• Sitka Local Foods Network to host March 12 meeting to discuss Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center

Shane-SmithAre you interested in helping Sitka increase its access to fresh, locally grown produce all year round? The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a gathering from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to discuss plans for the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center.

Building a community greenhouse and education center was a community wellness goal from the 2008 Sitka Health Summit, but over the years there were a few problems (usually with securing land) bringing the project to fruition. It now appears the Sitka Fine Arts Camp will allow us to build a 30-foot–by-52-foot greenhouse on the Sheldon Jackson Campus, next to the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. This is the closest we’ve come to being able to start building a greenhouse.

In addition to the availability of land, we have been offered locally harvested wood to build the greenhouse frame, which will be modeled after another successful greenhouse built near Sitka in 2011.

Please join us on Tuesday to learn more about this exciting project. In addition, Shane Smith, the executive director and founder of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens and author of the Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, will be at the meeting to provide advice based on his experiences building a similar project. Shane Smith also will give a presentation on greenhouses and high tunnels from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Room 229, and he’ll have a booth at the Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St.

“The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center would be a tremendous asset to our town and we’ve never been closer to making that dream become a reality,” Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane said.  “Having Shane’s expertise and guidance to draw from just puts us that much closer to making this happen this year.”

For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

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• Optimistic Gardeners: What to do with a bumper crop? The UAF Cooperative Extension Service can help

SarahLewisGreetings, Sitka. My name is Sarah Lewis and I’m the new Home, Health and Family Development Agent for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. My home is in Juneau, but my district is all of Southeast.

On Sunday, March 10, I’ll be in Sitka to participate in the Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event. But I won’t be there to give you tips on how to grow abundant food — fine Master Gardeners and other local and national experts will be on hand do that. I’m coming to motivate you! I have so much confidence in the gardeners of Sitka that my job is to prepare you for your bumper crops. Imagine winter meals with food stored and preserved from your garden.

I will have information about preparing and safely preserving your harvest, and I’ll have a pressure canning gauge tester on hand to test your gauges. I’ll have information about a wide range of vegetables and how you can enjoy them over the summer and even after your garden has been put to rest for the winter.

I look forward to coming to Sitka regularly in the coming years, and welcome calls and emails from Sitkans with questions about food (preparation, preservation, safety, and entrepreneurship), home resource use and conservation (energy, food, finances, and consumer goods), and family emergency preparedness. I’m here to assist individuals and support agencies and groups in their own work, with Cooperative Extension classes, information, and publications.

Please stop by the Let’s Grow Sitka event from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the ANB Founders Hall at 235 Katlian. Come chat with me, bring your questions and ideas, and take advantage of all the resources Let’s Grow Sitka will have to offer.

And always feel free to contact me at 907-796-6241 or sarah.lewis@alaska.edu at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service office in Juneau.

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event and Shane Smith presentation

2013 LGS Flier-Feb 11-13CBEDITMark your calendars as the Sitka Local Foods Network will host two big garden events Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, in Sitka.

The first event is a presentation by Shane Smith of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9,  in Room 229 of the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. The second event is the fifth annual Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian (don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour Saturday night).

Shane-SmithThe Sitka Local Foods Network is excited to bring Shane Smith to town to discuss gardens and greenhouses. Shane is the founder of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens and has been its director since 1977. Shane is the author of the Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, and he will be signing copies of his book. Shane received the American Horticulture Society’s 2012 Great American Gardener Award.

Shane also will have a booth at Sunday’s Let’s Grow Sitka event, which is an annual event designed to get Sitka residents excited about the upcoming garden season. This annual event brings together local garden supply stores, local gardeners, landscapers and anybody who is interested in learning how to grow food and/or flowers.

There will be a wide variety of individuals and businesses with booths for the event, with some booths providing gardening information geared toward and others selling gardening supplies. Lunch will be available for purchase. There also will be a chance to learn from certified Master Gardeners, a chance to learn about greenhouses and high tunnels, an opportunity to buy seeds and seed potatoes, and there’s a scavenger hunt for the kids.

For more information, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings and weekends) or Cathy Lieser at 1-907-978-2572. Table space still may be available for people wanting to provide information about different types of gardening or gardening products/services available in Sitka.

The Sitka Local Foods Network thanks the City and Borough of Sitka, Shee Atika Corp., and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Diabetes Programs for their help in making these events possible.

• Lori Adams discusses ‘The End’ in her last Daily Sitka Sentinel garden column

LoriAdamsDownToEarthUPickGarden(Lori Adams, who owns Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden and is a frequent vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market, will be wrote a regular garden column in the Daily Sitka Sentinel this summer and fall. The Sentinel is allowing us to reprint the columns on this site after they first appear in the newspaper. This column appeared on Page 4 of the Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.)

