Alaska Educators Guide to Hydroponically Growing, Harvesting, and Learning about Food and Plants in the Classroom

NFT Hydroponics setup growing lettuce

This guide is for Alaska educators to incorporate hydroponics into your classroom. There are five sections included in this guide, and they are presented in order,  with the beginning sections giving you what you need to know/do first to get started,  following with a section on lesson plans to help you teach important aspects of growing  plants. There are many resources out there to help with this process, and this guide  concludes with some of those resources. Using hydroponics in the classroom is a wonderful way to connect students to Read More …

Last Child in the Woods to First Child in the Garden

Sometime ago, I read the book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv.   I was concerned children were growing up indoors, eyes focused on a screen, and not engaging in activities that would inspire an interest and curiosity in the outdoor world.   This book was a great resource regarding the importance of outdoor time on children. What I did not know until recently is that the website for this book also has a resource guide supplement that includes activities, books Read More …

Growing an Indoor Edible Garden

When we moved into our house in October, I started itching to grow something. This is the first time I’ve owned my own little part of the earth, and that is about as tangible as life gets for a gardener. The weather was turning colder, and everyone around us was settling in for winter. Cutting wood is a more appropriate fall time activity in Alaska, or so my husband tells me, but I decided I was going to grow food in our tiny cabin. So, I did what I do Read More …

Plant Starts for Gifts

Plant Start for Gifts In the spring when it is time to start plants indoors to be transplanted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed is an ideal time to introduce younger students to seeds and plant growth. Students can make and decorate starting pots from toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls that have been cut in thirds. These can be easily decorated using makers or paints, water proof if possible. The plants will need to be started four to six weeks before they are ready to go Read More …

Seeds and Sprouts Lesson Plan K-3

Seeds and Sprouts Lesson Plan Sprouts are an easy to grow food source that is an inexpensive and simple way to provide fresh greens and their nutrients in the winter months or all year round. Growing sprouts can also be used to help students understand how plants are propagated from seeds, the structure of plants and seeds, and the diversity of flavors in different plant parts.   Subject Areas: Science/Health Grade Level: K-3rd Season: All Season/Seeds Time Required: One day without growing sprouts One week with growing sprouts Materials: For Read More …

Modern Farmsteading: Getting Started

By Sarah Richards After years of daydreaming about having a farm of our own, the day is finally upon us. Toting a little log cabin, our partially cleared acre is surrounded by the hushed boreal forest. We call it Alaska Tiny Farm. My husband and I live here with our daughters (ages seven and five), two dogs, sixteen chickens, a rabbit, and two thousand red wiggler worms. Staking its claim off a quiet dirt road on the edge of the eastern Alaska Range, our new home is both remote and Read More …

Sometimes we just need a little inspiration…

Years ago, I was a late comer to a marvelous children’s book called The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote A Little Princess, which was made into a movie in the 30’s starring Shirley Temple. Unfortunately, most film adaptations of The Secret Garden are nowhere near as magical as the book. The book starts out in late winter with the arrival of the young Mary Lennox to a relative’s (an uncle) manor on the English moors. Her entire family has just died while in India. However, Mary Read More …

Baby Powder Bug Repellent

Years ago I was an estate gardener on the Texas Gulf Coast, in Houston Texas to be exact. I worked on a property that was near a slow-moving, mosquito-generating body of water called Buffalo Bayou. Houston is not called “the Bayou City” for nothing, there are bayous everywhere and when it rains, the bayous flood and trap people in their neighborhoods until everything drains away. As a result of all this water, Houston, like Alaska, is inundated with mosquitoes and gnats, and we drive around with bug spray in our Read More …

See Weeds? Try Seaweed!

THE COMPLETE PACKAGE My neighbor has been saying for years that we should try seaweed in our garden.  I brushed it off until a recent beach walk had me looking at the shoreside debris in a different light.  The sea grass snaked along the coastline in rows that reminded me of hay drying in the fields right before the baler came to scoop it up.  I did a little online research first and then just felt silly for living and gardening here for years and never using it!    It’s Read More …