Perilla (shiso)-bring out the flavor of sushi

What is the Perilla (Shiso)? Perilla is a traditional Japanese herb with refreshing, aromatic, green-frilled leaves. It is called Shiso in Japanese. The plant has tender, flat and soft-textured leaves that are very popular for using in Sushi. It is also known as beefsteak plant. Perilla is a bushing plant. It is also grown as sprouts or micro-greens. As the plant matures, you can pinch off leaves for use which promotes branching and leaf production. I am interested in Asian vegetables and herbs. Every year I grow this plant from Read More …

Before and After : 2 quick season extension tips

My quest for extending the growing season began after my move to Alaska in 2001. Raised in the Midwest I grew up eating tomatoes on the vine, toasted tomato sandwiches, and  canning bushels of tomatoes. After all, tomatoes are SO easy to grow and very plentiful — right?   Well, I see the smile on your knowing faces because after I moved to Alaska it took me nearly a decade to taste my first fresh tomatoes from the vine, and mind you it was not a plentiful bounty. A few Read More …

Starting Seeds in Sprouting Jars

Every spring, when I am lucky enough to be able to garden, it’s a  race against time to get seeds or starts in the ground at the earliest possible moment, that is, as soon as the soil is dry enough and it is late enough to escape losing everything to a hard frost.  Additionally, the garden needs to be ready to plant.  Outside plots, beds and buckets need to be prepared.  In a perfect world, it would  be like a symphony with every task perfectly organized and timed to be Read More …

Gardening in the Snow, sometimes.

In April, when the average temperature hovers around 20 above, and the snow glistens in the 12 hour sunlight, arctic gardeners like to start their seeds.   Throughout the year, we wash out yogurt containers, sour cream and cottage cheese containers save egg cartons, paper towel tubes, and even those clear plastic takeout containers.   We start seeds because the nearest greenhouse is 600 air miles away and we can’t afford to wait for the weather. While the kids are ice fishing, my husband and I set up two folding Read More …

Growing your Scientific Method Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Title: Grow your scientific method. Concept / Topic To Teach: The Scientific method Standards Addressed:     The student demonstrates an understanding of the processes of science by [8] SA1.1 asking questions, predicting, observing, describing, measuring, classifying, making generalizations, inferring, and communicating* [8] SA1.2 collaborating to design and conduct repeatable investigations, in order to record, analyze (i.e., range, mean, median, mode), interpret data, and present findings (L)*   General Goal(s): The student will be able to design, carry out, a critique a scientific experiment. Specific Objectives: The student Read More …

Importance of hardening off plants and soil testing prior to planting

By Natalie Jo Cossette, an Alaska Master Gardener. The month of May rolled around and I was chomping at the bit to get into the garden. I tried to satisfy my urges with starting seeds in the garage under lights but it wasn’t enough. The beautiful weather called to me and I knew better than to put my plants outside before the last weekend in May. But the raised bed I’d constructed last year was ready and I hadn’t been able to have a garden for four seasons, so I Read More …

Starting an Alaskan Garden

by Evan Sterling, An Alaska Master Gardener in Ester, Alaska   Background Well, this is my very first posting on the Alaska Master Gardener blog, but I certainly hope it won’t be my last. I’m a newly minted Master Gardener working on completing my volunteer hours, and to tell you the truth, I do not feel like much of a “Master!’ Yet, anyway. I’m 28, almost 29, and just starting out with my partner, Shannon, on our own piece of land in Ester, Alaska. We don’t have any plans of Read More …

Easy Window Sill Gardening in Alaska

by Laura Emerson, An Alaska Master Gardener With a minimal investment of time, space, and money, beginning gardeners can enjoy rapid results with a window sill garden. On my 4 inch wide window sills of two, four foot (double paned) windows that face south, I was able to fit six plastic six- pack planters each (twelve packs total, 72 plant holes). Once the first seeds sprouted, I added two tables in front of each window to hold deeper pots for the biggest plants while reusing the six-packs for new seeds. Read More …

What Do Plants Need to Grow?

A Lesson Plan for Gardening in the Classroom in Alaska, by Cheryl Illg, An Alaska Master Gardener Subject Area: Writing/Reading/Math Grade Level: K-3 Ideal season for lesson: Spring Time needed to facilitate lesson: 1 hour to plant seeds and make first observation. Then there will be several weeks of observation, measurements and documentation. The young surviving plants may then be transplanted outdoors into a garden or planter box to grow for the summer once there is no more chance of frost. Usually June 1st in the south and central parts Read More …