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 …

Gooseberries – Paying Attention to Pruning

This post is more or less an object lesson in pruning (or the lack thereof). In some ways, a cautionary tale, as I have some (a bunch) work to do after breakup next spring. I got interested in gooseberries perhaps a decade ago, once again based on Jeff Lowenfels former radio show. We ordered four of them that seemed to be robust in the gardens of south Anchorage from a nursery in the Lower 48 and put them into the garden–two Hinnomaki Red and two Hinnomaki Yellow gooseberries. The Alaska Read More …

Raspberry Muffins – A Battle for Berries

  Fresh Alaskan berries are a hot commodity in my house, and if you don’t squirrel away your portion of the berries as soon as you get home from picking you’re likely to find that someone has eaten your portion before you know it! Luckily, after years of bickering over disappearing berries, and countless disagreements about what to use our prized frozen cache of berries on in the winter months, we came across  Todd’s recipe for Blueberry Swirl Muffins  and collectively fell in love with how well the recipe paired Read More …

Mom’s Raspberry Rhubarb Pie

The first recipe that comes to mind is the raspberry rhubarb pie that I make with Mom’s pastry. So I just HAVE to include the pie crust recipe too. Mom used to make this recipe up often so that she had several pie crust “balls” in the freezer, ready for any occasion. Mom’s raspberry rhubarb pie was a favorite at the church potlucks and I used to excuse myself as I cut in line just to get a small piece before it was all gone. I believe that I learned Read More …

Rose Hip Syrup To Cure Your Winter Woes

As summer quickly turns into fall,  the wild roses shed their petals in exchange for the beautiful cherry fruits called rose hips. The sight of rose hips blanketing the bushes is as sure a sign as the fireweed turning to fluff that fall is on it’s way. I know many people who like to pick  rose hips as a vitamin C laden snack  on late fall hikes, or to  dry and preserve them  for teas. That was  the plan one late summer as I filled gallon Ziploc bags full of Read More …

Starting bare root strawberries

This summer I received 2500 bare root strawberry starts. With that, one must ask themselves what to do with that amount of starts and how to approach what to do with them all. These starts in particular come from a commercial variety called ‘Tribute’. This variety is particularly desirable because of the large yields of sweet delicious berries and are hardy enough to survive cold wet winters.This hybrid strawberry was developed by the University of Maryland for large crops with good disease tolerance.   I began by pulling all the Read More …

Viburnum Edule, A “Berry” Nice Garden Shrub

Highbush Cranberries “Highbush Cranberries” is a publication from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service (CES), to which I have been referring on an annual basis for a couple of decades. The current version, revised in 2013, by Roxie Rodgers Dinstel (Extension Faculty) and Marci Johnson (Extension Program Assistant) is sitting in front of me as I blog. I have temporarily misplaced the berry-stained original that my mother handed down to me, but it will resurface, most likely stuck to another spot-on CES publication. The Stench Highbush cranberry is Read More …

Berries of Northwest Alaska

As the sun begins to set in August, and us “northerners” finally experience some darkness, the berries of northwest Alaska begin to flourish.   The sun sets for about 5 hours now, which is both good and bad.   Good, because the berries we gather near the coast are able to turn on the afterburners, so to speak, in terms of growing.   They soak up the sun during the day, and rest at night, similar to those of us who are busy all summer long.   Bad, because it Read More …

High Bush Cranberries

High bush cranberries are harder to make use of than their low bush cousins. They have a pit inside of them that makes them less appealing to throw in a batch of muffins or over the morning granola and are, at least to my tastebuds, tarter. Despite these limitations they are all over our neighborhood. Most people won’t reveal their super secret berry picking spots, but for high bush cranberries you can walk along many power-line cuts in Fairbanks for easy access to prime berry picking. In just under 30 Read More …