Summer Gardening Workshop Building raised beds and growing healthy plants in interior Alaska Sponsored by Solitude Springs Farm
Why plant a garden? • Fun and rewarding • Peace and quiet • Time for relaxation and meditation
Is gardening in Alaska difficult • Alaska presents its unique set of challenges to the gardener: • Climate: cold winters/short, cool summers • Soils: cold, acidic, poor drainage? • Pests: few, but include moose, rodents, aphids • Weeds: fireweed, swamp marigolds, lambs quarters, siberian pea (introduced), horsetail, vetch, native grass • Diseases: few, but include mildews (host specific), ?
Alaskan Benefits • Long summer days • Beneficial except for plants prone to bolting • Cool temperatures • Promotes beautiful flowers (Holland) • Root crops are sweeter • Leafy vegetables are sweeter • Summer rain • Reduces watering requirements
Popular plants • Flowers – most annuals and many perennials • Vegetables • Outside: carrots, potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, beets, lettuce & other greens, spinach, onions • Greenhouse: cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant • Plants take longer to mature than indicated on seed packets!!!!
Overcoming difficulties • Long days and bolting: plant early and again late in season • Cold/acidic soils: plant in raised beds • Cool summers: use a greenhouse • Moose: electric fence or a dog • Diseases: mildews – sulfur spray or 1 tbsp each baking soda, vegetable oil, dish soap • Preventative
Raised Bed Construction • Use pressure treated lumber, redwood, or cedar for long life • Can also use untreated wood, logs, stone, bricks • Other ideas: • http://carryongardening.org.uk/files/documents/How to build raised beds final_Nov08.pdf
Raised Bed Construction • Using 4x4 end posts and 2x6 side boards • Height > 12 inches, Width =< 3ft, Length = any • Most plants require about 12 inches for proper root growth • Widths greater that 3 ft make access to center difficult • Length: remember you have to fill the thing!! • End posts should extend at least 4 inches below to anchor bed in position, ?? Extend above??
Raised Bed Construction • Materials: • 1 – 4”x4”x8’ pressure treated lumber • Cut into four equal pieces • 6 – 2”x6”x?’ pressure treated lumber • 2 – 2”x6”x10’ pressure treated lumber • Cut into six-3 ft long pieces • 1 – 2”x4”x8’ pressure treated lumber • Cut into two 24 inch long pieces • Deck screws, drill, ⅛” drill bit, screwdriver, shovel, 4’ wide weed cloth, soil, compost/manure
Raised Bed Construction • For beds > 8ft long: attach vertical pieces of 2x6 in center of long sides from top of top board to 8 inches below bottom board (stabilizers) • Drill pilot holes to avoid splitting wood • Use coated screws for long life • Lay weed cloth under bed to prevent grass/weeds from growing up into bed • Hardware cloth (optional) for burrowing animals
Raised Bed Construction • Use square to orient side boards to 4x4s • Build long sides and then attach with short sides. • Place bed upside down in final location and mark perimeter • Move bed and dig holes for end posts, center stabilizers (beds > 8 ft long and (optional) trenches for side boards
Raised Bed Construction • Place weed cloth and (optional) hardware cloth where bed will sit • Place bed right side up in final location and fill around end posts and stabilizers with dirt • Be sure to cover weed cloth with dirt to prevent decay and damage • Fill bed with mix of soil, potting mix, and compost/manure in roughly equal proportions • 10’x3’x12” bed will require 30 cubic feet (1.1 cubic yards) of material
Planting and Care • Raised bed frame should be maintenance free for years • Contents require annual addition of organic matter – to maintain 12 inch depth • Annual weeding and fertilizer applications • Can use synthetic or organic fertilizers • Weeding just has to be done! • Weekly watering during dry periods (or more often, depending on soil used)
Planting and Care • Enjoy the plants you grow in your new raised bed!!!!!!
Gardening Q & A • Topics: • Soil amendments, sun exposure • Fertilizers • Flowers: varieties • Vegetables: varieties • Fruits: varieties • Pests: animals, insects • Diseases: mildews – powdery, boytritis • Frost protection • Other issues??
Raffle • Raised bed • Gardening gloves • Seeds • Gift certificates • More
Sponsor • Brought to you by Solitude Springs Farm • Check out our seedling sale in late May and early June • Produce sales from July through September • http://www.solitudespringsfarm.com