Seed Starting for Beginners Part 2

Time to light it up! The little plants are pushing their shoulders out of the soil.   Within hours, they will be pushing skyward in a life saving race to find the sun.   It is very important to put the light on them quickly so that they do not get too leggy in their sun worshiping pursuit. I like to purchase the fluorescent lights at the local hardware store.   They are typical “shop lights” and come with a plug.   Unless you are an electrician, be careful not Read More …

Seed starting for Beginners Part 1

Its that time!   It is the time of year – time to appease our need for the smell of soil and the love of nurturing green life. Many people spend a fortune in plants at the box stores and green houses. Good for them, there is nothing wrong with that. However, paying $2-3 per cabbage plant makes me wonder why they don’t just buy cabbage at the grocery store. Not only is it expensive, but missing the seed starting is missing one of the best parts! Watching and nurturing Read More …

Making seed tape and trying new carrot recipes. A good task for the long nights of winter

Why make seed tape? I hate to thin my seedlings. It’s just so sad to pull one of my dear little plants. I am also terrible at taking the time to seed carefully in the midst of the busy spring. This is particularly true when using tiny seeds like carrots.   Buying seed tape from the store is very expensive.   Making seed tape is certainly something that only a home gardener would do.   This is not time saving enough for true carrot farming.   Honestly though, I really Read More …

Starting Seeds in Sprouting Jars

Every spring, when I am lucky enough to be able to garden, it’s a  race against time to get seeds or starts in the ground at the earliest possible moment, that is, as soon as the soil is dry enough and it is late enough to escape losing everything to a hard frost.  Additionally, the garden needs to be ready to plant.  Outside plots, beds and buckets need to be prepared.  In a perfect world, it would  be like a symphony with every task perfectly organized and timed to be Read More …

Easy Window Sill Gardening in Alaska

by Laura Emerson, An Alaska Master Gardener With a minimal investment of time, space, and money, beginning gardeners can enjoy rapid results with a window sill garden. On my 4 inch wide window sills of two, four foot (double paned) windows that face south, I was able to fit six plastic six- pack planters each (twelve packs total, 72 plant holes). Once the first seeds sprouted, I added two tables in front of each window to hold deeper pots for the biggest plants while reusing the six-packs for new seeds. Read More …

What Do Plants Need to Grow?

A Lesson Plan for Gardening in the Classroom in Alaska, by Cheryl Illg, An Alaska Master Gardener Subject Area: Writing/Reading/Math Grade Level: K-3 Ideal season for lesson: Spring Time needed to facilitate lesson: 1 hour to plant seeds and make first observation. Then there will be several weeks of observation, measurements and documentation. The young surviving plants may then be transplanted outdoors into a garden or planter box to grow for the summer once there is no more chance of frost. Usually June 1st in the south and central parts Read More …

How Tall Is your Sunflower?

A Lesson Plan for Gardening in the Classroom in Alaska, by Sabrina Silvernale, an Alaska Master Gardener Photo by Heidi Rader. Subject Area: Math Grade Level: K-3 Ideal Season for Lesson: Spring through Early Autumn Time Needed: 20-30 min per activity   Materials Needed: Sunflower seeds, 3 per student. Look for tall varieties, different colors Garden space: Each student’s 1-3 seeds should be planted 12-18 inches from the next students’ 1-3 seeds) Tools to prepare soil, shovel or trowel Strong bamboo canes, one per student, labeled with his or her Read More …

Seed Starting With Kids in Alaska

by Sue Ryan, an Alaska Master Gardener As a mother of four, I am always looking for ways to include my kids in my love for gardening. This spring, I was able to pique their interest by having them help me start seeds for our summer beds. Not only do kids love to learn about how things grow, they are also more likely to eat and try new veggies that they have grown themselves. Devious, I know! In the past, my starts have been miserable attempts with few of the Read More …