• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publishes ‘An Alaska Herb Garden’

Herb-Book-cover_Page_1

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has published a comprehensive Alaska guide for herb enthusiasts.

“An Alaska Herb Garden” features information about cultivating, harvesting, storing and using herbs. The 74-page guide includes color illustrations, recipes and detailed information on 25 herbs and general information on nearly 40 more.

The guide is a collaboration between the UAF Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgeson Botanical Garden. The garden’s director, professor Pat Holloway, wrote the section about cultivating herbs, which includes research conducted by the garden and by volunteers.

The publication is dedicated to Barbara Fay, a longtime gardener who taught community herb classes in Fairbanks for more than 20 years. She worked with Holloway on herb research at the garden and enlisted other gardeners to join her and tend the herb beds.

Fay’s notes and class materials formed the guide’s framework. Extension home economist Roxie Dinstel and two of Fay’s fellow herb enthusiasts, Virginia Damron and Marsha Munsell, provided information on preserving and storing herbs, edited the guide and tested recipes.

Holloway said the guide will be a great asset to gardeners and others interested in growing and using the herbs. She credits Fay.

“This is her idea, her baby,” she said. “She is the one who got us all riled up about herbs.”

Copies are $15 and available online at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service website, at local UAF Cooperative Extension Service district offices, or by calling (toll-free in Alaska) 1-877-520-5211. The Sitka District Office is on the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, and it can be reached at 747-9440.

• Lori Adams discusses herbs she has grown in her latest Daily Sitka Sentinel garden column

(Lori Adams, who owns Down-To-Earth U-Pick Garden and is a frequent vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market, will be writing a regular garden column in the Daily Sitka Sentinel this summer. 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, Sept. 12, 2012, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel.)

GARDENING IN SITKA

By Lori Adams

HERBS I HAVE GROWN

Herbs are a fun addition to the garden and do not take up very much space. I do not have vast experience growing herbs, but each year I learn a little more and now have an area in the garden that is set aside exclusively for herbs. When I can’t start them from seeds I buy them as starts from Penny out at Garden Ventures.

CHIVES: Every Sitka garden should have a clump or two of chives, they are so easy to grow and seem to love our climate. They look beautiful, taste delicious and attract beneficial insects for pollination. Chives are perennial so don’t bother with seeds, just get a division from a friend or neighbor. Each year your clump will get bigger and bigger and soon you will be looking for someone to share your divisions.  They grow in any type of soil but grow much larger and healthier if mulched with compost spring and fall. Chives can be harvested at any time (they taste like mild sweet onion). Simply grab a handful and cut them off three inches above the ground. The flowers are edible but the stems they grow on are extremely tough and fibrous. If your clump starts to look ragged and  turns brown, just cut the entire thing down three inches above the ground and it will start to send out tender new blades.

FRENCH SORREL:  This is the first year I have grown sorrel and I am in LOVE with it. It is a hardy perennial that multiplies quickly with deep roots and has a decidedly lemon flavor.  It can be planted by seed, but I recommend you buy a start or get a division from someone that is growing it in their yard. Sorrel can be harvested at any time, simply cut the stems to harvest the leaves. Do not take more than a third of the leaves at any one time. I use sorrel to make a pesto that is delicious with fish. Do not let the plant flower, if it does just cut the stalk off and throw it away.

OREGANO:  I have had pretty good luck with oregano.  It is an annual here with only rare instances where it survives the winter.  I usually start mine from seed indoors and transplant out in April.  There are several different varieties which range from bitter to sweet.  To harvest just cut a stem close to the ground and harvest the whole sprig.  To cook with it snip the leaves off and throw the stem away.

DILL:  Dill does okay here, and on a good year can grow quite large.  I grow two types, one for flowers and one for foliage.  Start seeds indoors in March.  The seedlings can get tall and unmanageable but once transplanted in April seem to straighten up and grow strong.  To harvest foliage just cut the ferny sprigs free from the stalk, mince and use.  It’s great with fish and cooked carrots and cheese balls look beautiful covered with it.  The flowers are used for pickling and look beautiful in flower arrangements.  If the flowers are left on the plant to go to seed it is possible they’ll reseed themselves the following spring.

