Dealing with a short growing season and a long winter, a backyard gardener in this part of the country is an efficient and patient animal. One must work quickly when planting time comes, and must wait and wait and wait for it all winter long. It is easy for such an animal to want from its growing season the promise of an uncontested campaign to make seed into bounty. This might explain why nearly every garden store in the Twin Cities is thick with the acrid air of pesticide stock. The organic gardener need only pass through the parking lot of a garden store with window down and nose a-sniffin' to tell whether it's earth-friendly. Outside Mother Earth Gardens, all you can sniff is green. One of the few stridently organic garden supply stores in the Twin Cities, Mother Earth has adapted masterfully to the gardeners it serves. During growing season, you'll find pots, plants, guides, and even consultants—of both the contract and informal, neighborhoody variety. Everybody smiles in this place—and it's not clear if it's the staff or the customers who start it. In the winter, there are locally grown Christmas trees and a Santa with a real beard (who seems to have a Ph.D. in being a holiday icon—he was overheard last Christmas talking to a five-year-old about the Roman feast of Saturnalia). More crucially, the store offers seminars, especially during the long winter months of January and February, on getting ready to garden. Attendees make maps and charts and dream anxiously of their bounty to be. Then these efficient and patient animals go home and sit, waiting for the sun to burn through the snow, spade and charts in hand, pesticides be damned.