Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Okay, So A Bit About My Garden / Goals

Hi again!

So, a little bit about my little Urban "Farm".  I have a 27,000 sq. ft. lot on the East end of Anchorage, AK.  The house sits well towards the road, and all around there are stands of trees in my neighbors (and my) yards.  We are occasionally visited by Black Bears, more often by Moose - and the orange stray cat that haunts the neighborhood.  This year we were also visited by a pair of mallards (which I'll admit I fed when they were around).  Stellar Jays and Magpies come by regularly, and the occasional Bald Eagle or Raven will check things out.  I've even seen a small grey fox in the area once.  We haven't seen a grizzly yet, but my neighbors assure me that they do roam the neighborhood now and again.

Currently I have a small fenced garden for my vegetables, about 20' x 10', 9 raised beds with roughly 3' of walking space between.  (Yes, I promise, I'll post pictures later.)  I also have a small unprotected plot of strawberries, and soon will have some raspberries.  I've got a large rhubarb plant at the front of the house.  I've got plans in the works for chickens - the laws were recently changed here making them legal.  I'm still plotting how I want a henhouse to look, and where exactly in the yard to make thier home. 

I've also been putting in a perennial garden this year, and adding to my bulb garden at the front of the house.  I still have a few pine trees to plant, some fencing to replace, and some more work to do to prepare a place for a pretty large lilac, but that's about the size of what I have right now.  Plans are in the works for the future projects, and every year I'll add more until I get the garden just where I want it.  Clemetis for chain link fences is my next game.  I'd really like to get a few different kinds growing along the dog run fence. 

Last year, before the vegetable garden was fenced, we lost most of everything to hungry Moose.  The problem with Moose is that there isn't a good way to stop them if they want your crop badly enough.  The trick I've found is to introduce things they can reach that they like more.  Or make sure that nothing in your yard is a Moose attractant.  The store sells sprays and deterents, but I've never found one that works - not even wolf urine makes them pause. 

For some reason the Bears have not been interested in my yard - probably because I don't put any meat or bones in my compost.  Fish bones get ground in the food processor after baking dry, and then buried in my blueberry patches. 

Composting in Alaska - that's a topic for another blog post.  It isn't easy, but once you get started it can work very well.  I actually need to refine my system again - I just learned of another trick that is supposed to work miracles. 

Well, later gardeners!  Don't let the rain get you down, it's getting your peas up!!

All right Gardeners!

So, this is not my first blog, (I think it's my third) and I'll admit, I'm not good about posting on a regular basis.  Mostly because I never know what to post about.  So I'm trying something a little different - I'm going to chronicle my gardening experiences in Alaska, and hope that someday the information is useful to more than just me. 

That being said, it's a rainy July day here in Anchorage.  I haven't taken pictures of the garden since I fenced it to keep the moose out, and I haven't taken pictures of my new perennial bed (it's so empty right now).  But I will, and then I'll post them, and it will be cute!

Notes on my vegetables: I have 9 planter boxes, most of which are 3 feet x 3 feet.  Starting in the back left corner, I've planted potatoes, pumpkins, (blueberry bush between boxes), carrots, chives, (currant bush between boxes), parsnips, brussel sprouts, (blueberry bush between boxes), snap peas, cucumbers, lettuces (4 different varieties), scarlet runner beans, dill, coriander, parsely, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, sage, yellow squash, and zucchini.  Currently the only things really struggling are the basil and the beans, though the cucumber isn't doing so well either. 

Future note: If I'm going to plant cucumbers or squashes outside at the top of June, I need to make cold frames for them.  The cucumbers probably need it most of the season, it just doesn't get warm enough here.  Beans I'm better off planting from seed - the plants I got at the nursery did not fare well.  Herbs did much better when I purchased them rather than starting from seed - only the Sage made it from seed, and the purchased plant did much better than any I started.

The pumpkin might still get a cold frame around it - it's struggling a bit with the cooler weather, though it did great when it was warm.  We'll see, I'll just keep an eye on it.

The birds have not found my husband's strawberries yet (it's the first year they are in, so they might not find them at all).  I'm going to have to plan ahead to save them from the Stellar Jays, though.  I'm devising a plan for small boxes to keep them safe as they ripen - we'll see what happens. 

I also need to prune back the wild roses, move in a few more ferns, and gather up a pile of raspberry bushes from a friends' house and move them in. 

All in all - lots of gardening work left to do this year!  See you out in the dirt!