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 …

Sprouting Hearts: Instilling a love for gardening in foster kids in Wasilla Alaska

Twenty years ago I would have laughed at you if you said I’d be that lady standing in the middle of a garden with my sun hat, bending over and pulling weeds. Twenty years ago I was in high school, living in my 5th foster home, doing very well. I was in a stable environment, surrounded by an amazing network of people for the first time in a long time. Gardening wasn’t something I was familiar with–I had farming experience (bottle feeding calves and changing pipe) but nothing to really Read More …

3R Potatoes or… What Do You Do When the Kitchen Gives You a Case of Sprouting Potatoes?

I love trying new things and learning. More importantly, I love learning alongside my students.  This was my second year of teaching in Nenana.  I teach Life Skills and Art in grades 9-12 during the day and after school I run our 21st Century Community Learning Center where we have 4H, Art, Science, Homework, and Robotics clubs along with a few other programs.  During the after school programs, I get the opportunity to work with students in grades K-12. During both 4H and Life Skills, we cover nutrition and growing Read More …

Hands Up for More Veggies

FOOD FOR THOUGHT         As I look back I smile at the memory and the expression of enjoyment  on the faces of the young students  and their raised hands  as I  asked if they  wished for  more. They wanted more vegetables, more dishes created with vegetables and to grow more vegetables. I am a teachers aide at our local K-12 rural school, a parent of  three and an active volunteer in our community.   A few years  ago I was hired as a community food coordinator. Our Read More …

Gardening in the Classroom

LEARNING FROM THE GROUND UP   Some of the best gardeners are children. They bring a curiosity and excitement unmatched by the grown garden enthusiast. Most schools have started gardening and composting programs allowing students hands on experience. I work for an after school program called Rally in Juneau, Alaska. One of Rally’s sites is at Harborview elementary and lucky for us they have gardening beds and a composting site on the school grounds. Rally has incorporated the gardens in its summer program to help keep them maintained when school Read More …

Sensory Gardens for Children With Special Needs

I am a Teacher’s Assistant in a Life Skills 2 classroom. The majority of our students are on the Autism Spectrum and are non-verbal.   There are many challenges working with our students. I try to make these challenges less stressful by creating positive learning experiences. I have chosen to use indoor container gardening for our sensory garden due to the fact that several of our students are flight risks. Container gardens also make it easier to garden throughout the school year and our students can more easily see the Read More …

Painting with Plants

That’s right! You can make a painting using the plants grown in your garden or found locally where you live. There are several different ways in which to make the paints, however I tend to focus on watercolors because they are quick and simple with beautiful, subtle results. If you’ve dyed fabric or yarn using natural dyes before the process is similar, but since you don’t need as much dye for painting, the process is done on a smaller scale with minimal equipment. I love doing it on my own, Read More …

Grow your garden in Spanish

Date: July 31, 2015 Time: 1-3 hours a week Materials needed: outdoor garden area Student level: Secondary Spanish students intermediate to advanced level Learning Standard: Common Core            Presentational writing Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well’chosen details, and well’ structured event sequences Language Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard grammar and usage when writing or speaking Overview: Plant and grow an outdoor garden to practice tense changes and broaden Spanish vocabulary base. Objectives: By the end of Read More …