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Archive for April, 2011

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s new office in the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St.

Key topics for the meeting include the start of work parties at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, preparations for the upcoming Sitka Farmers Market season, an update on fruit tree planting efforts from the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative, an update on the Sitka Seafood Festival, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center project, a recap of the Let’s Grow Sitka event on March 20, an update on Blatchley Community Garden plans for the spring and summer, an update on the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Fish In Schools Hooray (FISH) project to get more locally caught fish into school menus.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public. We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

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It’s time to sign up for your 2011 community supported fisheries (CSF) seafood subscription with Alaskans Own seafood company in Sitka. This is the second summer Alaskans Own has offered CSF seafood subscriptions, and they were very successful last year.

Subscriptions are available in full shares (40 pounds total for the season) and half shares (20 pounds total for the season) and include locally-caught king and coho salmon, halibut, black cod, lingcod and yelloweye. Product is flash-frozen, portioned and vacuum packed — perfect for summer or winter eating. Pick-ups will happen once per month during May, June, July and August.

Subscription costs are $425 for a full share (40 pounds) and $225 for a half share (20 pounds). All proceeds benefit the Fishery Conservation Network (http://www.alaskansown.com/fishery-conservation-network.php).

For more information, call Beth Short at 738-3360 or visit http://www.alaskansown.com/seafood-subscription.php.

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St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

Volunteers are need to help out at a special work party from 5:15-6:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4, at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm. This work party will be to build a couple of new raised garden beds and to do other preparation work before a series of planting parties scheduled for May.

From 1-4 p.m. on each Saturday in May (May 7, 14, 21 and 28), volunteers are needed for planting parties at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, which is a communal garden located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street. St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm provides vegetables, herbs and fruit for the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start in July (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10 at ANB Hall).

In addition to helping get the communal garden ready to grow veggies this summer, volunteers can meet Laura Schmidt, who is the lead gardener for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm this year and will coordinate most of the work parties and May planting parties. Laura said the work and planting parties will be kid-friendly and there will be several activities to keep the kids busy.

People who picked up seed starter kits at Let’s Grow Sitka in March should check the date they are scheduled to bring their started seeds in for planting. If you can’t bring them in on that date, please contact Laura Schmidt (623-7003) or Lisa Sadleir-Hart (747-5985) to make arrangements for someone else to bring them in on the scheduled date.

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Ah, springtime in Southeast Alaska, when the weather is moist and chilly. If it’s springtime in Southeast, it means it’s time for garden slugs, the bane of every Southeast gardener.

Now is the time to fight slugs, even if you haven’t planted yet as you wait for final frost in May. Slugs get into gardens in the spring, and this is when they are laying their eggs (and both male and female slugs can lay eggs). If you don’t fight the slugs now, the problem will be worse in the summer when your garden starts growing. Slugs eat the plants in your garden, and if uncontrolled they can do considerable damage to your crops.

Charlie Nardozzi, who writes the Edible Landscaping page on the National Gardening Association’s site, recently posted a good article on how to control slugs and snails. Most of his hints work in Alaska, though some people say the Southeast rain makes beer traps less effective here than in dryer climates.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has several publications with information on controlling pests such as slugs. One good reference is the Gardening in Southeast Alaska booklet (click link for free download as a PDF file). Another good reference, written by Sitka-based Resource Development Agent Robert Gorman, is the publication “Slugs” (click link for free download as a PDF file).

Fran Durner, who used to write the Talk Dirt To Me blog for the Anchorage Daily News, wrote a post about slug control a couple of years ago that included a picture of slug eggs so people could get them out of their gardens before they hatch. Fran also wrote a post about using dryer lint to deter slugs. Julie Riley of the Anchorage office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service also wrote an article for the Anchorage Daily News with tips on how to control slugs that gardeners in Southeast might find helpful.

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St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a work party from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 23, to help prepare the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden for planting in May.

St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm provides vegetables, herbs and fruit for the Sitka Farmers Markets, which start on July 16. It is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street.

During the April 23 work party, volunteers will relocate the compost bins, build new raised garden beds and add amendments to the soil. Tools will be provided. The “farm” welcomes any donations of dirt, sand and seaweed. Volunteers also can meet Laura Schmidt, who is the lead gardener for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm this year and will coordinate most of the work parties and May planting parties. Laura said the work and planting parties will be kid-friendly and there will be several activities to keep the kids busy.

The tentative schedule for planting parties in May is to meet from 1-4 p.m. on Saturdays, May 7, 14, 21 and 28, to plant a variety of crops. People who picked up seed starter kits at Let’s Grow Sitka in March should check the date they are scheduled to bring their started seeds in for planting. If you can’t bring them in on that date, please contact Laura (623-7003) or Lisa Sadleir-Hart (747-5985) to make arrangements for someone else to bring them in on the scheduled date.

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The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative will host a public fruit tree planting event starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. The first tree planted will be dedicated in memory of noted Sitka historian Bob DeArmond, who was 99 when he passed away on Nov. 26, 2010.

The plan on April 23, is for volunteers to plant a few fruit trees in front of the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center (tools and snacks will be provided). The volunteers then will move on to plant trees at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, a communal garden run by the Sitka Local Foods Network located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church. Other planting locations on Saturday include the Betty Eliason Child Care Center, KCAW-Raven Radio and either Sealing Cove or Pacific High School. A total of 22 trees will be planted on Saturday.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative hopes to plant 200 apple, crabapple or cherry trees in Sitka before the next Sitka Health Summit on Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2011. This will be the first public planting of fruit trees since the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, when the project started. Several individuals, families and businesses around Sitka also have ordered fruit trees to plant this year.

For more information about the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative or the Sitka Local Foods Network, contact Doug Osborne at 747-3752 or Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.

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The Sitka National Historical Park‘s “An Evening in the Park” series will feature a presentation at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, called “Gardening in Sitka: A Unique Challenge.”

This presentation will be led by Park Ranger Thomas Cook, who also is certified as a Master Gardener. The presentation takes place at the Sitka National Historical Park Visitors Center Theatre.

Gardening in Sitka can be a challenge, with lots of rain and tricky soil conditions. This can discourage many aspiring green thumbs. But with a little knowledge, you can plant and grow a beautiful garden in Sitka.

This interactive presentation invites people to share their own perspectives and experiences, and to discuss their successes and challenges with the group as a whole. Ranger Thomas Cook will discuss planting schedules for Sitka, how to overcome acidic soil conditions, seeds vs. seedlings, slugs and pests, and how to construct an inexpensive greenhouse.

To learn more, contact Becky Latanich at 747-0132 or becky_latanich@nps.gov.

 

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