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Posts Tagged ‘Gardening in Southeast Alaska’

There is one spring garden class left on this year’s schedule, but the date has been changed. The “Everything You Need To Know About Trees” class taught by Jud Kirkness now will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Friday, May 26, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

The class is free, but donations to the Sitka Local Foods Network will be accepted.

For more information about the class, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520. Other classes may be added at a later date if we find volunteers to teach them.

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For 26 years, Mollie Kabler and Kitty LaBounty have taken to the KCAW-Raven Radio airwaves during the spring months to broadcast The Garden Show.

This year there’s a major change to the show, as the show doesn’t have a designated time slot and so will be a pop-up show as they fit episodes around their travel plans and the radio station schedule. In past years the show aired from April through June, or longer into the summer if work schedules permit. Kitty has a regular music show (Hometown Brew) from 2-4 p.m. on Thursdays, and many of the half-hour Garden Shows may take place during her program.

Garden Show topics include timely tasks for gardening in Southeast Alaska, taking on-air questions, and themes around basic and more advanced gardening of vegetables, flowers, fruit, trees, etc. For example, on the pop-up show on Thursday, May 6, Kitty interviewed Keith Nyitray of Finn Island Farm about the vegetables and plant starts he grows in the Kasiana Islands near Sitka.

Mollie and Kitty each have been gardening in Sitka for more than 26 years, and they also have significant gardening experience from their childhoods in Wisconsin (Mollie) and Oregon (Kitty). They both are certified as Master Gardeners, after completing the class series offered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

To call the show with gardening questions, call 747-5877 and ask to be connected to the show.

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Need help with pest management? Would you like to have an integrated pest management professional visit your farm or production area to discuss new and established pests?

Janice Chumley, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program tech with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, will be visiting Sitka the first week of June to work with growers one-on-one on pest issues (NOTE: This date has been changed due to illness). These consultations are free of charge.

Sitka District Office administrative assistant Jasmine Shaw is setting up individual appointments for Janice during her visit to Sitka in early June. If interested, please fill out the following form to set up an appointment, https://form.jotform.us/71097060928157.

Janice also will give a public presentation on Common Pests in Greenhouses at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 5, in Room 229 of the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. This presentation is free and open to the general public. For more information, contact Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440 or jdshaw2@alaska.edu.

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Want to learn how to grow your own food? Are you new to Sitka and want to learn what veggies grow in our town? The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee has a list of free 2017 spring garden classes that can help you learn what to do and when to do it so you have a healthy garden.

This spring, all of our classes except one will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursdays at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). Each week will feature a different topic, and all classes are free (donations to the Sitka Local Foods Network will be accepted).

The class schedule is as follows:

  • Gardening in Sitka 101March 30, taught by Michelle Putz
  • Cottage Foods Business BasicsApril 6, 6-8 p.m., Room 106, University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, taught by Sarah Lewis and Nina Vizcarrondo, in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service
  • Growing Potatoes in SitkaApril 13, taught by Kathy Kyle
  • Extending Your Garden SeasonApril 20, taught by Kerry MacLane
  • Container GardeningApril 27, taught by Joshua Andresky
  • Raising ChickensMay 4, taught by Joshua Andresky, Nina Vizcarrondo and Brinnen Carter
  • Everything You Need To Know About TreesFriday, May 19, taught by Jud Kirkness
  • Growing Garlic in SitkaDate TBA (toward the end of the summer), taught by Jennifer Carter

For more information about the classes, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520. Other classes may be added at a later date if we find volunteers to teach them.

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SLFN 1 Gardens

LoriAdamsDownToEarthUPickGardenTruckDown-To-Earth U-Pick Garden will be changing formats in 2017. It will no longer be a u-pick garden open to the public and will become a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program where local residents can subscribe and receive regular boxes of fresh veggies, berries, eggs and other items.

“After eight years of business Down To Earth U-Pick Garden will no longer be open to the public,” Lori wrote in an email. “Starting this year we will be selling weekly CSA shares to a select group of customers who are committed to supporting locally grown food.”

At this time, Lori said she has 20 subscribers to get through her first season and isn’t looking for new subscribers. She didn’t say if she will continue to have a booth (or farm truck) at the Sitka Farmers Market this summer to sell extra produce. Her book, Gardening in Southeast Alaska, is still available at local book and garden stores.

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GreensLowTunnelAtStPeters

Do you grow vegetables or fruit or want to? Would you like to meet and learn from other gardeners in Sitka and visit their gardens?

Then come to Sitka Local Foods Network’s informal, unofficial Garden Club meeting from 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, at the home of Suzanne Shea, 105 Toivo Circle. This is a chance for Sitka gardeners to share successes and discuss problems they may be having with their gardens. Appetizers will be provided.

Participants will decide the next location and club meeting date (so bring your calendars). For more information, contact Suzanne at 747-3220.

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JasmineShawUAFCooperativeExtensionService

The announcement that the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will keep its Sitka and Anchorage offices open, means Jasmine Shaw, right, will continue to staff the Sitka office instead of the office being closed.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will keep its offices in Sitka and Anchorage open instead of closing them under a new plan developed by Extension leaders this summer.

The plan means the Anchorage office will move to a new location and become an outreach center rather than a district office. Outreach centers have no Extension agents, but offer Extension publications and face-to-face and distance-delivered programs led by agents from other district offices. Classes also will be taught by program staff and by community experts. Services at the Sitka office will be relatively unchanged, but operations will be mostly grant funded.

In May, the university announced a plan to close both the Anchorage and Sitka offices by the end of October due to budget shortfalls. This summer, office and classroom space with another university program became available and Extension received some additional grant funding. Those changes allowed the university to re-examine the decision to close the offices.

“We knew that the closure of these two offices would be a loss to the Sitka and Anchorage communities,” said Extension director Fred Schlutt. “We are pleased that these new developments will allow us to have a physical presence in these communities.”

The Anchorage office will move to the Chugachmiut Tribal Consortium Building at 1840 Bragaw St. It will share space with the Mining and Petroleum Training Service, a former UA statewide program that was transferred to Extension in July. The new office will have classroom space and use of the university’s videoconference network. It will house grant-funded faculty and staff with a specific focus, including, an invasive plants instructor, integrated pest management technician and a nutrition educator. Extension is planning to seek additional funding for a program assistant to coordinate Extension offerings in the area.

As was previously planned, the three Anchorage Extension agents have been transferred to vacant positions at the Fairbanks and Soldotna offices. The Extension economist will also move to a new office at the Matanuska Experiment Farm.

The Sitka office, which has not had an agent for two years, will continue to have a program assistant (currently Jasmine Shaw), who will coordinate Extension activities in the community and offer programming. The Sitka office helps coordinate statewide videoconference training in Sitka, assists the Sitka Conservation Society in coordinating the Sitka Spruce Tips-Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club, helps with education programming at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, and provides other services, such as pressure canner gauge testing.

Schlutt told the Alaska Dispatch News that between grants and having the University of Alaska Southeast providing office space, costs for the Sitka office are less than $5,000 a year in state general funds. “If we can keep a rural office open for under $5,000, we’ll do it every time,” he said.

Other Extension reductions have included layoffs, the elimination of four open agents’ positions and a 15 percent reduction to its operating budget.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service FAQ’s about keeping Anchorage, Sitka offices open

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