• It’s time to … mark your calendars and get ready for spring with these garden education classes (UPDATED)

 

Winter blahs got you down? Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2015 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese free classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to learning about fruit tree pruning, composting and seed-starting. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Also, we may be adding more classes to this list as they become available, so check the website for updates. We plan to post individual class announcements as we get closer to the actual class dates. (NOTE: The list of classes was updated on Jan. 21.)

And now, here’s the list of classes so far:

  • Vegetable Gardening 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 27, Harrigan Centennial Hall, teachers Michelle Putz and Linda Wilson, class tailored for beginners, no preregistration required.
  • Choosing What Veggies to Grow in Sitka — 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 3, Harrigan Centennial Hall, teachers Lisa Sadleir-Hart and Maybelle Filler, class tailored for beginners, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 4, Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, no preregistration required.
  • Fruit Tree Pruning Basics Workshop — 10 a.m., Saturday, March 7, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church), teacher Jud Kirkness, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 11 a.m., Saturday, March 14, at the home of Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz (131 Shelikof), teachers Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 31, Harrigan Centennial Hall, teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, class limited to 15 people, preregistration required.
  • Seed-Starting Basics — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 11, call for location (Michelle Putz, 747-2708), teacher Linda Wilson, class limited to 8-10 people, preregistration required.

These classes will kick off a year-long series of education classes on a variety of topics related to vegetable gardening in Sitka. Our garden mentor program classes also will be open to the public. For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

In addition, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service teaches several classes that can be accessed from Sitka. The UAF Cooperative Extension Service is hosting a five-session class on Feb. 3, 5, 10, 12, and 17 on starting and operating a specialty food business in Alaska, and it will host an online Alaska Master Gardener course from Feb. 17 through May 18. These also will be announced on our website when they become available.

• Winter/Spring 2015 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• 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.

• 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.

• It’s time to … prune your fruit trees workshop on Saturday, March 22

RedApplesKCAW

The Sitka Local Foods Network reminds you that it’s time to get out in the garden and prune your fruit trees. Jud Kirkness will present a free, short, on-the-ground fruit tree pruning workshop at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 22, at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm (located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street). 

Due to limited space, those interested in participating need to pre-register by calling Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will be hosting a series of “It’s time to …” workshops this spring and summer designed to help local residents with various aspects of vegetable gardening and fruit growing. Many of these classes will be informal get-togethers at various gardens around town.

In addition, don’t forget the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee will meet from 5:30-7 p.m. on Monday, March 17, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to discuss future workshops and classes for the upcoming spring and summer.

We are still looking to expand our network of local volunteers who can teach classes (formal and informal) this year about growing food, so please attend if you’re interested. If you can’t attend, 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.

• Tour de Coop, a chicken tour of Sitka takes place on Oct. 27 in honor of National Food Day

Have you always been curious about what it takes to raise chickens in Sitka? Several of Sitka’s chicken coop owners will host the Tour de Coop — a guided walking tour of chicken coops at four homes in the Biorka neighborhood in honor of Food Day. This event features two tours starting at 11 and 11:45 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, from the Baranof Elementary School playground parking lot (from the Market Center side).

During the guided walking tour, participants will learn chicken how-to basics from Sitka residents who are raising chickens for eggs and meat. Participants will learn the basics of raising chickens from chicks, what types of chickens do best in Sitka’s climate, what types of feed to use, how to build a coop, and how to protect the coop from bears and dogs. This tour is family friendly and interactive, fun guaranteed.

The Tour de Coop is brought to you by the Sitka Local Foods Network, Sitka Conservation Society, Sitka Food Co-op, and Food Day. Food Day, which is Oct. 24 each year, is a national celebration and movement promoting healthy, affordable and sustainable food. For more information, contact Jud Kirkness at judkirkness@yahoo.com or call the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509. (Editor’s note: The KCAW-Raven Radio Morning Interview on Friday, Oct. 26, featured Jud Kirkness and Ellen Frankenstein being interviewed by Holly Keen about the Tour de Coop and other food issues in Sitka.)

• Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event is Sunday, March 11, at ANB Hall

Mark your calendars, because the 2012 “Let’s Grow Sitka” gardening education event opens at noon and runs until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall on Katlian Street. Don’t forget to set your clocks to spring forward so you can get ready to grow.

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. Sitka Local Foods Network Vice President Linda Wilson, who is coordinating the event with SLFN Board Member Cathy Lieser, was interviewed during the Morning Edition show Thursday on KCAW-Raven Radio and she provided more details about this event (click the link to listen to the interview), which helps Sitka residents get excited about the upcoming garden season.