GARDENING IN SITKA

By Lori Adams

THE END

The ground is frozen now, but at times throughout the winter and spring things will thaw out. So there is still time to tinker in the garden before planting time.  Once it thaws you can gather and apply seaweed, pull weeds, remove rocks and salmonberry bushes, sterilize your greenhouse or sun room, etc. It can be hard to make yourself get out there, but once you do it’s not so bad.

Those delightful seed catalogs should start showing up in the mail pretty soon, so now is a good time to plan for next year. Try to connect with a gardening friend some time before spring arrives and have them help you come up with a realistic plan and suggestions for reliable seed varieties to invest in. I try to get together with my gardening friends at least once a year and it is SO helpful.  Networking is important.

I think I pretty much covered the basics with the “Gardening In Sitka” column, so the time has come to put away my pen.  You now have enough information to get started growing a successful vegetable garden.

Quite a few people have suggested that I compile all of the printed columns into a book and I think it is a good idea, so I’m in the planning stages of that project right now.  My goal is to have the books ready to purchase by March 2013 in time for the annual “Let’s Grow Sitka” event. They will be edited and revised, with room for your own notes, and a yearly planner calendar will be included.

The “Let’s Grow Sitka” event, usually held on a Sunday in mid-March, is a fantastic resource for new and old gardeners.  There are informational booths, presentations and demonstrations, things to purchase and experienced gardeners are available to give you answers to any questions you might have.  It’s a MUST-ATTEND event for anyone interested in gardening in Sitka.

Another great resource you should check out is the Sitka Local Foods Network’s website at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.  It has notices for upcoming gardening events and many, many links to other informative websites.

Thank you for all of the positive feedback you’ve given me on the column.  You made it so rewarding.  And to be truthful, I learned so much by doing it.  I had to research the “why” and “how” to get my tips into readable form and ended up learning more myself.

Feel free to give me a call if you have questions and be sure to come out to the Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden next summer to get a tour.  Happy gardening and be sure to BUY LOCAL!

Brought to you by Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden

2103 Sawmill Creek Road

Open June-August / Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

747-6108 or 738-2241

http://downtoearthupick.blogspot.com/

• Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event is Sunday, March 11, at ANB Hall

Mark your calendars, because the 2012 “Let’s Grow Sitka” gardening education event opens at noon and runs until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street. Don’t forget to set your clocks to spring forward so you can get ready to grow.

This annual event brings together local garden supply stores, local gardeners, landscapers and anybody who is interested in learning how to grow food and/or flowers. Sitka Local Foods Network Vice President Linda Wilson, who is coordinating the event with SLFN Board Member Cathy Lieser, was interviewed during the Morning Edition show Thursday on KCAW-Raven Radio and she provided more details about this event (click the link to listen to the interview), which helps Sitka residents get excited about the upcoming garden season.

There will be a wide variety of individuals and businesses with booths for the event, with some booths providing gardening information geared toward and others selling gardening supplies. Lunch will be available for purchase. Here is a tentative list of some of those planning to host booths:

  • Linda Wilson, Sitka Farmers Market, Grow a Row for the Market
  • Cathy Lieser, Let’s Grow Sitka, Sitka Local Foods Network
  • Doug Osborne. Sitka Local Foods Network?
  • Johanna Willingham, Pacific H.S./Sitka Farmers Market backup.
  • Jud Kirkness, Sicka Waste compost project, Fruit tree map
  • Tom Hart, compost, NZ composter ?
  • Kerry MacLane. Pest management
  • Lisa Sadleir-Hart. St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm
  • Laura Schmidt, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm/Seed swap & share
  • Maybelle Filler, ???
  • Stanley Schoening, Chickens, fig trees, UAF Cooperative Extension Service
  • Judy Johnstone, High Tunnel program
  • David Lendrum, Guest speaker 3:15, info on new/unusual varieties for Southeast Alaska
  • Jeren Schmidt, Sitka Spruce Catering, lunch for purchase
  • Robert Gorman, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, history of Experimental Station
  • Andrianna Natsoulas, Food Sovereignty
  • Tracy Gagnon, Sitka 4H Club
  • Eve Grutter, Chickens, produce
  • Adam Chinalski, Model greenhouse
  • Penny Brown, Garden Ventures – products for sale
  • Amanda Grearson, True Value – products for sale
  • Lowell Frank, Spenard Building Supply Garden Center ??
  • Michelle Putz, Locally grown environmental benefits?
  • Rick Peterson, Gardening 101 – easiest to grow, need to amend soil, etc…
  • Lori Adams, Down-to-Earth U-Pick Garden – garden promotion and information
  • Mike Tackaberry/Robin Grewe, White’s Inc. – products for sale
  • Mandy Summers, Pacific High School
  • Kelly Smitherman, National Park Service – garden at Bishops House, etc…
  • Lisa Teas, Sitka Farmers Market art debut
  • Florence Welsh, Forget-Me-Not Gardens, local garden booklet, possible plant starts
  • Hope Merritt, Gimbal Botanicals herbal teas – info on wild herbs and herbs to grow

Right after the three-hour Let’s Grow Sitka event ends, guest speaker Dave Lendrum of Juneau will speak at 3:15 p.m. on “New Vegetable Varieties, Small Fruits, and Ornamentals for Southeast Alaska.” Lendrum is a landscape designer who just finished a two-year term as president of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardener Association and with his landscape architect wife, Margaret Tharp, owns Landscape Alaska.

