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Are you ready to plant???

We have been waiting so eagerly to put our hands in the soil and grow…whether you started your plants from seed 😉 , purchased them from an Alaskan farm, garden center, Master Gardener plant sale or the Palmer FFA – plants need to be hardened off to your landscape prior to being transplanting.

What does this mean and why? For those plants grown indoors under lights or glazing (greenhouse coverings) they have enjoyed a lot of cotteling. Including but not limited too: constant consistent temperatures, timely watering, frequent feedings, reduced UV light exposure, minimal wind, limited pest pressure and lack of exposure to the soil ecosystem.

All of these protective measure have grown strong healthy plants but can they withstand the forces of nature on your landscape? If we take our juvenile plants and place them directly into the outdoor environment without a hardening off period, there may be some rather shocking impacts.

Suddenly plants that have adapted to a protective environment are now subjected to fierce drying winds, massive fluctuations in temperature, intense UV exposure, “pest” pressure and cooler soil temperatures. A period of gradual transition to their new home will allow for adaptation to occur so that they may thrive in nature.

Excluding the warm loving plants that may suffer tissue damage below 45F (tomatoes, peppers, squash, pumpkins, corn, dahlias, sunflowers, zinnias and others) many cultivated varieties can handle cooler temperatures. What they cannot handle is direct and immediate exposure to UV rays. Sunburn and sunscald are the most common concerns that will come up during this time of year.

Taking a broad focus to include as many plants as possible:

In a protective location out of the wind and direct light- away from pets, littles and wild animals

Start hardening off with time: setting plants out plants each day for a period of time (start with one hour and increase every day over a 10 day period)

Use directional hardening off: start in the North, move to the East, then to the West and finally the South

Increase watering and fertility: we want to give our plants the best chance at survival and the capacity to fend off “pests” and disease. Restricting food and water (although are adaptations in the wild) decreases a plants health and vitality. We are growing in managed ecologies with a goal of food production…our actions should reflect that.

Once your plants are in their new homes you may find that they are not looking so well. This is a period of adjustment as plants are taken from the current vessel that lacks all the biodiversity that living soil has to offer. Once transplanted, new relationships within the soil will begin to form with millions of microorganisms, fungi, bacteria, nematodes and protozoa. Your plant is now the new kid at school and it will take time for the root system to become part of an even bigger system. Help your plants through this phase with light feedings, warm water, staking and of course wind protection.

Once our trees fully leaf, the temperatures are consistently in the 60Fs and soil temperatures are above 50F…we will begin to see a massive influx of insects who are hungry! Will your plants be strong and healthy enough to fend off this initial pressure? They will because you have hardened them off 🙂

 

 

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Seeds and Soil

I cannot believe we are coming up on our 6th year! We have grown with over 600 Alaskans (and some lower 48 friends).

If you know someone that would benefit from our classes but may not have the means, please email me directly: seedsandsoilorganics@gmail.com. We do cap the number of participants in our classes and workshops. I provide “support” throughout the growing seasons to come and we have to ensure a full commitment to each of our class participants.

Our online classes are hosted on a teaching platform (non-zoom). Classes are about 2 hours long with the exception of the seed classes in which a recorded video lesson is the precursor. Each and every class is recorded and all presentation materials including the video are sent out within 24 hours of the event.

As I start designing the 2022 classes, workshops and coursework…I am reflecting on the old, ancient, ancestral, intuitive and natural growing methods that have been past down for thousands of years. Our upcoming classes will be vested in the ways of the old coupled with the lessons of an ever shifting and living growing space.

Below please find a deeper summary of the upcoming classes and some exciting events that are sure to please.

Our first class starts in September 2021- Home to Harvest. Join us as we share our processes on long term cold storage, our in home root cellar, how we preserve our flowers, vegetables and herbs for winter use. Everyone wants to know how we are cooking our harvested carrots in January- join us and learn how.

We have added Advanced Seed Starting to our Seven class series! We provide the seeds- 24 seed types including perennial edibles, vegetables, flowers and herbs.

The Spring Seed Starting class includes 18 types of seeds (supplying all the needs of the sub arctic garden). We add new varieties every year. We share everything we know about “how to grow, where to grow and how to save the seed”.

