A Great Place to Get Free Information

  Free Information One of the first places my husband and I go for gardening information is the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES). Why Alabama and not Alaska?   Well, I gardened for many years in Alaska but have since moved to lovely Alabama.   Each state has an Extension service with brick and mortar offices and websites.   Each Extension service is tailored to the specific climate of that state. We especially like their information because it is based on research and written by specialists. We have confidence that Read More …

Common Pest: Aphids and How to Control Them

In this post, we focus our attention on aphids. You’re likely to cross paths with these insects, so here is some basic information to assist in recognizing them. Two common species include birch aphids and giant conifer aphids. Although an aphid infestation could potentially cause some stunting in your garden, these two particular types of aphids are not believed to be much of a pest. Aphids are best managed with preventative measures, but if necessary, there are strategies for managing them if an infestation is underway. Below, I will describe 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 …

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 …

A Gardener Wears Many Hats: Entomology In The Garden

A Good Defense Someone recently said to me, “A gardener wears many hats.”   I thought of this when I was doing some reading for a quiz for the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course.   A good defense against pests is to learn as much as you can about all insects, harmful and beneficial alike.   This calls for our entomology hats! Getting to Know Bugs Did you know female aphids give live birth to pregnant females?   This is how you can end up with a real problem before Read More …

Root Maggots–Brassicas’ worst enemy!

I live in Ketchikan, Alaska where I garden intensively all over my yard with mostly fruits, and vegetables. This is my second season gardening on my property and it has been a bountiful year so far with garlic, onions, potato’s, lettuce, spinach, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and gooseberries–to name a few. I love watching the garden evolve and grow over the spring and summer–how bare soil can grow into such lush, delicious greens that fill up your belly. As things grow, so do pests and diseases along with other small problems Read More …

Making a Bee Friendly Garden in Alaska

Insects are nature’s pollinators. As a gardener there are things we can do to encourage bee populations and visitation. There’s no reason not to encourage bees to visit your garden. Not only do they improve the health and productivity of your plants and vegetables, they are fascinating to watch, fun to look at, and a part of nature. You can encourage bees to visit your garden in a variety of ways–planting bee friendly plants, using bee friendly insect control, and even providing water and a resting area for weary workers! Read More …

Bees are cool…but in my garden?

I was not ready for a garden this season. My life is in a state of transition and I am without gardening space of my own. In spite of that, when some generous friends offered up the use of a lovely, but long neglected, overgrown raised bed near where I live, the longing to work the soil and grow things to feed my small family overrode my uncertainty. In early June–late to start weeding and prepping garden space even by Alaska standards–I began. After a busy weekend of pulling weeds Read More …

Savage Gardening: Keeping Carnivorous Plants Alive

Almost every time I go to Lowe’s I see Venus fly traps or pitcher plants for sale. Last week a colleague asked about mine–mainly how do I keep them  alive? His son had convinced him to let him bring one home. Within weeks, the leaves were turning black, and no new leaves were forming. Unfortunately, other symptoms, such as rotting leaves, didn’t match those of a plant going into dormancy. I have been raising  carnivorous plants  for a few years now so after trial, error, and lots of  research, I Read More …