• Sitka Kitch, Sitka Conservation Society to host apple tree workshop on Nov. 18

AppleTreeWorkshop

Sitka Kitch, in conjunction with the Sitka Conservation Society, will host an apple tree workshop at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Jud Kirkness will give us an introduction on the how-to’s of planting your own apple tree, and attendees will have the opportunity to place a tree order at the workshop. Let’s see if we can get 15 additional apple trees planted in Sitka.

This event is the final event of Applooza 2014, which also included the Sitka 4H club harvesting apples from local trees and making apple sauce for the Swan Lake Senior Center and Salvation Army. For more information, contact the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509.

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• It’s time to … thin your apples for better production (free workshop)

RedApplesKCAW

Your Sitka Local Foods Network reminds Sitkans that now is the time to get out in your garden and thin the apples on your tree. Thinning fruit increases the size and quality of your fruit and reduces the chances that limbs will break. Thinning also reduces the chances of spreading diseases.

Jud Kirkness will host a free discussion and hands-on workshop on fruit thinning and fruit tree care from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, at 131 Shelikof Way. Jud also will look for and discuss fruit tree pests. All are welcome; call Michelle Putz at 747-2708 for more information or directions to the garden.

The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee has been hosting a series of “It’s time to …” workshops this spring and summer designed to help local residents learn about various aspects of vegetable gardening and fruit growing. Many of these classes will be informal get-togethers at various gardens around town. Please watch our website, Facebook pageFacebook group, and local news media for information about upcoming classes. If you have an “It’s time to …” workshop you’d like to teach, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

The SLFN education committee is still looking to expand our network of local volunteers who can teach classes (formal and informal) this year about growing food, please email Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com with info about what topics you can teach, your gardening experience, and contact information so we can add you to our database of instructors.

• Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event is Sunday, March 20

Mark your calendars, because the 2011 “Let’s Grow Sitka” gardening education event opens at noon and runs until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street. Celebrate the first day of spring and get ready to garden.

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. This year’s theme is “Adding edibles to your landscape — focus on fruit trees and berry bushes.”

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski of Ed’s Edible Landscaping in Juneau will be on hand to provide expertise during the show. Buyarski will give a special presentation on “Growing Fruit in Southeast Alaska” at 11 a.m. on March 20 at ANB Hall (just before the show opens).

Buyarski also will lead some free hands-on tree pruning workshops on Saturday, March 19, with the first tree pruning workshop at 10:30 a.m. at the trees outside Patty Bickar’s house, 310 Cascade (at the top of the hill). The tree pruning workshops will continue Saturday afternoon at the trees outside the home of Tory O’Connell, 608 Etolin Way (off Baranof Street downtown). Buyarski will provide instruction on how to properly prune the trees and bushes to encourage fruit production and maintain healthy growth. Pruning needs to be done before the trees bud, so NOW is the time to get it done. The tree pruning workshops are hosted by the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative.

The Sitka Local Foods Network encourages people to share their knowledge by hosting a booth or posting an educational display about a specific garden topic. We especially want people with experience growing fruit trees to share their knowledge about growing apple, cherry or crabapple trees in Sitka; growing strawberries; growing rhubarb; growing unusual berry varieties that do well in our climate such as aronia, sea buckthorn, honeysuckle (fruiting), gooseberry, currant and elderberry; and how to legally transplant and cultivate wild berry bushes to your property.

In addition, you can learn about home greenhouses, how to prepare your soil, how to raise chickens and what to do with all those slugs. Buy seeds and plant starts. Swap ideas and tips. Come learn, share, and get ready to grow your garden. Learn about plans for the Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. Let’s Grow Sitka is organized by the Sitka Local Foods Network and is part of the Arti Gras Sitka Music and Arts Festival, which takes place March 6-20.

There still are a few FREE tables available for vendors, education and demonstrations. For more information about Let’s Grow Sitka or to reserve table space, contact Linda Wilson at lawilson87@hotmail.com or call her at 747-3096 (in the evenings or on weekends only). She also has information about the tree pruning workshops.

Master gardeners are encouraged to sign up to share their personal experience on how to create a successful garden in Sitka. Also, anyone with a garden-related product or service to sell is invited to participate. Some of the expected booths are from:

  • True Value Garden Center (type Sitka or 99835 into the store locator search bar) — garden supplies
  • White’s, Inc/Harry Race Pharmacy — garden books, magazines, accessories
  • Garden Ventures — lots of lovely primroses for sale along with garden supplies
  • Lori Adams — Down-To-Earth U-Pick garden promotion
  • Andrew Thoms — raising chickens and chicks for sale (Andrew suggests anybody wanting to buy chicks contact him as soon as possible so he can start incubating the eggs. He can be reached at 747-3747 or andrew@sitkawild.org.)
  • Eve Grutter — jams for sale, garden and raising chickens expertise to share
  • Sitka Local Foods Network — garden information and volunteer sign up
  • Sitka Farmers Market — tomato plant starts for sale, Farmers Market information
  • St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm — seed starter kits
  • Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative — information on growing your own fruit trees and berry bushes in Sitka
  • Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative — community fruit tree mapping project
  • Sitka Seed Savers — information on how to save your own garden seed, and a sign up to participate in an educational workshop on how to save vegetable seed and start a seed savers group in Sitka
  • Display and information handouts on growing rhubarb and its nutritional benefits
  • UAF Cooperative Extension Service — lots of free garden handouts
  • Ed Buyarski of Ed’s Edible Landscaping in Juneau — edible landscaping

