Cucumber News

There will be no cucumbers. Those starts died shortly after being transplanted out into the garden. They’ve never done well—we still need and don’t yet have a greenhouse—but I usually try anyway.

2013 Gardening Tidbits to Date

  • I was late starting seeds due to spring caretaking at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge.
  • Spring took its time coming to AK. We had snow and freezing temps in May.
  • After a pretty lousy garden last year, I had my soil tested and discovered that my typically acidic Alaska soil is just on the alkaline side of neutral. Surprise! And while phosphorus and potassium levels were “very high,” nitrogen was “very low,” so I added bloodmeal this year, and the difference is huge.

Bok Choi flowering

  • After a week of spring at the end of May, summer hit hard with temps reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit more than once. Spinach and bok choi bolted right out of the starting gate.
Lettuce, radishes, chard, bok choi, kale, and rhubarb from the garden.

The first major harvest of 2013 included lettuce, radishes, rhubarb, bok choi, chard, and kale. The chard, half the kale, and some of the rhubarb are in the freezer for winter use.

  • I’ve been eating fresh herbs since mid June and had arugula, spinach, and beet-green salads by the end of June. I had my first major harvest a couple of weeks ago, bringing in lettuce, radishes, rhubarb, bok choi, chard, and kale.
  • I had my second big harvest last week, bringing in and processing collards, kale, and rhubarb. A few days ago, I brought in more chard and kale. I pick lettuce, spinach, radishes, and green onions as needed and available. Oh, and I picked three turnips recently, too.

Three small strawberries

Now we’re all caught up and I can just post little tidbits as they arise. For instance, I just harvested strawberries for the first time, not counting the one I ate yesterday.

It’s going to be a sad year for strawberries. Last October, the temperature got very cold and we had no snow. What I call the “domestic” strawberries froze and didn’t come back. These are the big, pretty red strawberries. The “native” strawberries survived. Yay, hardy AK strawberries! They are small and not so red, but they are survivors, producing and reproducing. And they taste like strawberries.

A few of the domestic plants are coming back, and we will rebuild from there (I hope), but it’s going to be a light strawberry year.

I know: I should mulch the strawberries to protect them. Maybe I will. Or not. This is the only winter it’s been a problem, after all. There’s a lot of strawberry territory to cover. What material would I use, and where would I get it? How’s this mulch going to be removed next spring? What will I do with it then?

It’s funny: I am in some ways a very attentive gardener; there are no weeds in the main garden beds. In other ways, I demand my garden plants be hardy and survive sometimes harsh conditions, like freezing winters and long dry spells in the summer when I’m out and about, not home watering. Go figure.

We’ll see what happens. We do like strawberries, so I’ll make some sort of effort.

Categories: Alaska, Gardening

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