The Art of Discovering Plants

The good, the bad, and the weedy How can I fertilize my soil naturally without using animal waste? What native plants will grow together and compliment each other? How can I attract bees?  That looks like a weed – can I eat it? In Discovering Wild Plants by Janice Schofield, I found not only the answers to these questions, but so much more.  Open the book’s pages (there are no online resources associated with this book) and find  instructions on how to make herbal remedies and recipes that make your Read More …

Not All Weeds Are the Same

By:   Troy Weiss, Alaska Master Gardening Student, UAF On-Line, Fall 2017 Description I enjoy gardening because I get satisfaction in watching things grow after I plant it.   However, quite often the weeds grow much faster and thicker than my desired plants.   In my garden, some common weeds include:   1) horse tail, 2) chickweed, 3) fireweed, 4) shepherds purse, and 5) pineapple weed. This blog shares research and some management tips associated with common weeds found in my Anchorage garden (Southcentral Alaska). This blog covers the common 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 …

Weeds can be Wonderful

Introduction: For this post, I wanted to give a different perspective on weeds compared to most other gardeners I hear from.   Many of the classic ‘weeds’   that are dubbed lawn and garden pests such as dandelions, clover, and yarrow might not be as bad as some people think, though this is subject to what you are trying to do with your land.   We actually let these run rampant in our yard (which I suppose we are lucky to have extra space that we are trying to make Read More …

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em Join ‘Em

Our house was built in 1991. A cute little cottage on five beautifully wooded acres in the foothills of Lazy Mt. According to our neighbors, the original owners had landscaped the yard beautifully. I could see some of the remnants of flowers and berries mixed in with 10+ years of neglect. I have been battling weeds and tree shoots since we moved in! While doing research on how to naturally eradicate these weeds, I kept running across articles suggesting there are many of these weeds that can be used for Read More …

Hunting the Hawk(weed)

Upon purchasing our land, our terra-knowledgeable neighbor informed us that he has Hieracium aurantiacum, aka Orange Hawkweed, growing on his property so it’s likely we do as well.   Not knowing what Hieracium aurantiacum was, I wasn’t sure if I should be excited, relieved, or worried.   I promptly went home, searched the internet, and found a deep orange flower that I thought would add color to our landscape.   I opted for excited. After further reading, I learned that Orange Hawkweed has secured a spot on Alaska’s Invasive Species Read More …

Learning to Love Chickweed

Like many Alaskans I have spent countless summers struggling with chickweed in my garden and lawn. I painstakingly remove plant after plant until I am feeling smug about myself. Then I see “just one more plant’ and I delve back in again. It’s almost to the point of needing a support group. This year I decided to try a little reverse psychology on myself and research my nemesis — know thy enemy so to speak — just to see if we could all get along. Common Chickweed ‘s Latin name Read More …

Invasive Plants of Alaska

A Lesson Plan for Gardening the Classroom in Alaska, by Heidi Doudna, an Alaska Master Gardener Goal and outcomes:        Students will be able to list at least 6 noxious weeds commonly found in Interior Alaska Students will identify and collect sample edible noxious weeds Students will demonstrate recognition by creating booklets and matching samples found Subject Area: Science Grade Levels: 4-6Ideal season for lesson: Summer Time to complete lesson: 1 hour Materials Required: Invasive Plants Profiles Don’t Plant a Problem Fairbanks Invasive Weed Rack Cards Pencil on strings attached to Read More …

In Defense of Weeds

by Laura Emerson, an Alaskan Master Gardener    Chickweed overtakes this garden. Photo by Heidi Rader. Weeds get a bad rap.  But for the observant gardener, weeds can be a wonderful resource.     Many offer clues to the condition of the soil before you buy that expensive plant that will not do well where you want it.     Many deliver minerals to the vicinity of their growth or to your compost pile or to your pets and livestock or to you, if you choose to eat them.    Many have Read More …