• Let’s Grow Sitka event flier for March 20, 2011, at ANB Hall (please print and post around town)

• FISH, Tree work groups set meetings to continue Sitka Health Summit project work

FISH (Fish In School, Hooray!) will hold an informal meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 1, at the front desk at the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center to make plans for its next school meal featuring locally  caught wild fish. The other local-food-related project from the 2010 Sitka Health Summit, the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative, also has an upcoming meeting, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The FISH project served its first special fish lunch at Blatchley Middle School in January, a red snapper fishwich. About 20 percent of the students chose the fish entrée (24 out of 120 lunches served), so the FISH group wants to look at ways they can better market the health and economic benefits of eating locally caught fish to the students. The informal meeting is scheduled during Tuesday’s open house/reopening event at Hames (5-7 p.m.) since many group members already were planning to attend the event. For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or maclanekerry@yahoo.com.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative will be trying to set where it plans to plant fruit trees around Sitka later this spring, with the ultimate goal of planting 200 new apple, crabapple and cherry trees in Sitka. A brief description of the project is available in the document posted below. To learn more about the project, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985 or 3akharts@acsalaska.net.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative brief project description

• Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative planting group to meet on Tuesday, Jan. 18

Apples are still on the tree in front of a house on Sawmill Creek Road in early December 2010.

Apples are still on the tree in front of a house on Sawmill Creek Road in early December 2010.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative planting work group will meet from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. All members of the public are welcome to attend.

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. The group just turned in an order of 40 “project” apple trees — 30 Williams Pride and 10 Pristine — with Garden Ventures. Penny Brown, owner of Garden Ventures, also has an order of 60 fruit trees coming for her regular supply.

A key agenda item will be updating the list of possible locations to plant the fruit trees. Several local residents already have expressed interest in purchasing trees to grow in their yards, and the group has worked with local businesses, churches and other landowners to see if they are interested in trees.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative continues to host fundraising events where Sitka residents can buy shares of fruit trees for $100 (full), $50 (half) or $25 (quarter). They also can buy shares in fruit-producing berry bushes ($25). The fruit tree shares make nice alternative gifts, and purchasers receive a certificate to give. To learn more, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart of the Sitka Local Foods Network at 747-5985. The gift information brochure is posted below as a PDF file.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Project gift information brochure

• Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative to meet on Monday, Dec. 13

Apples are still on the tree in front of a house on Sawmill Creek Road in early December 2010.

Apples are still on the tree in front of a house on Sawmill Creek Road in early December 2010.

Folks working on the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

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. The group just turned in an order of 40 “project” apple trees — 30 Williams Pride and 10 Pristine — with Garden Ventures. Penny Brown, owner of Garden Ventures, also has an order of 60 fruit trees coming for her regular supply.

In the meantime, the Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative continues to host fundraising events where Sitka residents can buy shares of fruit trees for $100 (full), $50 (half) or $25 (quarter). They also can buy shares in fruit-producing berry bushes ($25). The fruit tree shares make nice alternative gifts this holiday season, and purchasers receive a certificate to place under the Christmas tree. To learn more, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart of the Sitka Local Foods Network at 747-5985. The gift information brochure is posted below as a PDF file.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Project gift information brochure

• Sitka fruit tree shares to be sold at two markets this weekend (Dec. 3-5)

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative will be at two market/bazaar booths this weekend to sell shares in fruit trees that will be planted this spring in Sitka.

The group will be part of Linda Wilson’s jewelry booth (Booth 5 in the Exhibit Room) at the Sitka Artisans Market from 4-9 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday (Dec. 3-5) at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The fruit tree shares also will be sold at the St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church ECW (Episcopal Church Women) Christmas Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday (Dec. 4) at the Sea House behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church, 611 Lincoln St.

The Sitka Fruit Tree Initiative is selling shares in fruit trees as a fundraiser to get the money the group needs to purchase the 200 apple, crabapple and cherry trees it plans to plant in Sitka before the next Sitka Health Summit (Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2011). The tree shares will be sold as quarter shares ($25), half shares ($50) and full shares ($100). People also can buy a share in fruit-bearing bushes ($25 each). This is one of four community health priority projects decided at the 2010 Sitka Health Summit on Oct. 4-5, 2010.

Cherry blossoms at Blatchley Community Garden

Cherry blossoms at Blatchley Community Garden

People who buy shares in the fruit trees will receive a gift certificate that can be given as an alternate present this holiday season. The trees will be planted around town this spring, with the idea that not only will the fruit trees beautify Sitka but they also will provide people with a tasty treat as they walk by. Once the trees are planted and start bearing fruit, a portion of the fruit will be donated to local organizations that provide free or reduced-cost meals to people in need.

For more information, contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart of the Sitka Local Foods Network at 747-5985. For those who can’t attend this weekend’s market/bazaar, the PDF file posted below has information on how to order tree shares.

• Sitka Fruit Tree Project gift information brochure