What Is Wrong With My Rhubarb?

Delicious in crisps, pies, and even a cocktail, this versatile vegetable is relatively easy to grow. Though technically a vegetable, rhubarb is an Alaskan fruit favorite! But what happens when the pie plant some gardeners choose to leave to its own devices suddenly takes a turn? Growing up we had one very large and happy rhubarb plant in our backyard. It wasn’t in a garden, wasn’t even tended to, and it did great! Our rhubarb seemed to defy most garden advice: a testament to how hardy the plant is! Crisps Read More …

Starting Berries in Winter

An Experiment It’s February in Alaska while the rest of country is gearing up for spring. You’re walking the aisles of your local big box store and admiring the berry starts that just came in! Outside it’s still cold and dark, bright snow gleaming back at you during the short daylight hours. These starts are still dormant, save for a few brave ones with green leaves beginning to break through buds on the canes of the raspberries. Below I’ve chronicled the results of my experiment inducing spring indoors and successfully Read More …

Naked Mojitos, Purple Flowers, and Fancy Hot Chocolate

After having the pleasure of trying my hand at growing and using a few different cultivars, my sweet tooth ultimately tipped the scales in favor of chocolate mint. This species is readily available at nurseries, grocery stores, and other large home improvement convenience stores. It is a strong grower, and in my humble opinion, the best of the frequently available mint varieties to make mojitos with.  Chocolate mint is a peppermint that is a cross between watermint and spearmint (mentha x piperita). It has a USDA hardiness rating of 5 Read More …

Some Additions to the Mountaingoat’s Collection of Common Names

It’s been almost twenty years since I first picked up a copy of Verna Pratt’s Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, A Roadside Guide. While it might be a little unnecessary or even redundant to offer a literary review of one of Alaska’s most famous Master Gardeners, her introduction, penned in 1990, is just as prescient now as it was two decades ago. In her introduction, Verna makes it clear the book was created with the amateur botanist in mind. Given I satisfy amateur criteria, I don’t mind telling you, I Read More …

Alaskans are Truly Global Gardeners!

A brief history of the origins of our favorite garden vegetables Ice on the puddles the other morning had me lamenting the fact that it was still too soon to put starts outside for the season. That got me wondering about the vast number of plants we love to grow in Alaska that aren’t native to our region.  Wishing that I wasn’t at the mercy of our climate I asked myself “where do cucumbers grow in the wild?”. Within minutes my curiosity got the better of me.  Suddenly, I was Read More …

Building a Four Season Greenhouse

  I know I am not the only one!  Each fall, the lower the mercury starts to drop, the fuller my house becomes with summer’s plants that I cannot bare to kill. Sometimes things become absurd. Forget using the hot tub, it is now the Arctic Petunia Sanctuary.  The grape vine, re-designated a house plant, attacks and strangles the ceiling fan.   Come February, the living room becomes the seed nursery.  Regular furniture gives way to large folding tables, all covered with flats of starts.  It happens for so many years Read More …

Top 10 Gardening Tips- EVER

Hello everyone! Its #GardenerIsShe2020, and I just wanted to present the Top 10 Gardening Tips- EVER for beginning and advanced gardeners. Weather you’ve never gardened and want to know how to do it hassle-free or of you’ve been gardening for years and are wondering what you’re missing, to enhance your garden- these are the hands down best tips for all gardeners: 1. Go it small– starting off small one can get the groove of gardening without having to stress about mass production. However, don’t under-do it or you may not Read More …

Alaska Botanical Garden Info

Hello everyone, Its #GardenIsShe2020, and I just wanted to share some information about The Alaska Botanical Garden, located in Anchorage, Alaska! The Alaska Botanical Garden is a living museum- meaning it showcases gardens and natural Alaskan landscapes in a educational and sustainable way. They grow botanical gardens, showcase ice sculptures and workshops, natural artist opportunities, garden journalism workshops, gardening conferences, membership and donation opportunities, children’s gardening summer camps, distance and in-person learning, botanical trails, horticulture, volunteer opportunities, beginners gardening programs, online shops, weekly guides, and moose and bears awareness, along Read More …

So, We Garden… What does that mean?

Hi everyone! Its #GardenIsShe2020- I just wanted to present this statement, “We garden.” What exactly does this mean? When someone hears the word ‘garden’ or ‘gardener’ what comes to mind? Is it Grandma hoeing her flower garden or the public school planting in the community garden? Stereotypes conflict around gardening- homesteaders, grandmothers, and preservationists, are just a few of the most common. So, what does it mean by definition to garden? The definition of garden is “a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated“, (Merriam-Webster). Thus Read More …