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 …

Master Gardener Handbook California Edition Book Review.

Book Review Why would an Alaskan want to read a Master Gardener Handbook written for California? This California Master Gardener Handbook is very  well written.   It is a comprehensive work written by twenty-five different authors who have both vast knowledge and experience in all aspects of how to successfully grow all kinds of plants.   In addition to the authors there are eight collaborators all of whom are experts in their respective fields.   The book was rigorously peer reviewed and completely scrutinized.   This book was an enormous Read More …

Forging Friendships: Review of Jessica Walliser’s Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden

Have you every wondered if that unknown insect scuttling around in your garden is a threat to your carefully nurtured plants? Or how to keep ladybugs in your garden and decimate the aphids that cropped up in your ornamental flower bed? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by an onslaught of garden pests, but have been reluctant to rely on chemical pesticides? If you’ve needed an answer to any of these questions or have been seeking an introduction to alternative pest control methods, then Jessica Walliser’s Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Read More …

The search for local knowledge: the Homer Garden Club publications

A slow start Last spring I moved to the Homer area with my family. It was late June by the time I got a chance to start a garden. I knew I was going to have a late start, but I have always had a garden, and I knew I could grow something in what was left of the season. I knew the season was going to be short, so I decided to focus my efforts in the greenhouse. I planted some beans and squash in six inch deep boxes, Read More …

Interior Gardeners: Like Ducks to Water

Gardening seems to come as naturally to residents of Alaska’s Heartland as, well, as ducks take to water. After the long snowy winter, the bright spring days and luminescent nights of late April and early May inspire many of us to start seedlings on the windowsill and to clean up the garden (raised beds, old wheelbarrows and bathtubs, patio pots and hanging baskets), or whatever else our imagination and resources come up with as Places to Put Plants. The harvest may be small or it may be bountiful, it may Read More …

Book Review: “Alaska Gardening Guide Volume 1” by Ann D. Roberts

When we bought our first house in Fairbanks nearly 20 years ago, I wanted to have a garden but really had no idea what would grow successfully, or how to grow vegetables in our climate. I was moving from the Pacific Northwest and was looking for information specific to growing in the Interior, at a time when accessing information on the Internet was not as easy as today, and was still dial-up at the time. Somewhere in town I picked up the  Alaska Gardening Guide, Volume 1, Alaska Vegetables for Read More …

Gorgeous Inspiration for Home Gardeners and Farmer Florists

Overview The book Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden  is an inspirational book for anyone wanting to cultivate a beautiful garden full of flowers for arranging. Author Erin Benzakein along with photographer Julie Chai have filled this 300 page resource with beautiful photos and hard won growing advice on more than 175 flower varieties plus planning tips for all four seasons. The setting for the book is a Mt. Vernon, Washington farm that is only two acres in size. Erin and her husband Chris have created a small scale, high intensity Read More …

Inspiration from the Ambushing Bush

You never know when a bush is going to attack you when walking up my front stairs. There have been many mornings where I am running late for work and have to wrestle my way around a   web of branches and leaves from a large bush that is intended to welcome you to the home. Instead of welcoming you, it often feels like it is trying to suck you into the plant itself so that you are entangled and a part of the bush forever. A Book for Beginners Read More …

Love Cloves? Read Growing Great Garlic

“It  is not a ‘garlic gospel,’ nor it is another garlic cookbook. It does answer most of the questions that no one could answer for me fifteen years ago when I began to grow garlic.’ -Ron L Engeland, Growing Great Garlic (p. xi) Engeland is a content expert as a “founding farmer’ at Filaree Garlic Farm in North-Central Washington State. This book, published in 1991, seeks to educate organic gardeners and small famers about best practices in garlic production. Although this is a broad goal and the content often leans Read More …