• Check out the May 2015 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

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The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the May 2015 edition of its newly launched monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This edition of the newsletter has brief stories about how Sitka was Alaska’s original garden city back in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, an update on upcoming Sitka Local Foods Network education programs, an update on the Sitka Farmers Market’s new manager, and a reminder about the Plant a Row for the Hungry program. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the registration form image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will not share our email list with others to protect your privacy.

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• Check out the April 2015 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

SLFN April 2015 newsletter screenshot

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the April 2015 edition of its newly launched monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This edition of the newsletter has brief stories about how to build a simple raised garden bed, the Plant a Row for the Hungry program, our open manager and assistant manager positions for the Sitka Farmers Market, some upcoming garden mentor program and other free garden classes, and the 2015 Pick.Click.Give. fundraising campaign. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the registration form image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will not share our email list with others to protect your privacy.

• It’s time to … learn how to build a simple raised garden bed

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While we’re waiting for spring to finally show up in Sitka, one thing gardeners can do to prepare for planting is build a simple raised garden bed. The pictures with this post feature members of the WISEGUYS men’s health group (Rick DeGroot, Kerry MacLane, Doug Osborne and his daughter, Darby, then 4) building a garden bed in May 2008 at Blatchley Community Garden in Sitka.

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First, you will need some untreated lumber (treated lumber has chemicals that can get into your food), with 2x12s being good for the frame. Your garden bed will probably be between 3-4 feet wide and 6-8 feet long, depending on your garden space and your lumber. Don’t go much wider than four feet, because you will want to be able to easily reach across the garden so you can plant and weed without falling into the bed. You can go longer than eight feet, but you might need to use more than one board to get that length. So cut your boards to your desired length and width.

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Next, lay out your lumber and nail or screw your boards together to form a box. Some people prefer screws over nails, because they don’t pull loose as easily as nails. But use what you have. Some people will add corner posts that can be punched into the ground.

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After you’ve built the frame, cover the ground with a bunch of old cardboard or newspapers. This will act as a barrier to help keep weeds from getting into your veggies.

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Now you can start filling your frame with soil. About halfway through filling the frame, you can add a layer of seaweed, compost or other soil amendments to add nutrients to your soil. Finish by adding top soil that you mix with some of your soil amendments.

 

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Once you have your raised garden bed built and full of soil, you can start planting (if you’re past your last-frost date, which tends to be mid-May in Sitka). Once you have your seeds planted or starts transplanted, you can water your garden bed.

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In Sitka it’s always a good idea to use row-cover over your garden, especially early in the season. This not only helps keep birds and other pests out of your garden, but the white fabric creates a mini-greenhouse effect that helps warm your soil so your seeds sprout sooner.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publication on raised bed gardening

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publication Gardening In Southeast Alaska

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publication Southeast Alaska Garden Varieties