Friday, May 15, 2009

Gardening in Alaska

Growing PeanutsI've had tons of emails these past couple weeks from Alaskans asking if I'm planning on posting an updated 2009 summer activities list for Anchorage and yes, it's in the works as we speak.

With new schedules for some of the regular events along with about 8 or 9 new activities I've just discovered it's going to be the best list yet.

I'm just waiting on a couple of last minute schedules that usually come out just before school gets out but I'm planning on having it ready to go for this coming Thursday's post.


Meanwhile . . . it's time for a peanut plant update. Remember how I mentioned Growing Peanuts for Peanuts? Well here's our little guy going strong. I'm starting to harden him off so I can plant him outside in the garden in ten days.

I'm afraid I've been neglecting my writing lately as I enjoy our fabulous (I repeat FABULOUS) May weather and I've been making my rounds at the gardening spots around town. If you're in Anchorage here are my suggestions for plant shopping:

Forget Me Not Nursery
In Indian, just south of Anchorage, is my favorite place for perennials. I love the drive, the owners are great and the whole place is just a fun experience.

Bell's Nursery
This Anchorage gardening classic is fine for your basic annuals and pot-stuffers. Their specialty is really wintering your rose bushes and fuchsias for a fee and I like going there just to breathe the air. They don't have a great variety but the standard annuals and herbs and things are there in abundance.

Alaska Mill and Feed
If you haven't been down to the port lately this is great for perennials and plants that actually do grow in Alaska and are hardy for our zone 2-4 temperatures. That's where I got my polar roses that I love so very much (they have them there right now for $25 and if you like roses I suggest you get one, they're gorgeous). They really are great for organic gardening--they used to have baby chicks, ducks and turkeys that the kids loved to watch while I shopped, I wish they still had them.

Gardening in AlaskaFritz Creek Gardens
This is my latest gardening thrill. They're located in Homer and after seeing their terrific online store I'm ready to plan a pilgrimage down south to see them for myself. They only seem to have Alaska hardy perennials in all sorts of wondrous varieties and after browsing their website for an hour I carefully selected five plants for my front garden.

Not only will they ship anywhere in Alaska, it's only $1.75 for shipping per plant. I'll be posting more about my new garden designs in the next month (you see my bare bed above, things are just starting to come up!) but my order from Fritz Creek should be arriving sometime in the next few days. Oh I can hardly wait!!

The Anchorage Wood Lot
If you're in need of fire wood or mulch the Anchorage Wood Lot is now open for the season where you can either drop off old wood for a fee or you can get free firewood (great for that summer camping right?) or get free mulch from the chips they make. What a deal. Buying those silly bags of wood chips from the gardening stores makes no sense when you can get it at the woodlot for free right? Eco friendly and cost effective.

University of Alaska Cooperative Extension
And finally, the Cooperative Extension is the go-to place for your gardening information. They are associated with the University of Alaska Fairbanks but have an office in Anchorage over on Northern Lights and Lake Otis where they have all sorts of information free to the public through pdf docs online or through physical publications at their office.

What kind of information? Oh anything to do with soil, gardening, home production and canning, home repairs, wells, animal and livestock care, even basic home economics such as sewing are covered a bit. I go there every so often to pick up booklets and publications I may have missed in the past and they will really help you get started if gardening is virgin territory for you.

I've already got a few posts outlined from some of the things I learned there on my last trip . . .

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Jennifer said...

We have an agricultural extension in FL too and it is a great source of information. They even offer a certification for an eco-friendly yard that we earned at our last residence. It was fun to have the sign in our front yard and impress the neighbors with our "greenness."

Michele said...

Okay, I have to admit I am fascinated that people choose to live in Alaska. I am one of those people who hates to be cold (with a capital "H" actually) so I had to look up the temperature to see what is considered "fabulous" weather for mid-May in Anchorage. I see it has been between 60 and 65, with averages usually in the mid-50s for this time of year. Michelle, I truly don't know how you do it. Not that 60 degrees isn't nice, but oh to wait until mid-May to get it only to have it disappear by when? September? Alaska looks like it is a beautiful state but I don't know how you deal with that cold.

jacjewelry said...

Your peanut is looking great! He is almost ready for the outdoors. :)

Freestyle said...

Thanks for such a good article, I enjoyed reading it, you peanut is really looking great, almost ready to go outdoors indeed!!


Chrissy Johnson said...

May I add a couple to the list?

Mile 5.2 Greenhouse (downtown Eagle River) and P & M Garden Services towards the Nature Center in Eagle River...If you haven't been, Michelle you should come on down and meet me for coffee along with it! :)

Chrissy Johnson said...

...and we can buy some flowers, too. :) Good selection of hanging baskets/hanging herb baskets at chocolate candy samples.

Chrissy Johnson said...

...and I promise this is my last comment of the day!

Thanks for the suggestion on the free firewood. That certainly will come in handy with camping and cool nights when you just NEED to have a cozy fire.

Damselfly said...

I am so in awe of people who live in places where things don't grow year-round. *And they garden!* I just can't imagine doing a lot of gardening work for such a short growing season. Guess I'm spoiled.

Maddy said...

I don't think I could cope with a short growing season, I'd get withdrawal symptoms.

As for the peanuts, they constitute weeds around here as the darned squirrels bury them everywhere.....although they are rather cute. [the peanuts not the squirrels.]

Single Maria said...

Thanks for the post. Your article made me smile. I admire such people. Sometimes when people have all conditions to do something they dont do it. You live in such place where gardening is quite hard to do. but you all the same do. It is good that such paople exist.

Lora said...

This is cool, I just discovered your blog...I lived in Alaska (mostly Anchorage) for almost 20 years. I was a single mom living with my autistic son on 12th Ave. We had no family there so it was very tough. Now we have been near my family here in SC for 2 years and there is a lot I miss about Alaska, mostly the people and the scenery. But for sure not the light and dark thing. Take care and check out our blog sometime, maybe we can keep in touch.

Leisa Hammett said...

Michelle, I was introduced to your blog through LikeMerchantShips. Specifically, she pointed me to your ebook on blogging. I'd like to share some excerpts with a social media site I moderate (and give credit!) if I may. What a fabulous resource! Thank you so much for making it available. It's concise, well-written and interesting. I'm a writer, too. I'll be digesting it along with my pb&j's during many lunches to come! BTW, your blog design is clean and beautiful and those curls of yours, oh, to die for!