Building a Four Season Greenhouse

  I know I am not the only one!  Each fall, the lower the mercury starts to drop, the fuller my house becomes with summer’s plants that I cannot bare to kill. Sometimes things become absurd. Forget using the hot tub, it is now the Arctic Petunia Sanctuary.  The grape vine, re-designated a house plant, attacks and strangles the ceiling fan.   Come February, the living room becomes the seed nursery.  Regular furniture gives way to large folding tables, all covered with flats of starts.  It happens for so many years 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 …

Our First Year Gardening, Mistakes and Accomplishments

My wife and I purchased our first home in August of 2016 located in Fairbanks, Alaska. The property included 10 acres of land. Most of the land is treed but the backyard area included a cleared space that is large enough for a garden. This was our first opportunity to create our own organic garden. We had an open canvas to create the garden that we dreamed of having for years. The potential was very high, but it didn’t take long for us to realize that building our dream garden Read More …

Greenhouse Tomatoes in Galena

Starting the Process… While being surrounded by family and friends that garden, this summer finds me having endeavored into the art of growing a small variety of tomatoes for the first time.   There are so many lessons to absorb.   In addition to wading through the learning curve of germinating seeds, transporting starts and watering appropriately, a quality location was needed to build a greenhouse.   Having constructed our family cabin on a small plot located on the north bank of the Yukon, the most logical place appeared to Read More …

Sprouting Hearts: Instilling a love for gardening in foster kids in Wasilla Alaska

Twenty years ago I would have laughed at you if you said I’d be that lady standing in the middle of a garden with my sun hat, bending over and pulling weeds. Twenty years ago I was in high school, living in my 5th foster home, doing very well. I was in a stable environment, surrounded by an amazing network of people for the first time in a long time. Gardening wasn’t something I was familiar with–I had farming experience (bottle feeding calves and changing pipe) but nothing to really Read More …

The Great Tomato Fiasco of 2015 or How I Sweltered My Way to Wisdom

2015 In autumn 2014, my partner built us a “sunroom” off the side of our house in Kenai, Alaska. He intended to use it for storage; I intended to fill it with plants come summertime. In the first week of March 2015, I bought indoor seed starting lights and mats and seeded dozens of plants indoors–including about 30 tomato plants in five varieties. I had Romas, Tumbling Toms, Sub-Arctic 25s, and a couple more varieties I can’t recall now. As it turns out, I didn’t have the space for 30 Read More …

School District Dives into Aquaponics; A Progressive Approach to Hard Times

I am the greenhouse manager for Southeast Island School District (SISD), whose district office is located in Thorne Bay, Alaska on Prince of Wales (P.O.W.) Island. SISD serves roughly 160 students throughout 9 communities; 7 on P.O.W., 1 on nearby Baranof Island, and 1 on the mainland. It’s got to be one of the only school districts in the state, and definitely in the “bush’, that has an employee with that title, “greenhouse manager’. Why would a school district, with tightening budgets, increased high-stakes testing demands, new standards (Common Core), Read More …