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 …

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 …

A Passion For Growing Potatoes in Alaska

Consider the humble potato. It’s not much to look at, yet millions of people have relied on it as a significant food source for thousands of years. One only has to look at Ireland to see the importance of the potato: In 1845, when a fungus-like infestation decimated the potato crop there, nearly a million people starved, and another million were forced to emigrate to escape starvation. Scholars believe the potato originated in the Andes Mountains of South America, and an estimated 5,000 varieties of potato now exist worldwide. Today, Read More …

The Upcycled Garden

Beds Filled With Soil & Topped With Compost

Many people love the joys that come with gardening.  Are you one of them?  Think about how many gardens you’ve seen in your life and what they looked like.  A little four foot by four-foot box, a 2000 square foot in ground garden with perfectly spaced rows, hydroponic setups, or raised beds perfectly lined up it looks like a surveyor laid out the beds.  Any way you look at it, people build their gardens to their satisfaction and that’s what makes every garden out there the right design.  If it Read More …

Putting into Practice What I learned in the Alaska Master Gardener Online Class–What Worked and What Didn’t?

This piece will hopefully capture a bit of how the 2020 summer gardening season went.  This time around, we went into the season armed with information from the Master Gardener Course taken online at UAF in 2019.  What good is new knowledge if you don’t use it?  Better yet, if you try something new, it is always useful to actually observe and write down what you did and how it worked out. As of today, the only thing still in the ground here in Anchorage is a 37-gallon trash can Read More …