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Gardening

Fabulous summer gardens are planned in winter. Check these sites for inspiration.

  • Author: Jeff Lowenfels
    | Alaska gardening
  • Updated: January 21
  • Published January 21

In keeping with my idea that January is information-gathering time when it comes to Alaska gardening, here are some more offerings to consider. This is the best time to look at garden possibilities and get information you will need to prepare for the upcoming season. And, well, in this time of COVID-19, it’s a time to simply dream a little bit of being outside, doing your favorite thing.

Let’s start with a catalog that sends out newsletters and has a great website. I meet the owners of Terroir Seed at a conference in Arizona and have been on the mailing list for their sister company, Underwoodgardens.com. The newsletters will be of interest even to Alaskan gardener, and have a really nice selection of heirloom seed. Throughout the site are lots of good advice pieces, just like in the emails I get periodically from them.

Next, you know spring isn’t too far away when friend and Alaska dahlia king, Robert Wells of Hatcher Pass Dahlias, starts accepting orders for his Alaskan-grown dahlia tubers. They are not ready to ship, of course, but you should get your order in nonetheless. He is also available to answer dahlia questions you may have.

OK, someone wanted to know if Best Cool Seeds has a relationship with Denali Seeds. They do. Best Cool is the online storefront for Denali. This is an Alaska-based company. If they sell a seed, it will grow in Alaska. Their racks will be up soon, but why wait?

Next, I’ve been asked for catalogs of autoflowering cannabis seeds. I hope I am wrong, but there seems to be a dilemma here regarding Alaska’s needs-fixing legalization statute. It only allows one to buy “marijuana” — we need to change the name of the statute to stop using that racist term — from a state-licensed retailer. And, the definition of marijuana — wrongly — includes seed. So, if I am reading it right, you can only legally buy cannabis seed from a legal, Alaska dispensary.

Until we figure out a legal way around this knot, you can still look at the pictures available from out-of-state sources. If so, check out Mephisto Genetics’ site — which may be partially closed, but full of information — or Google “Mandalorian Genetics,” which is carried on many sites, all of which have lots of varieties to look at and articles to read. And again, let’s get our Legislature to fix both the name of cannabis and this aspect of the statute. After all, we are allowed to grow six plants.

Enough of that! How about a site or two for purchasing trees and shrubs for Alaska yards? You all know my problem with introducing new trees and shrubs to Alaska. I am against it. So, it is wonderful to see a great selection of material from right here. Check out Seed ‘n’ Tree, a real home-grown tree farm in Palmer. They were formerly only wholesalers, but are now open for retail purchases by homeowners.

Speaking of Alaska sources, Alaska Hardy is the digital presence for Fritz Creek Gardens, which is located in Homer. Check out their tree and shrub offerings. Using my native-only criteria may not work well here, but at least avoid getting spreaders.

Have I left out any Alaska sources that should be or want to be mentioned?

Finally, I suppose I should do a column on Zoom classes and the like that are applicable to gardening. Look no further, however, than the Alaska Botanical Garden’s offerings. There is a virtual workshop on houseplants Jan. 28 and one on dahlias on Feb. 4. You can learn how to make a garden journal on Feb. 18 and attend the annual spring conference on March 4 and 5. Zoom!

Jeff’s Alaska garden column

Alaska Botanical Garden: Join. Attend classes via Zoom. Visit. Take a look at alaskabg.org

Light: We are picking up an astonishing amount of daylight, thankfully, again. Turn plants.

Pelargoniums: Shape those kept growing this winter, and allow them to flower, which they will in a few weeks.

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