• UAF Cooperative Extension Service to host two-part workshop on Sitka gardening

Bob Gorman, Extension Agent of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman, Extension Agent of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman with the Sitka District office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will host a two-part informative class on Mondays, April 21 and 28, about the unique challenges of gardening in Southeast Alaska. He also will host a workshop on Tuesday, April 22, about sustainable wood heat options for rural Alaska. All classes will take place at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

The two-part class about Southeast gardening will include topics such as selecting and starting seeds, transplants, grow lights, greenhouses, growing media, and managing garden soils. These are the last three workshops Bob will teach before he retires after a long career with the UAF Cooperative Extension Service in Sitka.

  • Monday, April 21, 7-8:30 p.m., UAS Sitka Campus Room 229, “Extending the Growing Season.”
  • Tuesday, April 22, 7-8:30 p.m., UAS Sitka Campus Room 106, “Sustainable Wood Heat.”
  • Monday, April 28, 7-8:30 p.m., UAS Sitka Campus Room 106, “Garden Soils.”

For more information, call the Sitka District office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440.

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• UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s Bob Gorman to teach series of free classes on gardening in Sitka

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will lead several free gardening classes starting this week and running through April.

Gorman will lead two classes this week — Wednesday night (March 2) on fruit trees and berry bushes and Thursday night (March 3) on basic food gardening. He also will lead four more classes about fruit trees and berry bushes on March 16, April 6, April 8 and April 27 (this last date may be rescheduled). All classes take place in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus.

The “Tree Fruits and Berry Bushes for Sitka” class at 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, will cover recommended fruit trees and berries for Sitka, site selection and site preparation considerations. Basic tree fruit and berry bush cultivation will be discussed. An update on spruce needle aphid detection and control will be included.

The “Basic Food Gardening” class at 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, covers making soil from locally available products, container gardening, establishing and tilling a garden plot, variety and seed selection, starting transplants indoors, direct seeding, frost-free dates, extending the growing season and garden pest prevention. UAF Cooperative Extension Service publications will be available.

The topics for the final four classes are:

  • Wednesday, March 16 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Growing Berry Bushes in Sitka
  • Wednesday, April 6 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Managing Garden Soils
  • Friday, April 8 (6-8 p.m.) — Prune It Now
  • Wednesday, April 27 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Planting Trees, Shrubs and Transplants (class may be rescheduled).

Bob Gorman is the Sitka District Extension Agent for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service and teaches the Alaska Master Gardener certification course to garden volunteers in Sitka (the course features 40 hours of horticulture classes and 40 hours of volunteer work in local garden projects). Before moving to Alaska in 1991, Gorman worked three years in berry crop research and four years in commercial fruit tree production.

To learn more about these classes, call the UAF Cooperative Extension Service office in Sitka at 747-9440 or 747-9413, or just show up since the classes are free.