Gardening in the Golden Heart: Fairbanks Climactic Profile

Called the Golden Heart City, Fairbanks is the second largest city in Alaska, and is known for short, sunny summers and long, harsh winters. Gardeners in the Fairbanks area can expect the outdoor growing season to be from early June to mid-to-late August. Some years the weather is favorable enough to begin outdoor growing in mid-to-late May, however, unpredictable, late frosts and even late snowfalls encourage local gardeners to be cautious and not to begin outdoor planting until early June. This short outdoor growing season requires Interior gardeners to be Read More …

Forging Friendships: Review of Jessica Walliser’s Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden

Have you every wondered if that unknown insect scuttling around in your garden is a threat to your carefully nurtured plants? Or how to keep ladybugs in your garden and decimate the aphids that cropped up in your ornamental flower bed? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by an onslaught of garden pests, but have been reluctant to rely on chemical pesticides? If you’ve needed an answer to any of these questions or have been seeking an introduction to alternative pest control methods, then Jessica Walliser’s Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Read More …

Interior Gardeners: Like Ducks to Water

Gardening seems to come as naturally to residents of Alaska’s Heartland as, well, as ducks take to water. After the long snowy winter, the bright spring days and luminescent nights of late April and early May inspire many of us to start seedlings on the windowsill and to clean up the garden (raised beds, old wheelbarrows and bathtubs, patio pots and hanging baskets), or whatever else our imagination and resources come up with as Places to Put Plants. The harvest may be small or it may be bountiful, it may Read More …

High Bush Cranberries

High bush cranberries are harder to make use of than their low bush cousins. They have a pit inside of them that makes them less appealing to throw in a batch of muffins or over the morning granola and are, at least to my tastebuds, tarter. Despite these limitations they are all over our neighborhood. Most people won’t reveal their super secret berry picking spots, but for high bush cranberries you can walk along many power-line cuts in Fairbanks for easy access to prime berry picking. In just under 30 Read More …

In Honor of Herbs

I love growing herbs. They have so many great qualities to recommend them. They can be grown anywhere, even  in a small space, such as  a  kitchen window. For the most part, they  aren’t fussy, are easy to process and store, and only a few plants can supply you with wonderful flavor from your garden year round. I like to plant them in pots on the porch.  They are usually the  very first harvest, as leaves can be used as soon as there are enough to spare.  I  pinch a 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 …

Watering Your Garden Without Running Water or Electricity

By Evan Stirling, An Alaska Master Gardener in Ester, Alaska Welcome back for the update on starting a garden in Interior Alaska. One of the things I had tried to emphasize in my first posting was that a lot of gardening seems to be about patience. We’ve met a lot of people who use gardening almost as a sort of meditative practice, which seems really great. With that said, if you are just starting out like us, it’s hard not to go all gang-busters crazy with all the things to 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 …