STEVIA:  Stevia is a curiously strong flavored sugar substitute that does well here most years (it didn’t do well this year for me).  Fresh out of the garden it is 15 times sweeter than sugar.  It can be started from seed indoors in March and transplanted outside in April with cover.  Harvest the leaves, mince and add to fruit salad or iced tea.  It tastes stronger by the end of the summer, almost bitter, and will not survive the winter.

MINT:  Mint is EASY to grow but is invasive so plant it in a pot that is lined with landscaping cloth.  You can start it from seed, but almost every garden in Sitka has a patch of mint so get a start from a friend or neighbor.  Although it will grow in any soil it will be more lush and healthy if you feed it with compost spring and fall.  To harvest just cut a sprig loose at ground level.  Use leaves fresh or dried and discard the stems.

PARSLEY:  Parsley does well in Sitka.  I grow both the flat and the curly varieties.  Start seeds indoors in March and transplant outdoors in April using 12-18 inch spacing.  The flat parsley is an excellent green to mix in salads that tastes a lot like strong celery.  The curly parsley is even stronger and is used mostly for garnish.  I have noticed that parsley does really well in partial to full shade, especially the curly variety.  In full sun the leaves are tightly curled and in partial shade they seem to loosen up and look more lush.  To harvest just snip the outside sprigs from the plant leaving the center to continue to grow.

BASIL:  My customers always ask for basil but I have had many challenges trying to grow it.  As a rule it does not do well outside, but I have had some survive in pots right next to the house.  The red variety seemed to be the hardiest.  It is just best to grow it indoors.  Start seeds in March and be sure to keep the seedlings warm.  Transplant to bigger pots as needed.  My biggest problem has been aphids.  The soap/water treatment did not take care of the problem but I found some very effective organic insecticidal soap that I am going to use from now on — really it is the difference between having basil or not, so I am using the spray.  Wait to harvest any basil until the plant has grown at least four sets of true leaves.  Then pinch out the tops just above the second set of leaves to encourage the plants to branch out.  There is just nothing like the aroma of fresh basil.  There is a big demand for it here in Sitka so if you have the room please consider growing it to sell at the Sitka Farmers Market.

SAGE:  Sage can survive for several years before it dies.  It is another one of the herbs that can run from bitter to sweet depending on variety.  A mature sage plant is sort of like a small shrub with woody branches.  I recommend buying a start rather than planting seeds.  In the spring when you see new growth, prune the plant to remove dead branches and encourage new tender growth for harvesting.

OTHER HERBS: I have grown rosemary and thyme and they have done okay. I know there are some creeping thymes that do well here for ground cover.  I hear people talking about the chervil they are growing but I have no experience with it at all. Cilantro grows great here for about a month and then all it wants to do is bolt, bolt, bolt.  You have to cut it down many times to keep it producing and then it has mosly small leaves. Comfrey does well but be sure you want it — it gets quite large, spreads easily and has deep, deep roots so it will probably be there forever.  Someone recently gave me a horseradish start so I guess it grows here too.  I hear it has a deep invasive root system and the roots are the part of the plant used during harvest so I think I will grow it in a pot.  If you have an herb that does well here that I did not mention please let me know.

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/

• Make plans for the second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer this Saturday (July 30) at ANB Hall

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK  Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member Doug Osborne, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Co-Director Mandy Griffith, right, present the Table of the Day Award to Dave Nicholls, second from left, and Charlotte A. Vanchura Candelaria of Sitka Sea Salt during the first Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, July 16, 2011, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Sea Salt is a new business that will manufacture sea salt for chefs and restaurant use. Dave and Charlotte received a tote bag full of bread, veggies and other prizes from the market. The next Sitka Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2011, at ANB Hall. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member Doug Osborne, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Co-Director Mandy Griffith, right, present the Table of the Day Award to Dave Nicholls, second from left, and Charlotte A. Vanchura Candelaria of Sitka Sea Salt during the first Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, July 16, 2011, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka, Alaska. Sitka Sea Salt is a new business that will manufacture sea salt for chefs and restaurant use. Dave and Charlotte received a tote bag full of bread, veggies and other prizes from the market. The next Sitka Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, 2011, at ANB Hall. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

The second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.), and this market promises to be bigger than the first one.

