Learn how to make homemade wine with local fruit on July 6

WINERY

RhubarbWine1Rhubarb is one of the easiest plants to grow in Sitka, and some years there are plenty of berries and apples growing around town. So what do you do with all the extra local fruit, after you’ve already made as many pies and jams and other recipes as you can handle? You can make homemade wine.

Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz, who are members of the Bags For Change group in Sitka, will teach their annual homemade wine-making class at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 6, at their home (address and directions will be given to people who register for the class). This fun and informative beginner’s class will teach people how to use locally grown fruit — such as rhubarb, apples or berries — to make wine. This class will offer simple wine-making tips, techniques, tools, and will feature Perry and Michelle’s award-winning rhubarb wine recipe.

This class is free and open to all adults age 21 or older. Space is very limited and this class fills up fast. Please pre-register to assure your spot in the class. Pre-registration closes at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 3. For more information, or to register for the class, please call Michelle at 747-2708. The class is free, but Perry and Michelle will accept donations for Bags For Change.

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Sitka Tribe, U.S. Forest Service plant Tlingít potato garden for community

(Photo courtesy of Klas Stolpe/Juneau Empire) Bill Ehlers, assistant gardener at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, holds a Tlingít potato next to some of the potato plant’s flowers.

The U.S. Forest Service-Sitka Ranger District and Sitka Tribe of Alaska will join forces again on Friday, April 20, to create an educational opportunity and traditional food source for community members. Forest Service staff and the tribe will share how to grow Tlingít (sometimes called Maria’s) potatoes, and share the biology, history, and cultural aspects of these interesting potatoes.

Since 2017, the Sitka Ranger District has provided a sunny plot of land to serve as the shared potato garden and provided the seed potatoes to plant the garden. The Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program and the gardening class from Pacific High School assisted on the project, and will again this year. But community involvement is also needed. Volunteers are asked to bring boots, gardening gloves, and shovels. Five gallon buckets of kelp to incorporate into the soil would be beneficial as well. Members of the community who help tend the shared garden may receive more than gratitude as their reward.

“Last fall we shared the harvest among those helping out and through the Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program. We’ve been growing and naturally enhancing our soil this spring, so this year we hope the crop is even larger,” District Ranger Perry Edwards said. “This project teaches people how to grow and sustain a traditional food, while supporting the need for food security among Sitka families. It’s also a fun and very sustainable way to celebrate Earth Day.”

Tlingit potatoes have been present in Tlingit gardens for over 200 years. The potatoes originate from Mexico or Chile* and were a trade item in Southeast Alaska in the early 1800’s.

The first work day and educational opportunity will be from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 20, at the Sitka Ranger District office, located at 2108 Halibut Point Road. For more information, contact Michelle Putz at 907-747-2708 or mputz@fs.fed.us.

*Zhang, Linhai with Charles R. Brown, David Culley, Barbara Baker, Elizabeth Kunibe, Hazel Denney, Cassandra Smith, Neuee Ward, Tia Beavert, Julie Coburn, J. J. Pavek, Nora Dauenhauer and Richard Dauenhauer. Inferred origin of several Native American potatoes from the Pacific Northwest and Southeast Alaska using SSR markers. Euphytica 174:15-29

Sitka Ranger District, Sitka Tribe to harvest Tlingit community potato garden

(Photo courtesy of Klas Stolpe/Juneau Empire) Bill Ehlers, assistant gardener at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, holds a Tlingít potato next to some of the potato plant’s flowers.

The community is invited to help harvest the Sitka Ranger District/Sitka Tribe of Alaska Tlingit potato garden and learn scientific and cultural information about the unique crop at 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 25, at the USDA Forest Service Sitka Ranger District office, 2108 Halibut Point Road.

Leading Tlingit potato researcher Elizabeth Kunibe will join the group to present information on the biology, history, and cultural aspects Tlingit potatoes. Topics will include harvesting potatoes, learning to store potatoes for seed and for food, preparation for next year’s garden, and the cultural aspects of Tlingit potatoes and native gardening.

The Sitka Ranger District provided the sunny plot of land for the shared potato garden and tended the garden over the summer after volunteers from the Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program, the gardening class from Pacific High School, and others from the community planted the potatoes in April.

Community involvement is needed for the harvest. Participants should come prepared for the weather as all activities will occur outdoors. All of the attendees are asked to wear boots, gardening gloves, and bring hand trowels or shovels. Bringing buckets of kelp to incorporate into the soil after harvesting would be beneficial.

The potatoes will need to be dried and prepared for storage. Many of the potatoes harvested will be saved for next year’s seed potatoes, Depending on the size of the harvest, the group hopes to share the harvest among the volunteers and through the Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program and Social Services.

Tlingit potatoes (sometimes called Maria’s potatoes) have been present in Tlingit gardens for over 200 years. The potatoes originate from Mexico or Chile and were a trade item in Southeast Alaska in the early 1800s.

This work day and educational opportunity will be at the Sitka Ranger District office, located at 2108 Halibut Point Road. For more information, contact Michelle Putz at 907-747-2708 or mputz@fs.fed.us. For interviews and information to be used for publication, contactthe Tongass Public Affairs Officer Paul Robbins at 907-228-6201 or paulrobbins@fs.fed.us.

Tlingít potato garden being readied for community of Sitka

(Photo courtesy of Klas Stolpe/Juneau Empire) Bill Ehlers, assistant gardener at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, holds a Tlingít potato next to some of the potato plant’s flowers.