Dave’s life has evolved in partnership with the natural world. He grew up in California on an organic u-pick vegetable farm, learning horticulture from his parents and the 4H club. He did nursery work and continued his post-college adventure in Ecuador by starting a fresh market produce business. After being a city horticulturist at the Eugene (Ore.) Parks Department, Dave started his first nursery, Western Oregon Perennials. A few years later, he found himself in a high-temperature photosynthesis lab at Stanford. In the Pacific Northwest, Dave restored old estate gardens. When he heard Alaska’s call, he moved north to Elfin Cove. Dave and his wife started Landscape Alaska in Juneau 28 years ago. They design and build landscapes on every scale and have won numerous awards both locally and nationally. In addition, Dave is the landscape superintendent for the University of Alaska Southeast and the Southeast representative on the statewide invasive species organization (SNIPM).

For more information about Let’s Grow Sitka, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings, weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com, or Cathy Lieser at 978-2572. The two event fliers for this event are posted below as Adobe Acrobat files (PDF files).

• Main flier for 2012 Let’s Grow Sitka event

• Flier for Dave Lendrum presentation after Let’s Grow Sitka event ends

• Booths and vendors needed for the Let’s Grow Sitka! garden education event in March

Sitka residents wander the booths during the 2009 Let's Grow Sitka garden show

Sitka residents wander the booths during the 2009 Let's Grow Sitka garden show

It is time to start planning for the 2012 Let’s Grow Sitka Garden Expo. This year’s event will be from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

Linda Wilson is coordinating the event, and she is looking for anyone interested in participating. Table spaces are FREE. The only restriction is that your products, services, information, displays, demonstrations, etc., must be related to gardening or food production in Sitka.

Linda is looking for:

  • Vendors selling garden-related products, including seeds, supplies, tools, books, accessories, …
  • Vendors promoting/selling their garden-related services, such as greenhouse and cold frame construction, yard maintenance, …
  • Vendors promoting/selling products and services related to small animal husbandry, such as chickens, ducks, rabbits, pigs, etc., …
  • Someone to host a table, do a display or presentation/demonstration on the following topics:
    • Growing root crops in Sitka (potatoes, carrots, etc…)
    • Root cellars and other methods for storage of vegetables
    • Fruit trees and berry bushes
    • Raising chickens and ducks
    • Composting and using compost
    • Soils and soil amendments
    • Edible flowers and ornamentals
    • Cold frames and other small garden structures that extend the growing season
    • Greenhouses
    • Seed swap and share table
    • Hosting a children’s activity such as decorating a pot and planting pansy, violet, viola seeds to take home.  Or ???
    • Garden pests — slugs, root maggots, etc., …
    • Proper garden drainage – how to construct garden beds to drain properly
    • Anything else you can think of that relates to growing food in Sitka, …

Please consider volunteering to host a table or to be a vendor. We want to make this a bigger and better event for this year,  and to get more people inspired to start or expand a garden. Last year we were unfortunate to be scheduled during the same week as Spring break, but NOT this year!

Please let Linda know, at your earliest convenience, if you would like to reserve a table or booth space. Linda can be reached at lawilson87@hotmail.com or 747-3096 (evenings and weekends).

• Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors to meet on Monday, Feb. 6

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured are Johanna Willingham-Guevin and Tom Crane.

The 2011-12 Sitka Local Foods Network Board of Directors at its winter board retreat on Dec. 3, 2011. From left are Lisa Sadleir-Hart, Doug Osborne, Maybelle Filler, Cathy Lieser, Robin Grewe, Linda Wilson and Kerry MacLane. Not pictured are Johanna Willingham-Guevin and Tom Crane.

The Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors will hold its monthly meeting from 6:30-8 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Building, 408 Marine St. (parking lot is off Spruce Street).

Key topics for the meeting include planning for the Let’s Grow Sitka on March 11, a recap of the Jan. 21 Sitka Local Foods Network annual meeting and potluck, an update on the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center, an update on the Sitka Food Co-op, an update on recent work by the Alaska Food Policy Council, an update on the Sitka Composting Project (Sick-a-Waste), our new logo and t-shirts, planning for spring planting at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and other community gardens, planning for upcoming events such as the Sitka Farmers Markets on alternating Saturdays from July 7-Sept. 15, and more.

Board meetings are free and open to the general public, usually once a month (except summer). We always welcome new volunteers interested in helping out with our various projects. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or 747-7888.