Gardening

Sabine Poux/KDLL

When Toni Loop started working on building a community garden in Nikiski, the price of lumber was a lot lower.

Before the pandemic, she could cover all the costs with a $3,500 grant she had from the Alaska Farm Bureau. But lumber costs have skyrocketed during COVID-19, due to supply shortages and high demand. 

Still, Loop is charging ahead with the project and plans to open it this summer. She wants a garden for people who don’t have their own at home.

Snow might still be on the ground but spring isn’t far away. When we get there, gardeners need to have their planting plans ready. Here’s some food for thought — growing native edible perennials. Local vegetables, if you will. Didn’t know there was such a thing? Shawn Jackinsky, of Green Cannon Gardens in Ninilchik, can tell you all about it. This is a “Know Your Lands” presentation from the Homer Soil and Water Conservation District. Find more of their presentations on their Facebook page.

Farmers Almanac

New gardeners who sprouted green thumbs during the pandemic will soon face their first Kenai frost.

Night-time temperatures could dip into the high 20s this week in the Kenai-Soldotna area. For the scores of newbies who just started gardening during the pandemic, this might mean learning to clean up outdoor beds, bring plants inside and prep early for next spring.

Aspiring gardeners everywhere used this stay-at-home summer to get planting for the first time, with Alaskans especially reaping the benefits of the long summer days. Renae Wall, secretary of the Central Peninsula Garden Club, said there’s been increased activity in the club’s Facebook group, where local gardeners commiserate about the approaching cold and share advice about transitioning to fall.

“Really, the preparation is just dealing with all your harvest,” Wall said. “That’s the fun thing about talking to other gardeners, is finding out how they put away their harvests. You can do it in a root cellar, you can blanch and freeze, you can dry, you can pickle, there’s lots of different creative ways people do it and add their own variety.”

The plants are in the ground and produce is already popping up at Central Peninsula farmers' markets. During this special Spring 2019 Fundraiser program, host Jay Barrett talks with three local farmers about what it takes to grow such delicious bounty.

Join this month's Kenai Garden Talk to celebrate Alaska Agriculture Day, get a jump on local foods with a look at some spring harvestables and hear about an initiative to offer more agriculture opportunities in the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

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