How to cultivate and harvest summer and winter squash in Southcentral Alaska

Table of content Where to grow Greenhouse and hoop house bed preparation Garden bed preparation How to grow Starting seedlings Planting Maintaining plants How to harvest Storage Seed saving Where to grow If a you have greenhouse or hoop house that is best for winter squash. If you do not have a greenhouse or hoop house a garden bed with rich well drained soil and full sun will have to do for winter squash, and is preferable for summer squash. It is best if the greenhouse, hoop house, or garden Read More …

Simply Smoked Salmon

Everyone in Alaska smokes salmon, right? It’s in our blood. We just know what to do. Chances are you have a section in the food preservation department of the garage that is dedicated to salmon smoking paraphernalia. This department we visit throughout the year to replenish jars or stash more Food Saver bags when we find them on sale, but at a minimum we take inventory right before the salmon runs are expected so we aren’t caught short handed. There’s nothing worse than having fresh salmon ready to brine, running Read More …

Seward Climate – So, What’s Normal?

General Climate On the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones map, Seward is in zone 6b. However, there are many micro climates within the community. My garden is approximately six miles north of the nearest weather station at the Seward airport where “normals’ are for years 1908-2011. See link here. Generally, the sun warms the airport/downtown area early in the morning. But in the afternoon, the area cools off much earlier because of the wind off of Resurrection Bay and shade from the mountains to the west. My garden is shaded longer Read More …

The Art of Discovering Plants

The good, the bad, and the weedy How can I fertilize my soil naturally without using animal waste? What native plants will grow together and compliment each other? How can I attract bees?  That looks like a weed – can I eat it? In Discovering Wild Plants by Janice Schofield, I found not only the answers to these questions, but so much more.  Open the book’s pages (there are no online resources associated with this book) and find  instructions on how to make herbal remedies and recipes that make your 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 …

Tank tops, flip flops, and greenhouse-free tomatoes

Climate change is no joke, and I am certainly no expert on the subject. Many of us have read various reports, observations, and predictions about the consequences of a changing climate on Alaska and Alaskans’ ways of life.   This post is not intended to be a debate or manifesto  on climate change, but one component of this year’s garden did get me thinking particularly deeply about the Alaska climate and weather and gardening.   That component was the gift of two tomato plants and the fact that I do 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 …