Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

From the Editor’s Garden

January 23, 2007

By Tami Schlies

 

A Haiku

Dog tracks in the house

leading from the kitchen door.

Spring in Alaska

 

That seems to be about all I have seen of spring at my house so far this year.  The Siberian squill, crocuses, daffodils, and tulips are late coming up (they have shown their heads finally the week of April 23!)  Though the beds are dry enough to plant peas, the biting wind keeps making me hesitate, telling myself to wait until the birch tree in back starts showing a little green tip.  At least the greenhouse is keeping my green thumb from sulking too much.

 

The addition of a pair of piglets to the farm has also kept my mind off the chill weather, though “walking” them every day is quite a chore.  They must be cane trained for my son’s 4-H project to enter the auction at the fair, and a 25 pound piglet can run pretty fast!  They have tilled up the soil in their yard, making me want to move them out and plant something there, but I suppose they need somewhere to root around.

 

I am still waiting to see what last November did to my grafts from last year.  I didn’t get around to mulching my pots, and I wonder if the severe cold did them in.  There are a few with buds that seem to be swelling, so I have hope for the rest.

 

Does anyone have an organic remedy for preventing imported currant worms?  I had a few on the bushes last year and hand picked them, but they managed to defoliate one plant.  My chickens love the worms when they get big enough to bother with, but I would like to maybe prevent the worms from appearing this year.

 

And does anyone have a good way to manage gooseberries?  Mine seem to want to flop over onto the ground, and then the stems end up breaking off at ground level.  I am growing Jahn’s Prairie, and wonder if perhaps I ought to switch cultivars, even though the berries on these are wonderful.  Suggestions for pruning and / or staking would be fantastic.