The hunt is on for Alaska’s delectable berries. Our choice of berries is varied and they are bountiful. It seems like everyone is out picking berries right now and putting them away for winter. We are so blessed to have such a variety and abundance right outside our doorsteps. This will not be an exhaustive berry discussion but I will talk about the most common edible berries you will find in Alaska to include the following:
This past week, I harvested my black and red currants and made them into juice and jelly and syrup to enjoy throughout the winter months. An excellent fruit to grow and relatively trouble free, the currant is a nutritional powerhouse. Currants have a wonderful tart flavor and according to the USDA have more vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium than any other fruit. These berries are only second to elderberries in iron and protein content and lower in fat than any other fruit except nectarines.
Well after waiting for five years, my Norland dwarf apple tree has finally produced apples! This tree has been babied and cared for to the nth degree, and just when I was about to give up — surprise! — 25 apples appeared on the tree after the blossoms faded this past spring. I am a patient person, but five years? It’s time to research this subject a little more.
Squash are separated into two main types, summer, (Cucurbita pepo) and winter, (Cucurbita maxima). We will concern ourselves with summer squash in this discussion. Summer squash varieties include zucchini, straight neck squash (“yellow summer squash”), and crookneck squash.
What is the difference between a hanging basket that looks beautiful all growing season and one that fades away with sparse, dead looking blooms? We will look carefully at this question in hopes of improving the length of time we can enjoy our baskets this summer.
So, you go to the greenhouse or stores around town and purchase a beautiful hanging basket to put up at your home. Initially they are in full bloom and look gorgeous. After a couple of weeks you notice they do not look as great and when you first purchased them, and now the basket looks flat and dry with fewer blooms.
I wanted to thank Debbie for her casual and cursory review of our Eaglexit movement (“Letter: No to Eaglexit,” Anchorage Daily News). Unfortunately, it is disappointing when conclusions such as her’s are jumped to without a civil and open discussion. We have a large presence of good people in Assembly District 2 (Eagle River, Chugiak, Birchwood, Peters Creek and Eklutna) who are very open and engaged in an active dialog regarding Eaglexit.
Dependable, beautiful plants, Hostas (Plantation Lily) are noted for their lush foliage and low maintenance in the garden. Touted as a shade perennial, Hostas grown in Southcentral Alaska can be a shade or partly sunny perennial.
Historically, Hostas are believed to have originated in the shady forests of China. They made their way to Europe in the 1830s and made their way to America several years later. There are thousands of cultivars of varying sizes, shapes and colors.
Kale is a super green that grows well in our cool soils and is gaining in popularity. Historically, kale is thought to have originated in Asia Minor and was brought to Europe around 600 B.C. by groups of Celtic wanderers. Ancient Rome saw kale as an important vegetable of the peasant class. English settlers brought this vegetable to America in the 17th century.
Even though one of my favorite flowers, Pelargonium, is a zone 9-10, does not mean I am not going to grow them. Since we are a zone 2, 3 or 4 (depending on your location and elevation in the Eagle River-Chugiak area), you can grow them in pots or transplant them in the garden and dig them up and bring them in the garage over the winter until next season. A friend of mine, Verna Pratt, got me started on these beauties with a single cutting encouraging me that it would grow.
While we are out there working hard to grow a beautiful garden in just a few short months, the creepy crawlers are munching away at our bounty. It can be so frustrating to find holes and sticky slime all over your pristine vegetables and flowers. Instead of spraying bug killers all over a garden we plan to ingest, consider creating a garden that is full of all sorts of bugs that can help us in this endeavor. Some of the bugs are pests that destroy our plants while others east the plant-eating bugs. I can go for that!