Southcentral Gardening Thoughts Amid COVID-19 Reopening

As the zombie apocalypse known as COVID-19 recedes into a not so distant and unpleasant memory, we make our way into spring and early summer.   This year, I am armed with a modified toolkit due to the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course last fall.   So, how have things gone so far? Goals I had several goals this spring in no particular order.   These include Prune gooseberries, blueberries, and birch trees in the yard See if I can recover growable yacon from corms stored over the winter Change Read More …

Vermiculture With the Worm Factory 360

One of the science projects I’ve managed to get myself into is vermiculture. Using a Worm Factory 360 in my heated garage, my worms manufacture compost throughout the winter for my spring starts.   It has nothing to do with wanting to recycle, for environmental reasons.   Rather, I simply do it to have enough compost / mulch in the house to for starts in the spring.   Like I said, an experiment. After a little bit of research, I decided that the Worm Factory 360, a rotating set of Read More …

Gooseberries – Paying Attention to Pruning

This post is more or less an object lesson in pruning (or the lack thereof). In some ways, a cautionary tale, as I have some (a bunch) work to do after breakup next spring. I got interested in gooseberries perhaps a decade ago, once again based on Jeff Lowenfels former radio show. We ordered four of them that seemed to be robust in the gardens of south Anchorage from a nursery in the Lower 48 and put them into the garden–two Hinnomaki Red and two Hinnomaki Yellow gooseberries. The Alaska Read More …

Crop Rotation

Table of content What is crop rotation? What are the benefits of crop rotation? An example crop rotation schedule How to make your own crop rotation plan What is crop rotation? Crop rotation is when each year a different plant is grown in a spot, for example if a farmer were to grow wheat in a field one year and field peas and a field the next year. What are benefits of crop rotation? Rotating crops from one year to the next between different varieties increases yields by 10% to Read More …

How to cultivate and harvest summer and winter squash in Southcentral Alaska

Table of content Where to grow Greenhouse and hoop house bed preparation Garden bed preparation How to grow Starting seedlings Planting Maintaining plants How to harvest Storage Seed saving Where to grow If a you have greenhouse or hoop house that is best for winter squash. If you do not have a greenhouse or hoop house a garden bed with rich well drained soil and full sun will have to do for winter squash, and is preferable for summer squash. It is best if the greenhouse, hoop house, or garden 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 …

Why I Enrolled In The Master Gardener Online Course – And Why You Should,Too.

Why Did I Enroll? I’m a retired and very successful farmer, yet I still took the Master Gardener Course Online. And do you know what?   It was well worth my time. Yes, I already knew a lot about subjects such as edaphology, plant biology, agronomy and entomology; however, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest developments. And the Master Gardener Course got me up to speed on some important aspects of gardening/farming. For example, how to access weather data online. The course has some really amazing Read More …

How To Protect Your Garden From Pests

Why Build A Fence? Mother nature can be a ruthless destroyer of a garden. As gardeners, we have to make every effort to properly choose the right location, prepare garden soil, prep the beds, sow, water, weed and shield plants from frost. And then there are the pests we have to contend with. The pests want to reap what we’ve sown; therefore, measures have to be taken to ensure that all of our planning and hard work isn’t ruined by nature — including the wind. Although the wind isn’t classified Read More …

What Basic Hand Tools And Supplies Do I Need To Start A Garden?

You Can Do A Lot With A Little. It doesn’t take much to get started. Firstly, we need just a few basic hand tools and lots of back and elbow grease. What do we need? A garden fork to turn and break up the soil; a shovel to move the soil around; a mattocks to dislodge rocks and cut through roots; a rake to classify and remove unwanted debris and level the beds; and a hoe to cultivate the rows and/or make furrows. We’ll also need some stakes, string, a Read More …