. Plus its pods can be used in flower arrangements and other art projects and they are easy seeds to save and share.

If you would like to see one in action, we have a very lush butterfly weed plant in our rain garden on the east side of the tiny Diner, right near the Pollinator Condo.

Butterfly weed in the Tiny Diner rain garden. July 2018

July Events

Come take a refreshing break at the Tiny Diner this month. Whether you care about creating strategic climate change steps, animal rescue or local brews, this month’s pre-farmers’ market Thursday events will keep you satisfied. Check them out! Events take place from 5-8 in the Tiny Diner Parking lot (1024 E 38th St, Minneapolis). Can’t make it to these events? Make sure to join us during our other markets this season.


Climate Carnival with MN350
Thursday July 19th 5-8

We are kicking off our first mini-market by packing the parking lot with live music, activities for the whole family, and grilled food by Chef Zach! MN350 will be hosting conversations about how they are working to keep our environment and climate safe. MN350 is a climate justice organization fighting to win a livable future for all. Come learn about what we can do together to protect our communities! There will be tons of free activities as well as live music by the amazing Miss Myra and The Moonshiners and the 
and See More Perspective.

Pups and Pints: Beer for a Cause
Thursday July 26th 5-8

Do you like dogs? How about local beer, live music and supporting rescue organizations? Yeah, we thought so! We are partnering with our friends at Pryes Brewery and Ruff Start Rescue for a night of delicious beer and live
music. We will be pouring $4 pints all night with 100% of the proceeds from every Pryes beer going to save lives and provide housing and medical care for animals in need. Drink some beer, grab some grub and check out vendors
at our mini-market. Featuring live music by Minneapolis-based bands The Symptones and Beasthead

Dogs and dog owners encouraged to attend!


Got questions? Suggestions? Write to Andrea Eger, Education and Market Coordinator: