Why I Enrolled In The Master Gardener Online Course – And Why You Should,Too.

Why Did I Enroll? I’m a retired and very successful farmer, yet I still took the Master Gardener Course Online. And do you know what?   It was well worth my time. Yes, I already knew a lot about subjects such as edaphology, plant biology, agronomy and entomology; however, it’s important to keep up to date on the latest developments. And the Master Gardener Course got me up to speed on some important aspects of gardening/farming. For example, how to access weather data online. The course has some really amazing 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 …

City Girl Gone–How I Became an Alaska Gardener

RAISED BY CITY PEOPLE Raised by Amsterdam Dutch parents in Seattle, I grew up in a landscape surrounded by flowers. My family bought food fresh and in small quantities from the local market, bakeries and butchers. Quality bread, produce, meats and cheeses were a must. My father prepared gourmet meals for a family of six, complete with garnishments. Dinner was a semi-formal family affair. Semi-formal meaning we were expected to use proper table etiquette. We ate as a family around a solid oak table and the conversation was always fun 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 …

Opportunity of a Lifetime: How I Came to be the Manager of a School District Greenhouse in Tok, Alaska

Looking For Direction and Purpose We’ve all heard of people obtaining their dream job, but finding and getting my own seemed a long shot.  Over the course of my adult life thoughts of a dream job often came to mind, especially on those days I dreaded going to work at all, those days I forced myself to get up and show up.   When my co-worker said to my sister-in-law, “She just shows up, does her job, and leaves,” I knew it was time to change the mindset I had Read More …

Worm composting for dummies

The average American tosses about 25% of food and beverages purchased according to a report by the National Resources Defense Council. While this can be cut down by better food planning, recipe selection, and food storage, throwing food in the garbage is sometimes unavoidable. Instead of putting  all of my cauliflower stocks, egg shells, and coffee grounds in the plastic garbage bag I decided to try composting instead. Its the 4th R, reduce, reuse, recycle, and ROT. I limited my choices to homemade aerobic compost or worm compost. Here is 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 …

Taking the Master Gardener Course

By Charmaine Smith & Kristi Acuff, Master Gardeners-to-be! We really “just happened” upon the Master Gardener course.  Yet, when we took it, we found it so full of helpful information that we wanted to spread the word. Charmaine:   Kristi was retiring, and I, Mom Charmaine, was looking for a retirement gift for her.   Someone had suggested the Master Gardening class as a good gift.   So, guess what, we bought her a gift certificate to Bell’s Nursery instead! But in the process of deciding on what to get Read More …