We have added Prepare for Planting as a core course as these are the most asked questions/answers/mistakes we have ever encountered. So much success can be gained in growing in the far North with proper bed preparation and balanced soil.

Of course Permaculture design (must), soil and soil amendments will lead the charge following Advanced Seed Starting.

We have an entire new series for 2022! “The Permaculture Series” will be defined and outlined by the end of July. Thank you to everyone who has emailed showing their interest.

We have some amazing guests to further our knowledge on an array of topics including animal husbandry, Advanced Permaculture design, mushroom cultivation and so much more.

Our hearts are full of gratitude. Thank you all for such an amazing journey…through seed and soil.

Here is the link for registration: https://seedsandsoilorganics.com/product-category/dec-2021-2022-classes/

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To soak or not to soak…that is the question (?)

The ecological relationship between seed and soil is like a symphony; there are natural cues that promote germination.

One of the major cues is moisture level! When the conditions are right, the seed will follow its own instinct and begin to swell. Once the seed coat is soft and moist the new seedling erupts into life.

The germination time for seeds varies greatly depending on the species. Some seeds can take years for germination (peonies) and others germinate in less than three days (cabbage family). We can use a mechanical force to speed the germination time (soaking).

Large seeds with hard coats (sunflowers, honeywort, peas, beans, corn and sweet peas) will appreciate a longer soaking- up to 24 hours.

Larger seeds with softer coats such as pumpkins, squash, chard, beets, nasturtium and cucumber are perfect to soak overnight.

Small seeds like lettuce, radish, carrots and tomatoes can become mushy and sticky if soaked too long (15-30 min) is appropriate.

Find a shallow bowl, place your seeds and top with water. Set away from pets, kids and spouses out of direct sunlight and in a warm location. Warm water is best but any water will do (what would nature do).

Once seeds have soaked and swelled…it is time to plant! Follow your seed packet guidelines for planting depth or reference our write up: https://seedsandsoilorganics.com/…/seed-starting-simply/

When in doubt…ask the question: What would nature do?

Alaska Sown-Alaska Grown

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What seeds are we starting this week

Chives!

One of my favorite “stacking” plants…chives have so many functions within the garden ecology and they are one of the easiest plants to grow with a little attention.

A hardy herbaceous perennial (zone 3 to 11) that serves as an edible perennial, pollinator attractor, biocontrol, cut flower, edible flower, self seeding plant that can be divided in the fall every 2-3 years. I don’t think it get much better than that.

We intensively plant chives around our Apple trees to outcompete the grass but to also attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

Start in flats or cell packs. Sow 1/4″ deep with germination occurring within 10-14 days. Once chives reach about 5″ in height, give them a nice trim to 2″.

Don’t forget to feed them every 3 weeks while growing indoors.

Yes! We do have seeds available: https://seedsandsoilorganics.com/product-category/shop-seeds/

Happy Growing!

Alaska sown-Alaska grown

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Garden Design Dreams

My dreams started in the garden…

I remember gazing over the blank slate each Spring with a vision of an overflowing edible cottage garden. A place where butterflies, bees and birds congregated to enjoy the landscape together.

It has taken a long time, a lot of labor, many costly inputs and laughable failures to arrive at my dream garden. When sized up to the space in which we grow seed and vegetables for our small farm business- my garden pales in comparison. Yet, I have a piece of refuge that is one of the most valued growing spaces on our landscape.

There are many other attributes to appreciate outside of girth. When I close my eyes in my garden I can hear the hum of life. I can smell the perfume of the flowers and the oils of the herbs. The song of the Pine Siskin echoes in my ears as a gust of the Palmer winds nearly knock me over. This space is a reflection of my spirit and I all the things I wish the world to be.

As we begin to design, outline and prepare for the growing season, I am drawn to my exceptional parterre and the moments of peace I will find there. I reflect on the tenets of garden design, color application and edible landscaping. It is apparent that we have borrowed these themes from the original architect.

The sun is returning and now is the time to observe all the charm that nature has to offer. The components of diversity, structure, shape and color are the details I would like to replicate into my garden.

I am incorporating more local flora to allow this cultivated space to transition seamlessly into the surrounding forest. As a mirror of my life I wish this space to be less structured and more wild and free.

Happy Dreaming!

Alaska sown-Alaska grown