The U.S. Forest Service-Sitka Ranger District and Sitka Tribe of Alaska have joined forces to help create an educational opportunity and traditional food source for community members.

The two groups will show how to grow Tlingít potatoes, and tell about their biology, history and cultural aspects.

The Sitka Ranger District is providing a plot of land to serve as the shared potato garden. The Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program and the gardening class from Pacific High School will assist on the project, but community involvement also is needed.

Attendees should bring boots, gardening gloves and shovels, and (if possible) five-gallon buckets of kelp to incorporate into the soil. The first work day and educational opportunity is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14, at the Sitka Ranger District office, 2108 Halibut Point Road.

Organizers said that members of the community who help tend the shared garden may receive more than gratitude as their reward.

“We hope to share the harvest among those helping out, and possibly share potatoes through the Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program and Social Services,” Sitka District Ranger Perry Edwards said. “This project will teach people how to grow and sustain a traditional food, while supporting the growing need for food security among Sitka families.”

K’únts’ — sometimes called Maria’s Potatoes — have been present in Tlingít gardens for more than 200 years. The potatoes originate from Mexico or Chile and were a trade item in Southeast Alaska in the early 1800s.

For more information, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or mputz@fs.fed.us.

Sitka Local Foods Network to launch informal garden club for Sitka gardeners on July 15

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Do you grow vegetables or fruit or want to? Would you like to meet and learn from other gardeners in Sitka and visit their gardens?

Then come to Sitka Local Foods Network’s first informal, unofficial Garden Club meeting from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, July 15, at 131 Shelikof Way. This is a chance for Sitka gardeners to share successes and discuss problems they may be having with their gardens.

Perry Edwards and Michelle Putz will share their garden and homemade wine (if you are older than 21). Participants will decide the next location and club meeting date (so bring your calendars). If parking looks tight, please walk up from SeaMart. For more information, contact Michelle at 747-2708.

• It’s time to … learn how to grow your own food this spring with the Sitka Local Foods Network

 

SLFNSpringGardenClasses2016B

Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter weather? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2016 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to extending your gardening season, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a class on abundant landscaping, plus classes on growing rhubarb and potatoes. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Most of the classes are free, but we accept donations. There is one class on starting seeds with a minimal materials fee, but you’ll take some plant starts home.

We already hosted two classes (on vegetable gardening 101 and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka), but there still are several classes coming up this spring. We will 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.

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

  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 10 a.m., Saturday, March 19, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof Way), teacher Kerry MacLane, the class will explore various methods for protecting your plants and lengthening the growing season, no preregistration required. (NOTE: THE DATE AND TIME OF THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM WHAT ORIGINALLY WAS ANNOUNCED.)
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, space limited, $10 materials fee, preregistration required.
  • Abundant Landscaping — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2,  at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Jud Kirkness, a hands-on approach to the “nine-layer forest garden” methodology, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn the basics of composting your own soil, no preregistration required.
  • Growing Potatoes In Sitka — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 23,  at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.

In addition, we’ll be launching our new downtown teaching garden as we get closer to growing season and all of those classes will be open to the public. Feel free to help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee plan new programming at its next monthly meeting, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell).

• Spring 2016 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)

• It’s time … get ready for spring vegetable gardening with classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network

SLFNSpringGardenClasses2016

Thinking about your garden, especially with our warm winter weather? It’s time to mark your calendars with several upcoming Spring 2016 garden classes offered by the Sitka Local Foods Network Education Committee.

GreensInHoopHouseStPetersThese classes will cover a variety of topics, from gardening basics and choosing what veggies to grow in Sitka to extending your gardening season, composting and seed-starting. But wait, there’s more. There’s also a class on abundant landscaping, plus classes on growing rhubarb and potatoes. Some of the classes have limited space and require preregistration, so sign up early. Most of the classes are free, but we accept donations. There is one class with a minimal materials fee.

We will 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.

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

  • Vegetable Gardening 101 — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 27, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Michelle Putz, class tailored for beginning gardeners, no preregistration required.
  • Choosing What Veggies to Grow in Sitka — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Lori Adams, class tailored for beginning gardeners or gardeners new to Sitka, no preregistration required.
  • Extending Your Gardening Season — 2 p.m., Saturday, March 12, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof Way), teacher Kerry MacLane, the class will explore various methods for protecting your plants and lengthening the growing season, no preregistration required.
  • Starting Vegetable Seedlings Workshop — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 23, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn how to start seedlings and go home with a tray of planted seeds, space limited, $10 materials fee, preregistration required.
  • Abundant Landscaping — 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2,  at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce St.), teacher Jud Kirkness, a hands-on approach to the “9-layer forest garden” methodology, no preregistration required.
  • Growing and Fertilizing Rhubarb — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 9, at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.
  • Everyone Can Compost — 6:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, at Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off Spruce Street), teacher Jennifer Carter, learn the basics of composting your own soil, no preregistration required.
  • Growing Potatoes In Sitka — 9 a.m., Saturday, April 23,  at the Perry Edwards/Michelle Putz home (131 Shelikof), teacher Michelle Putz, no preregistration required.

In addition, we’ll be launching our new downtown teaching garden as we get closer to growing season and all of those classes will be open to the public. Feel free to help the Sitka Local Foods Network education committee plan new programming at its next monthly meeting, from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street).

For more information or to sign up for classes requiring preregistration, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520 or 1-850-491-2666 (cell).

• Spring 2016 garden education classes from the Sitka Local Foods Network (opens as PDF)