Gardening in Alaska presents big challenges, whether it's the extra effort in finding plants tough enough to survive our Zone 2-4 climate, communicating with like-minded Alaska gardeners, or keeping up with the latest trends, issues and solutions. We'll try to help with that. We'll also tour gardens from Homer to Anchorage to Wasilla to Willow whenever we get the chance, and post the best garden photos around. Presenting a forum about cold-weather gardening and for cold-weather gardeners is what we are all about. We hope you'll join us on the Talk Dirt garden blog.
Photographer and gardener Fran Durner (email@example.com) writes the blog.
February Garden Calendar - 1/29/2010 9:28 am
UA Anchorage recognized as a Tree Campus USA - 1/27/2010 10:36 am
Stone walls provide beauty and exercise - 1/26/2010 8:43 am
USDA program for high tunnels offered - 1/25/2010 8:08 pm
Worms could eat your garbage too - 1/24/2010 8:01 pm
Wildflower Garden Club offers annual scholarship - 1/21/2010 1:08 pm
Where did you find inspiration last year? - 1/19/2010 3:57 pm
Zaumseils say farewell for now - 1/18/2010 3:57 pm
Posted: September 10, 2007 - 1:49 pm
I bought large climbing roses this summer, planted them in containers. They are finally growing, I originally was going to plant them in the ground this month, but now I am wondering what I need to do to keep them over the winter in the containers. Any ideas about cutting back, watering, keeping in a heated area?
Posted: September 9, 2007 - 4:31 pm
Here's something fun: some Outside farmers for years have been growing corn fields just for the challenge of cutting a maze through them. The Depner family of Caseville, Michigan even has their own website for the maze. Here's what they have to say about it:
Posted: September 6, 2007 - 9:35 am
Posted: September 5, 2007 - 9:00 am
My lilac tree has a lot of blooms coming on now - I've never had lilacs in September before. Does anyone know about this? Does it mean I won't get blooms next spring? The tree is full of them - they are not as full as spring blooms in that they have a gap or two instead of full blooms up the stem. Does anyone else ever get fall lilacs?
Posted: September 4, 2007 - 8:44 am
Posted: September 3, 2007 - 2:32 pm
Favorite blueberry picking spots are close-held secrets, in the, "If I tell you, then I'll have to kill you," category. And before I finally got out for some picking on my own this past week, anyone I've asked for a report has recluctently declared, "Oh, it's OK." Well, it wasn't OK. It was truly fabulous. All the right conditions, the cycles of sun and rain through spring and summer, have resulted in the the best tasting and the largest berries I've seen in years. And even though last week was a bit late to be getting started, there was plenty in my patch to go around. Some places have obviously been picked already but there were still pockets where it was so thick you had to use both hands to harvest.
Posted: September 2, 2007 - 1:56 pm
Send your garden or garden-related events to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in this online garden calendar.
September 3rd, Monday, 10am-10pm. Last day for the Alaska State Fair. Last chance to view giant veggies and beautiful flowers and eat your way from one corner of the Fair to the other.
Posted: September 1, 2007 - 8:48 pm
Mike writes: With all the hubub over Scott Robb's world record kale at the State Fair, and all those big cabbages on Friday, a new Alaska record went almost unnoticed.
Ron Castor -- who like Robb is from Palmer, where their must be SOMETHING in the water! -- arrived at the second-round of entry submissions Wednesday with a monster parsnip. It was Alaska's biggest ever, weighing in at 7.572 pounds.
Posted: August 29, 2007 - 8:04 pm
Its so much fun to see the excitement and enthusiasm of the growers, young and old, as they proudly bring in and present the best produce from their garden at the crop entries at the Alaska State Fair. It's also a kick to watch the crowd as they ooh and aah during the weighing and hold out their cameras as they jostle for the best photos. Superintendent of Crops Kathy Liska laughed as she moved vegetables around on the display stage, "This is my department. I do the design and I don't let anyone touch it. I know what I want it to look like!" And it's always a lovely veggie tableau.
Posted: August 29, 2007 - 7:29 pm
The second year of the Northrim Bank Purple Plant contest at the Alaska State Fair brought out a few more entries than last year when only eight showed up. Tables were full of growing things in all shades of purple or near-purple. Single entries and vases full of posies featured the purpleness of it all - even purple cauliflower! Who knew?!
Posted: August 29, 2007 - 7:11 pm
I guess you could say that this evening's Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off at the Alaska State Fair was a "bust". As of about 5:30 pm, the largest and ONLY pumpkin entered weighed in at a whopping 1.549 pounds. That's about a thousand pounds or so less than the state record holder entered last year by J.D. Megchelsen of Nikiski. Unfortunately, according to the volunteers in the crop entry area, the pumpkin that Megchelsen was growing for this year's fair blew up a few weeks ago. Another pumpkin that was rumored to be coming from up Fairbanks way didn't show because it's grower was detoured by an out-of-town job. There's still time before the 9pm closing to load up your prize pumpkin and truck it over!
Posted: August 29, 2007 - 6:48 pm
According to Scott Robb, the cabbage he and his wife Mardie brought in to the State Fair this evening was the "small one." Weighing in at 65.5 lbs, one of the volunteers said it was larger than the one he brought in last year for the Great Cabbage Weigh-Off. "Every year I grow seventeen (cabbages). I've got 7-8 in the garden, you just never know," said Robb. The variety he grows is one he developed himself and named 'JAC' after his three daughters, Jaesah, Amanda and Chelsea. Robb and Mardie also brought in a world record 105.9 lb kale, a 34.5 lb red cabbage and a 14.923 table beet. The Robbs will be back Friday with the "big" cabbage.
Posted: August 29, 2007 - 4:08 pm
At the Flower Exhibits building on the red path, Judy Lavigne concentrated on making an arrangement of her freshest flowers to enter in the "Artistic Design" category. A lovely pink gladiolus was the centerpiece and she carefully held up and then tucked in dahlias, veronica and petunias. This is the fourth year she's entered her flowers and has won a ribbon in this category once before. "I usually do pretty good with my dahlias," she laughed.
Posted: August 29, 2007 - 3:52 pm
Greetings from the Fair where it's FABULOUSLY sunny and hot, hot, HOT! The first thing I had to do was check out the Fair gardens. There's Millie's Garden near the red gate entrance.
Posted: August 29, 2007 - 11:53 am
Posted: August 28, 2007 - 8:49 am
Little patches of our lawn - mostly a few inches in diameter - are succumbing to a type of leaf spot infection. Some spots already have turned brown and others still are in the initial stages of fungal attack (the leaf tips have purplish-gray dots on them). It seems likely that we will acquire some dead patches this year, boo hoo.
Posted: August 27, 2007 - 12:30 pm
Mike writes: Julie Riley, the indispensible fountain of garden information for Anchorage area growers, has taken a leave of absence from the UAF Cooperative Extension office to have hip-replacement surgery.
Posted: August 26, 2007 - 8:05 pm
Cheryl writes: When you start to think of replacing the Steps of Death, expanding the porch, any remodeling/ upgrading/ painting/ insulating/ whatever, it’s a good idea to make what happens to your plants part of the process from the start.
Your most prized Alpine, to your dismay, will exert an irresistible magnetic force on Size 15 workboots. Also, some people do things with hoses and rubble that a normal person can’t feature.
Posted: August 25, 2007 - 1:09 pm
Posted: August 24, 2007 - 7:54 am
Mike writes: What does an 84.7 pound kale do when it arrives at the Alaska State Fair?
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