A Reservoir of Information for Urban Farmers: A General Analysis of Upstart University

Intro: Upstart University Powered by Plenty Of all the searching for a reservoir of information that is relevant to large-scale vertical hydroponic and aquaponic farms, there is only one source that floats on top. Upstart University is an online college that is semi-specific of ZipGrow and Deep Water Culture systems that are primarily set up to empower those in growing food systems in all areas. The ZipFarm is a vertical water working system that Dr. Nate Storey with Bright AgroTech designed to use less space and less energy compared to Read More …

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 …

Chickweed. . . To kill or not to kill

This post started with my delight at the opportunity to share my successes of eliminating Stellaria media (chickweed) from my garden. I heard frustrated gardeners curse chickweed long before I experienced it for myself. Due to stories of monstrous chickweed invasions, this summer I was completely horrified to discover it near my garden, and fearful of an impending takeover. Faced with a pest, I turned to the internet where, it turns out, there are a variety of ways to confront chickweed. I will share with you my personal success, but Read More …

Slaying in slug city: Struggles of an Alaskan gardener.

You have finally found the time to breakaway from everything else and step into your little oasis. Today you’ve allotted 1/2 hour to weed, trim and admire. You bend down to examine a young kale. To your astonishment, it’s covered in holes. Anger starts to boil inside you. You scan the ground around the plant and there’s the culprit, with slime trail in its wake. SLUGS. Gross, disgusting, aggravating to the nth degree, slugs. I’ve spent countless hours walking around my garden with a cup full of bleach, plucking and Read More …

Hare today, Gone tomorrow: Grafting to Replace Apple Trees Decimated by Hares.

Hare damaged apple tree

The hare population seems to be booming in Fairbanks. This winter, some hares were able to walk right over the fences and completely girdle some fruit trees by eating the bark   Girdling happens when the phloem, the inner most layer of the bark, is removed from the tree. The job of the phloem is to conduct materials created in the leaves (for example, sugar) down to the roots of the tree.   Over time, girdling results in the death of the parts of the tree above which the bark 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 …