• Sitka Local Foods Network to host Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event and Shane Smith presentation

2013 LGS Flier-Feb 11-13CBEDITMark your calendars as the Sitka Local Foods Network will host two big garden events Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, in Sitka.

The first event is a presentation by Shane Smith of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9,  in Room 229 of the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. The second event is the fifth annual Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian (don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour Saturday night).

Shane-SmithThe Sitka Local Foods Network is excited to bring Shane Smith to town to discuss gardens and greenhouses. Shane is the founder of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens and has been its director since 1977. Shane is the author of the Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, and he will be signing copies of his book. Shane received the American Horticulture Society’s 2012 Great American Gardener Award.

Shane also will have a booth at Sunday’s Let’s Grow Sitka event, which is an annual event designed to get Sitka residents excited about the upcoming garden season. 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.

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. There also will be a chance to learn from certified Master Gardeners, a chance to learn about greenhouses and high tunnels, an opportunity to buy seeds and seed potatoes, and there’s a scavenger hunt for the kids.

For more information, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings and weekends) or Cathy Lieser at 1-907-978-2572. Table space still may be available for people wanting to provide information about different types of gardening or gardening products/services available in Sitka.

The Sitka Local Foods Network thanks the City and Borough of Sitka, Shee Atika Corp., and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Diabetes Programs for their help in making these events possible.

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• Sitka office of UAF Cooperative Extension Service to host Master Gardener class

Bob Gorman, Extension Agent of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman, Extension Agent of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

The Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will host a Master Gardener class in Sitka starting on Thursday, March 7. This will be the last Master Gardener certification course offered in Sitka until at least 2015.

The course is a basic horticulture class covering such topics as soil and pest management, food gardening, greenhouses and season extenders, and plant propagation.

The purpose of the service learning class is to train community people who will provide 40 hours of Master Gardener-related community service in Sitka.

MG March 2013 SitkaThe class costs $150 including the manual, handouts, supplies, and instruction. The class consists of lectures, demonstrations, reading, laboratory exercises, videos and DVD’s. The instructor is Sitka-based UAF Cooperative Extension Service Agent Bob Gorman.

Preregistration is necessary. To register for the class go to http://bit.ly/ces-workshops or call 907-747-9440.

The class begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7,  and finishes April 18 with a final exam. Instruction is on six Saturdays and four Thursdays. Part of the Alaska Master Gardener and Southeast Alaska Master Gardener programs include public service, where Master Gardener students help with community gardening projects.

Students should be high school graduates, GED or similar education level. Home school and high school students are welcome.

For questions about the class or course content, contact the instructor at 907-747-9440.

• Sitka Master Gardener Class Syllabus, Spring 2013

• Sitka Master Gardener class press release

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service flier for Master Gardener class in Sitka

• UAF Cooperative Extension Service’s Bob Gorman to teach series of free classes on gardening in Sitka

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service shows some germinating seed starts during a free garden workshop on March 11, 2009.

Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will lead several free gardening classes starting this week and running through April.

Gorman will lead two classes this week — Wednesday night (March 2) on fruit trees and berry bushes and Thursday night (March 3) on basic food gardening. He also will lead four more classes about fruit trees and berry bushes on March 16, April 6, April 8 and April 27 (this last date may be rescheduled). All classes take place in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus.

The “Tree Fruits and Berry Bushes for Sitka” class at 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2, will cover recommended fruit trees and berries for Sitka, site selection and site preparation considerations. Basic tree fruit and berry bush cultivation will be discussed. An update on spruce needle aphid detection and control will be included.

The “Basic Food Gardening” class at 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, covers making soil from locally available products, container gardening, establishing and tilling a garden plot, variety and seed selection, starting transplants indoors, direct seeding, frost-free dates, extending the growing season and garden pest prevention. UAF Cooperative Extension Service publications will be available.

The topics for the final four classes are:

  • Wednesday, March 16 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Growing Berry Bushes in Sitka
  • Wednesday, April 6 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Managing Garden Soils
  • Friday, April 8 (6-8 p.m.) — Prune It Now
  • Wednesday, April 27 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) — Planting Trees, Shrubs and Transplants (class may be rescheduled).

Bob Gorman is the Sitka District Extension Agent for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service and teaches the Alaska Master Gardener certification course to garden volunteers in Sitka (the course features 40 hours of horticulture classes and 40 hours of volunteer work in local garden projects). Before moving to Alaska in 1991, Gorman worked three years in berry crop research and four years in commercial fruit tree production.

To learn more about these classes, call the UAF Cooperative Extension Service office in Sitka at 747-9440 or 747-9413, or just show up since the classes are free.