Book Review: “Alaska Gardening Guide Volume 1” by Ann D. Roberts

When we bought our first house in Fairbanks nearly 20 years ago, I wanted to have a garden but really had no idea what would grow successfully, or how to grow vegetables in our climate. I was moving from the Pacific Northwest and was looking for information specific to growing in the Interior, at a time when accessing information on the Internet was not as easy as today, and was still dial-up at the time. Somewhere in town I picked up the  Alaska Gardening Guide, Volume 1, Alaska Vegetables for Read More …

Inspiration from the Ambushing Bush

You never know when a bush is going to attack you when walking up my front stairs. There have been many mornings where I am running late for work and have to wrestle my way around a   web of branches and leaves from a large bush that is intended to welcome you to the home. Instead of welcoming you, it often feels like it is trying to suck you into the plant itself so that you are entangled and a part of the bush forever. A Book for Beginners Read More …

Mindfulness and Gardening: The Benefits of Stopping, Breathing, and Enjoying your Alaska Garden

Mindfulness and Gardening The Benefits of Stopping, Breathing  and Enjoying your Alaska Garden   Gardening has consistently proven to be a healthy, mood-enhancing activity  that begets numerous psychological and physical benefits.   For example, gardening showed significant increases in  quality of life, self-esteem,  life satisfaction,  happiness,  and sense of community, as well as reductions in stress levels, anxiety, and depression.    Additionally, gardening is associated with increased overall levels of physical activity and fitness, increased calorie burn, lower body mass index (BMI), and reduced risk of obesity.   Mindfulness has Read More …

The Dirt on Testing Your Garden Soil

  Whether you are planning a new garden or have well established beds, testing your soil can provide valuable information about your garden’s fertility and help you plan additions of amendments to correct for imbalances and deficiencies. Healthy, fertile soil is the foundation of a productive garden. Photo by Author. Soil is comprised of inorganic mineral material, decomposed organic matter, and air space. Healthy soils are home to complex communities of microorganisms, fungi, insects, plant roots, and other organisms. Soil is often described as a “world underground’ because of the Read More …

Heating it up: Compost Heated Greenhouses

Most Alaskan gardeners are creative out of necessity. With a growing season made up of unique light patterns, temperature fluctuations and abbreviated season lengths, gardeners learn to adapt. Gardeners who want to continue growing into the winter months have additional challenges. There is a great deal of information available about season extenders – nothing compares to fresh greens even in the dead of winter. Those who want to harvest their own fresh produce year-round often turn to greenhouses as a solution. However, heating in greenhouses can be a significant expense 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 …

Spice Up Your Garden with Nasturtiums

If you are looking for a striking annual that flourishes in Alaska and doubles as a culinary delight, you may consider giving nasturtiums a try. By following a few simple tips, these flowers are a fun and easy addition to containers and garden beds, and are a hit with adults and children alike. Nasturtiums (genus Tropaeolum), have lush foliage, vibrant flowers, a pleasant fragrance, and are attractive to garden pollinators. However, it is their flavor that really makes them stand out in the crowded world of Alaskan annuals. In fact, Read More …

Modern Farmsteading: Getting Started

By Sarah Richards After years of daydreaming about having a farm of our own, the day is finally upon us. Toting a little log cabin, our partially cleared acre is surrounded by the hushed boreal forest. We call it Alaska Tiny Farm. My husband and I live here with our daughters (ages seven and five), two dogs, sixteen chickens, a rabbit, and two thousand red wiggler worms. Staking its claim off a quiet dirt road on the edge of the eastern Alaska Range, our new home is both remote and Read More …

Gardening in Alaska just got cooler with “Cool Plants for Cold Climates” by Brenda C. Adams

Are you new to gardening in Alaska? Are you often overwhelmed by all of the possibilities when trying to select annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs? Do you enjoy spending winter evenings flipping through glossy garden photos for inspiration? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will enjoy Cool Plants for Cold Climates, the latest book by award-winning Alaskan garden designer Brenda C. Adams. Cool Plants for Cold Climates aims to provide you with the tools necessary to create beautiful flower gardens in Alaska. Organized into five concise, Read More …