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 …

Early Starts with the AeroGarden

In Alaska, starting plants indoors takes some effort. They need lights.   They need good soil (eventually).  And based on the part of the state you live in; they need to be done indoors for varying lengths of time. Here in Anchorage, we are cautioned to not plant outside until the leaves of the birch trees get to be the size of squirrel’s ears.   The generally works out to be sometime in late May, sometimes a bit earlier, sometimes a bit later. We have not had much luck with Read More …

Relying on Facebook for Gardening Information!

Where I started when I didn’t  know where to start. I always knew I wanted to have a vegetable garden; but when we finally bought a house with some land I didn’t know what to grow, how to grow it, and when to start. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed because I knew most of what I would find online wouldn’t work here in Palmer due to our short summer and very long days. That’s when I turned to Facebook! I was in all sorts of Facebook groups, Read More …

Mindfulness and Gardening: The Benefits of Stopping, Breathing, and Enjoying your Alaska Garden

Mindfulness and Gardening The Benefits of Stopping, Breathing  and Enjoying your Alaska Garden   Gardening has consistently proven to be a healthy, mood-enhancing activity  that begets numerous psychological and physical benefits.   For example, gardening showed significant increases in  quality of life, self-esteem,  life satisfaction,  happiness,  and sense of community, as well as reductions in stress levels, anxiety, and depression.    Additionally, gardening is associated with increased overall levels of physical activity and fitness, increased calorie burn, lower body mass index (BMI), and reduced risk of obesity.   Mindfulness has Read More …

The Dirt on Testing Your Garden Soil

Whether you are planning a new garden or have well established beds, testing your soil can provide valuable information about your garden’s fertility and help you plan additions of amendments to correct for imbalances and deficiencies. Healthy, fertile soil is the foundation of a productive garden. Photo by Author. Soil is comprised of inorganic mineral material, decomposed organic matter, and air space. Healthy soils are home to complex communities of microorganisms, fungi, insects, plant roots, and other organisms. Soil is often described as a “world underground’ because of the complex Read More …

Gardening in Alaska just got cooler with “Cool Plants for Cold Climates” by Brenda C. Adams

Are you new to gardening in Alaska? Are you often overwhelmed by all of the possibilities when trying to select annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs? Do you enjoy spending winter evenings flipping through glossy garden photos for inspiration? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will enjoy Cool Plants for Cold Climates, the latest book by award-winning Alaskan garden designer Brenda C. Adams. Cool Plants for Cold Climates aims to provide you with the tools necessary to create beautiful flower gardens in Alaska. Organized into five concise, Read More …

Confessions of a Gardener

As a gardener, I have many things to confess.  The ideal image of a person bending over neat rows with gloves, apron, hat and trowel, with that odd tiny rake sitting off to the side ready to be used (does anyone ever actually use that thing?) is not me.  Not even close.     Confession number 1: Clothes don’t make the gardener.   I am the person who gets out of their car after work to “quickly’ go check on a plant that has been on my mind, and is Read More …

Seed Starting for Beginners Part 2

Time to light it up! The little plants are pushing their shoulders out of the soil.   Within hours, they will be pushing skyward in a life saving race to find the sun.   It is very important to put the light on them quickly so that they do not get too leggy in their sun worshiping pursuit. I like to purchase the fluorescent lights at the local hardware store.   They are typical “shop lights” and come with a plug.   Unless you are an electrician, be careful not Read More …

Seed starting for Beginners Part 1

Its that time!   It is the time of year – time to appease our need for the smell of soil and the love of nurturing green life. Many people spend a fortune in plants at the box stores and green houses. Good for them, there is nothing wrong with that. However, paying $2-3 per cabbage plant makes me wonder why they don’t just buy cabbage at the grocery store. Not only is it expensive, but missing the seed starting is missing one of the best parts! Watching and nurturing Read More …