Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

TIPS ON GARDENING AND JUMP-STARTING AT THE MARCH MEETIN

January 28, 1991

Sue Adamas-Green had the following advice for starting your garden this spring. Study your microenvironment, and make your plants compatible. For instance, sweet soil varieties should be grown with other sweet soil varieties. Some fruits like lots of sunlight, others thrive in partial shade. To minimize weeds, try raised bed plantings.

Flowers, fruits and vegetables can be intermingled to have an aesthetic effect. Let the flowers get “front billing” and the fruit bushes, brambles and vegetables appear more ornamental.

Be aware of weather and the particular sensitivity of individual trees and plants; windbreaks may have to be devised; fruit trees can scald in hot spring sunshine, and the trunks can benefit with protective wrappings. Water out of the tap comes out at 35-40 degrees F, so use warm water. Soil in Anchorage yards tests at about 55 degrees F. Avoid further chills from cold water. Eighty degree water is acceptable. For some beds, heat tapes may be used to warm the soils.

To aid seed germination, Sue uses a lot of clear plastic. Churn and turn the garden soil as a jumpstart technique before planting. For season-long aeration. Sue and husband Richard raise earthworms. They aid in composting, enrich the soil with castings and generally put nutrients back in the soil.

In hardening-off young fruit trees, place in planter with roller casters and store in garage or coder area of the house in winter, rolling them outside for increasingly longer periods as the days grow warmer.

—Erik Simpson