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 …

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 …

The Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, Alaska – A gift for the senses

Pollinator on Primula

The Jensen-Olson Arboretum  in Juneau, Alaska A Gift For The Senses It is a gorgeous day in Southeast Alaska and I am heading to The Jensen-Olson Arboretum for some much needed “garden therapy.’   I drive on Glacier Highway past mile marker 23 and make a left onto the small parking lot, get out of the car, take a few steps and WHOA!– I am greeted by an explosion of fragrances, textures, flavors, and colors bursting out of 1.5 acres of carefully tended, pure waterfront magic.   I stop, breathe Read More …

Book Review: Perennial Gardening “Easy to Follow Guide, Plant once and enjoy your plants, flowers, shrubbery, and vegetables forever’ — Susan Hollister

I purchased and read this book for the assignment from Alaska UAF Master Gardening class.   It is applicable to my garden where I try to only plant perennials; and hopefully ones that are low maintenance.   The book will be a reference for me in the future. The author covers all types of perennials: vegetables, blooming perennials, grasses, shrubs, bulbs and rhizomes, fruits and berries, and landscaping with perennials.   What I liked about the book is the detail description of the plant characteristics, what type of locations they Read More …

Hare today, Gone tomorrow: Grafting to Replace Apple Trees Decimated by Hares.

Hare damaged apple tree

The hare population seems to be booming in Fairbanks. This winter, some hares were able to walk right over the fences and completely girdle some fruit trees by eating the bark   Girdling happens when the phloem, the inner most layer of the bark, is removed from the tree. The job of the phloem is to conduct materials created in the leaves (for example, sugar) down to the roots of the tree.   Over time, girdling results in the death of the parts of the tree above which the bark Read More …

Mushroom Gardening in Ketchikan

My Mushroom Garden in rain country! My wife and I recently got married June21st. 2015, and bought a house on an open gravel pad in Ketchikan, Alaska. It’s a 3 bedroom 1.5 bath fixer upper but has great potential–something my wife (Amanda) saw when we first took a look at the place. I saw a lot of work! Replacement of windows, siding and remodeling the kitchen was just a start. We took on the challenge and we are loving the place as we see it change from day to day. Read More …

The Great Tomato Fiasco of 2015 or How I Sweltered My Way to Wisdom

2015 In autumn 2014, my partner built us a “sunroom” off the side of our house in Kenai, Alaska. He intended to use it for storage; I intended to fill it with plants come summertime. In the first week of March 2015, I bought indoor seed starting lights and mats and seeded dozens of plants indoors–including about 30 tomato plants in five varieties. I had Romas, Tumbling Toms, Sub-Arctic 25s, and a couple more varieties I can’t recall now. As it turns out, I didn’t have the space for 30 Read More …