The Upcycled Garden

Beds Filled With Soil & Topped With Compost

Many people love the joys that come with gardening.  Are you one of them?  Think about how many gardens you’ve seen in your life and what they looked like.  A little four foot by four-foot box, a 2000 square foot in ground garden with perfectly spaced rows, hydroponic setups, or raised beds perfectly lined up it looks like a surveyor laid out the beds.  Any way you look at it, people build their gardens to their satisfaction and that’s what makes every garden out there the right design.  If it Read More …

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 …

Crop Rotation in Raised Beds

One of the fallouts from the Alaska Master Gardener Online course has been an appreciation of crop rotation, yet another thing I haven’t been doing.   This is a bit of a planning / thought piece on how to set up a workable system.   What better time to do this than in the dead of winter? Raised Beds Many years ago, I constructed three raised beds in the lowest, wettest part of the yard, affectionately referred to as ‘the swamp’.   The goal was to productively use this part Read More …

Starting bare root strawberries

This summer I received 2500 bare root strawberry starts. With that, one must ask themselves what to do with that amount of starts and how to approach what to do with them all. These starts in particular come from a commercial variety called ‘Tribute’. This variety is particularly desirable because of the large yields of sweet delicious berries and are hardy enough to survive cold wet winters.This hybrid strawberry was developed by the University of Maryland for large crops with good disease tolerance.   I began by pulling all the Read More …

Our First Year Gardening, Mistakes and Accomplishments

My wife and I purchased our first home in August of 2016 located in Fairbanks, Alaska. The property included 10 acres of land. Most of the land is treed but the backyard area included a cleared space that is large enough for a garden. This was our first opportunity to create our own organic garden. We had an open canvas to create the garden that we dreamed of having for years. The potential was very high, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that building our dream garden Read More …

When to Harvest in a Typical Southeast Alaskan Garden

Harvest Time! The last few months have been chalked full of preparation, planting, and weeding and now it is time to harvest the rewards. New gardeners can find it difficult to determine when exactly to harvest each vegetable at the peak of freshness. So I have done some of the research for you and have compiled a list of fifteen vegetables to help you get the most of each vegetable found in a typical Southeast Alaskan garden. Also to make it easier the list is in alphabetical order. 1. Asparagus Read More …

Easy Blanching for Winter Feasting

The Wonders of Food Preservation   As delicious as fresh produce straight from the garden can be, most of the time we hobby gardeners have too much to eat all at once, and we must choose what to do with the extra! Some give their surplus garden bounty away. The other day, a co-worker of mine offered to buy my extras from me. But the best choice in my mind is to preserve them for winter eating! There is nothing like the satisfaction of knowing I have a freezer full Read More …

From Rubbish To Radishes

Growing up in rural Missouri, I never imagined myself ever living in rural Alaska and though there are plenty of differences, my childhood experiences have certainly prepared me for, even made me well-suited to, living off the Alaska road system.  I am the product of a Depression-era father and an East German Communist escapee mother which made for an interesting combination of conservatism and organic lifestyle that many long for these days.  We reduced, reused and recycled out of necessity before it came into fashion and we were taught it 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 …