This will be the second of five full Sitka Farmers Markets this summer, with the schedule running on alternate Saturdays (July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27 and Sept. 10). The markets feature local seafood (fresh, frozen, and cooked, ready to eat), locally grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, baked bread, locally picked berries, jams and jellies, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, locally brewed and roasted coffee, music, local arts and crafts, and a variety of other items gathered or made in Sitka. We emphasize local products and lots of fun. We are the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept WIC coupons. You also can vote for the Sitka Farmers Market in the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest by following the links at https://sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/2011/07/06/%E2%80%A2-don%E2%80%99t-forget-to-vote-for-the-sitka-farmers-market-in-this-year%E2%80%99s-america%E2%80%99s-favorite-farmers-markets-contest/.

According to Sitka Farmers Market Manager Linda Wilson, there will be a lot of new booths at this market who weren’t around for the first one. So far, the tentative vendor list looks like this:

INSIDE:

  • Raven’s Peek Roasters – roast coffee, specialty nuts
  • Food Demonstration
  • Amanda Hershberg – cupcake bar
  • Alaskans Own – frozen fish
  • Gimbal Botanicals – teas, beach asparagus
  • Down to Earth U-Pick Garden – produce, plants, flowers
  • Sarah Williams – Athabascan handcrafts
  • Syliva Falk – hand crafted jewelry
  • Charlotte Candelaria – Sitka Sea Salt
  • Dave Nichols – locally produced music on CD
  • Kiki Norman – glass jewelry
  • D.J. Robidou – graphic art
  • Backbay Botanicals – wildcrafted herbal remedies and lotions
  • Kelly Tidwell – jewelry made from wild gathered items
  • Bobbie Daniels – angora rabbits, small animal feed
  • Tamara Conaster – jewelry, produce, baked goods
  • Episcopal Church Women – frozen black cod
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters – non-profit
  • Sitka Food Cooperative – new food co-op sign-up information
  • Bonnie Bell Baker – home made aprons and sewn items
  • Evening Star Grutter – produce, jam
  • Teruvina – baked goods, bread
  • Sandra Greba – art and crafts
  • Joella Swanson – local beach stone and metal clay jewelry
  • Charles Bower – local author
  • Braveheart Volunteers – nonprofit
  • Lisa Teas – art
  • Jennifer Ihde – art, crafts
  • Dianna Raymond – jam, jellies
  • Bridget Kaufman – bread, baked goods

OUTSIDE:

  • Sitka Local Foods Network/Sitka Farmers Market – produce, rhubarb jam, logo t-shirts
  • Kerry MacLane – grilled black cod
  • Grace Larsen – fry bread
  • Kari Johnson – crepes
  • Marivic Carbonez – Filipino food
  • Marcelino Mabalot – prepared foods
  • Judy Johnstone – produce
  • Mandy Griffith – baked goods
  • Baranof Island Brewing – root beer, logo items, baked goods from spent grain
  • Mary Todd Anderson – coffee

 

For more information about the market or hosting a booth, contact Sitka Farmers Market Manager Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings or weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com. By the way, we always need volunteers to help set up and take down the market before and after the event. Your help is greatly appreciated.

• July work parties set for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host work parties from 2-4 p.m. each Saturday in July at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (if there isn’t a Sitka Farmers Market scheduled that Saturday).

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). The communal garden is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street.

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 summer’s work parties. Laura said the work parties will be kid-friendly and there will be several activities to keep the kids busy.

To learn more about the garden work parties, please contact Laura Schmidt at 623-7003 or 738-7009. To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Markets, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (nights or weekends) or by e-mail at lawilson87@hotmail.com.

• June work parties set for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host work parties from 2-4 p.m. each Saturday in June at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm.

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). It is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street.

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 summer’s work parties. Laura said the work parties will be kid-friendly and there will be several activities to keep the kids busy.

To learn more about the work parties, please contact Laura Schmidt at 738-7009.

• Time changes for Saturday’s planting party at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

St. Peter's Fellowship Farm sign

The time has changed to 1-3 p.m. for the planting party on Saturday, May 14, at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm. The times also have changed for the next two planting parties, from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 and 28.

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). It is located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street.

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.

• St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm work party scheduled for Wednesday, May 4

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.