Master Gardener Handbook California Edition Book Review.

Book Review Why would an Alaskan want to read a Master Gardener Handbook written for California? This California Master Gardener Handbook is very  well written.   It is a comprehensive work written by twenty-five different authors who have both vast knowledge and experience in all aspects of how to successfully grow all kinds of plants.   In addition to the authors there are eight collaborators all of whom are experts in their respective fields.   The book was rigorously peer reviewed and completely scrutinized.   This book was an enormous Read More …

A Tale of Two Interests: Resource Review of the Suburban Homestead YouTube Channel

The Stomach of Necessity The quickest way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. As someone who has worn many hats in the field of healthcare, and has passed a human anatomy class, I take issue with this phrase. However, as someone who spends the better part of their time either thinking or talking about food, I could not agree more. I began the process of learning to cook at the age of about 10. I was fed up with canned green bean casserole, and determined to exert more control Read More …

Making Peace with Green Tomatoes

I used to be so angry when summer ended and I would have so many green (unripe) tomatoes. Now I accept, and embrace the bounty of green fruit. I will share with you some tips of ripening these green tomatoes, and then recipes for the ones that never turn. The Ripening There are a few different options to ripen a tomato. You could cut your whole plant down, with tomatoes still attached, and hang in your garage or crawl space.  Another option is to pick all your green tomatoes and 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 …

Love for the neglected Crabapple Trees: A lesson in pruning

By Andrea Hood, an Alaska Master Gardener My small yard is edged by two crabapple trees planted by the amazing couple that built this house so long ago. Every year, in spite of being ignored by the new residents and abused by snow hurled from the plows and occasional windstorms, they have produced small, tangy, beautiful fruit. This year, while they are sleeping, they will get some TLC. The idea is a bit overwhelming. They are now overgrown beautiful monsters. This is going to be a multi-year treatment plan. Sustainable Read More …

Alan Jackson was right, it is okay to be “Little Bitty’: A small garden plot in Alaska

By Andrea Hood, an Alaska Master Gardener This has been a growing season of revised expectations, and you know what? It has turned out just fine! Finding a great spot to garden can sometimes be a challenge. For those of us with the gardening bug, winter time is for dreaming of glorious spaces filled with fruiting vines, flower laden bushes, and vegetable patches overflowing with zucchini and tomatoes. In the spring, we receive or catalogs and make lists. All of those plans were shot earlier this year with news of Read More …

Marigolds: Edible, Beneficial, and Beautiful

By Mary Hinkley, an Alaska Master Gardener in Tok, Alaska   I believe in marigolds.  Though marigold’s pest resistant qualities are mentioned on many of their seed packets, I feel they’re under rated. Most of my raised beds have a marigold border. This serves two purposes; the garden is beautiful and it’s safe from pest invasion. Early this season I went to the local nursery to get some for my greenhouse and found that it was too early for their marigold crop, so I bought some seeds, went home, and Read More …

Got Pests!? Identifying and Controlling Pests in Alaska using Integrated Pest Management Techniques

By Glenna Gannon, Alaska Master Gardener Teaching Assistant Have you ever planted your beautifully pampered seedlings only to wake the next day and find them riddled with holes? This year that is exactly what happened to me. I noticed a smattering of holes all over my pak choi especially, and arugula to a lesser extent. Step 1: Identify your pest    When we find that our precious vegetables starts that we have nursed along through the Alaskan spring are attacked before they have a chance to thrive, it is easy Read More …