There will be a wide variety of individuals and businesses with booths for the event, with some booths providing gardening information geared toward and others selling gardening supplies. Lunch will be available for purchase. Here is a tentative list of some of those planning to host booths:

  • Linda Wilson, Sitka Farmers Market, Grow a Row for the Market
  • Cathy Lieser, Let’s Grow Sitka, Sitka Local Foods Network
  • Doug Osborne. Sitka Local Foods Network?
  • Johanna Willingham, Pacific H.S./Sitka Farmers Market backup.
  • Jud Kirkness, Sicka Waste compost project, Fruit tree map
  • Tom Hart, compost, NZ composter ?
  • Kerry MacLane. Pest management
  • Lisa Sadleir-Hart. St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm
  • Laura Schmidt, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm/Seed swap & share
  • Maybelle Filler, ???
  • Stanley Schoening, Chickens, fig trees, UAF Cooperative Extension Service
  • Judy Johnstone, High Tunnel program
  • David Lendrum, Guest speaker 3:15, info on new/unusual varieties for Southeast Alaska
  • Jeren Schmidt, Sitka Spruce Catering, lunch for purchase
  • Robert Gorman, UAF Cooperative Extension Service, history of Experimental Station
  • Andrianna Natsoulas, Food Sovereignty
  • Tracy Gagnon, Sitka 4H Club
  • Eve Grutter, Chickens, produce
  • Adam Chinalski, Model greenhouse
  • Penny Brown, Garden Ventures – products for sale
  • Amanda Grearson, True Value – products for sale
  • Lowell Frank, Spenard Building Supply Garden Center ??
  • Michelle Putz, Locally grown environmental benefits?
  • Rick Peterson, Gardening 101 – easiest to grow, need to amend soil, etc…
  • Lori Adams, Down-to-Earth U-Pick Garden – garden promotion and information
  • Mike Tackaberry/Robin Grewe, White’s Inc. – products for sale
  • Mandy Summers, Pacific High School
  • Kelly Smitherman, National Park Service – garden at Bishops House, etc…
  • Lisa Teas, Sitka Farmers Market art debut
  • Florence Welsh, Forget-Me-Not Gardens, local garden booklet, possible plant starts
  • Hope Merritt, Gimbal Botanicals herbal teas – info on wild herbs and herbs to grow

Right after the three-hour Let’s Grow Sitka event ends, guest speaker Dave Lendrum of Juneau will speak at 3:15 p.m. on “New Vegetable Varieties, Small Fruits, and Ornamentals for Southeast Alaska.” Lendrum is a landscape designer who just finished a two-year term as president of the Southeast Alaska Master Gardener Association and with his landscape architect wife, Margaret Tharp, owns Landscape Alaska.

Dave’s life has evolved in partnership with the natural world. He grew up in California on an organic u-pick vegetable farm, learning horticulture from his parents and the 4H club. He did nursery work and continued his post-college adventure in Ecuador by starting a fresh market produce business. After being a city horticulturist at the Eugene (Ore.) Parks Department, Dave started his first nursery, Western Oregon Perennials. A few years later, he found himself in a high-temperature photosynthesis lab at Stanford. In the Pacific Northwest, Dave restored old estate gardens. When he heard Alaska’s call, he moved north to Elfin Cove. Dave and his wife started Landscape Alaska in Juneau 28 years ago. They design and build landscapes on every scale and have won numerous awards both locally and nationally. In addition, Dave is the landscape superintendent for the University of Alaska Southeast and the Southeast representative on the statewide invasive species organization (SNIPM).

For more information about Let’s Grow Sitka, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings, weekends) or lawilson87@hotmail.com, or Cathy Lieser at 978-2572. The two event fliers for this event are posted below as Adobe Acrobat files (PDF files).

• Main flier for 2012 Let’s Grow Sitka event

• Flier for Dave Lendrum presentation after Let’s Grow Sitka event ends

• Sam Benowitz to give free presentation tonight (Monday, May 24) about growing fruit in Sitka

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

Sam Benowitz of RainTree Nursery in Morton, Wash., will be in Sitka to give a free presentation tonight about how to grow fruit in Southeast Alaska.

The presentation takes place at 7 p.m. tonight (Monday, May 24) at Harrigan Centennial Hall. His Sitka presentation will be about about selecting, growing, and maintaining fruit trees, berry bushes and other edible landscape features.

Benowitz is the founder of RainTree Nursery, and he frequently gives presentations in Washington and Alaska about how to grow fruit trees. In Sitka, it’s possible to grow several varieties of apples and a couple of types of cherries. For more information, check out the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association site. There also are a multitude of berries that grow around Sitka, including many wild varieties and cultivated types such as raspberries and tayberries.

Cherry blossoms at Blatchley Community Garden

Cherry blossoms at Blatchley Community Garden

Benowitz was one of the keynote speakers at this past weekend’s Southeast Alaska Gardeners Conference and Garden Tours event in Juneau, and he agreed to offer a free presentation when he passed through Sitka on his way home to Washington.

For more information about tonight’s presentation, contact Jud Kirkness at 738-3254 or by e-mail at judkirkness@yahoo.com.

• Sam Benowitz to give free presentation about growing fruit in Sitka

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

A cluster of Parkland apples (photo from the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association gallery, http://www.apfga.org/)

Sam Benowitz of RainTree Nursery in Morton, Wash., will be in Sitka to give a free presentation about how to grow fruit in Southeast Alaska.

The presentation will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 24, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. His Sitka presentation will be about about selecting, growing, and maintaining fruit trees, berry bushes and other edible landscape features.

Benowitz is the founder of RainTree Nursery, and he frequently gives presentations in Washington and Alaska about how to grow fruit trees. In Sitka, it’s possible to grow several varieties of apples and a couple of types of cherries. For more information, check out the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association site. There also are a multitude of berries that grow around Sitka, including many wild varieties and cultivated types such as raspberries and tayberries.

For more information, contact Jud Kirkness at 738-3254 or by e-mail at judkirkness@yahoo.com.