UAF Cooperative Extension Service updates Alaska’s Sustainable Gardening Handbook

Sustainable Gardening 2015 cover

Alaska’s Sustainable Gardening Handbook” has been updated.

This publication was first produced in 2010 as an adaptation of “Sustainable Gardening: The Oregon-Washington Master Gardener Handbook” and this is the first revision. It is used as one component in Master Gardener training programs for University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service volunteers in Alaska, but is also a must-have for all Alaska gardeners.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service agriculture and horticulture agents have contributed their expertise to provide information on topics such as basic botany, lawns, vegetable gardening, orchards, entomology, pest management and more.

Call 877-520-5211 (toll-free in Alaska) to order the handbook, or check with Jasmine Shaw of the Sitka District Office at 747-9440 to see if she has any copies available locally. The 490-page book costs $50.

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• Start now in your fight against slugs and snails

Ah, springtime in Southeast Alaska, when the weather is moist and chilly. If it’s springtime in Southeast, it means it’s time for garden slugs, the bane of every Southeast gardener.

Now is the time to fight slugs, even if you haven’t planted yet as you wait for final frost in May. Slugs get into gardens in the spring, and this is when they are laying their eggs (and both male and female slugs can lay eggs). If you don’t fight the slugs now, the problem will be worse in the summer when your garden starts growing. Slugs eat the plants in your garden, and if uncontrolled they can do considerable damage to your crops.

Charlie Nardozzi, who writes the Edible Landscaping page on the National Gardening Association’s site, recently posted a good article on how to control slugs and snails. Most of his hints work in Alaska, though some people say the Southeast rain makes beer traps less effective here than in dryer climates.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has several publications with information on controlling pests such as slugs. One good reference is the Gardening in Southeast Alaska booklet (click link for free download as a PDF file). Another good reference, written by Sitka-based Resource Development Agent Robert Gorman, is the publication “Slugs” (click link for free download as a PDF file).

Fran Durner, who used to write the Talk Dirt To Me blog for the Anchorage Daily News, wrote a post about slug control a couple of years ago that included a picture of slug eggs so people could get them out of their gardens before they hatch. Fran also wrote a post about using dryer lint to deter slugs. Julie Riley of the Anchorage office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service also wrote an article for the Anchorage Daily News with tips on how to control slugs that gardeners in Southeast might find helpful.

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service publishes new sustainable gardening manual for Alaska

(The following is a press release from the University of Alaska Fairbanks news service)

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has published a new comprehensive gardening manual.

“Sustainable Gardening: The Alaska Master Gardener Manual” was adapted for Alaska from an Oregon State University publication, “Sustainable Gardening: The Oregon-Washington Master Gardener Handbook.”

The 490-page manual, which sells for $40, is a basic gardening text. It also offers information on soils and fertilizers, propagation, berry crops, pruning, composting, flowers, greenhouses and season extenders, lawns, plant diseases, pesticides and integrated pest management. The manual is a good resource for home gardeners and also will be used as one component in Extension’s master gardener training programs.

Michele Hebert, Extension’s Tanana District agriculture and horticulture agent, was one of several people who contributed to the manual. She said gardeners need additional information to overcome the challenges and capitalize on the benefits of growing vegetables and flowers in the Far North.

The manual focuses on sustainable gardening practices, a holistic method for growing plants that is good for the environment, good for families and good for the community, said Hebert. “It takes a minimal input of labor, water, fertilizer and pesticides while building the soil into a healthy living system. A thoughtful balance is made between the resources used and the results gained.”

Other contributors to the manual include current and former Alaska Extension faculty Stephen Brown, Jeff Smeenk, Tom Jahns, Robert Gorman (of Sitka), Fred Sorensen, Julie Riley, Heidi Rader, Bob Wheeler, Peter Bierman and Jay Moore. Copies may be ordered through Extension’s toll-free line at 1-877-520-5211 or by clicking this link.

(The Alaska Public Radio Network ran this story about the book on the Tuesday, Sept. 7, Alaska News Nightly show.)