The garden is a Memorial Garden, a garden of benevolence, garden of love. It is a gift to our community from the God of Love, Jesus the Christ. The first “seeds” for our garden have come from members of the congregation and a designation from the congregation’s memorial funds. These seeds have brought us to the beginning of a journey that will last for many years. Guided by the Holy Spirit we will plow forth until row upon row of our work is accomplished and our community is better nourished. The Lord invites you all to be part of His work on earth strengthening and feeding His children. The garden is made possible by generous donations from the community, a Domestic Hunger Grant from the ELCA World Hunger, generous support by the congregation of Lutheran Church of Hope, and support from the Alaska Synod of the ELCA.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Seed Catalogs

Between church and the house I get about a four or five inch stack of  "seed" catalogs every year. I put seed in quotes because these catalogs are so much more than just about seeds. They will tell you how much seed to buy. When to plant. How long 'til harvest. What you should start indoors. What you can direct seed. What type of soil you need for a specific seed. What pH you need. They will tell you many, many, many more marvelous things about gardening.

They also provide climate information. Remember climate is long term. They do not provide weather information you will have to get the from the computer, newspaper, radio, or television. You can find out your climate zone, most of Anchorage is zone 4a. Though 40 years or so ago Anchorage was zone 3. There are micro-climates in the city that are lower and higher, the lower the zone number the colder the climate. The catalogs make suggestions on what to plant. What varieties or cultivars would be best for your location or zone. However, they often do not consider our cold soils. That does make a difference in germination. It also effects how quickly things grow after germination. Many plants like to have "hot feet", warm roots. Unless you make something to warm the soil dramatically these plants won't do well.

One thing I have found even in my short time gardening, our long periods of sun and general daylight in the summer allow gardeners in Anchorage to grow things that some would not consider for our climate. Talk with other gardeners to see what they grow. Always remember, in general, spring flowers bloom in the summer here and summer flowers bloom in the fall. Fall flowers most often don't make it to blooming though occasionally we have a very warm summer and they might.

The seed catalogs contain a wealth of information. Often you will find reading some of the "articles" more informative than reading gardening books and they are less expensive. I will provide a short list of catalogs here from "the big boys" but you can get many more by keying "seed catalog" into your favorite search engine.

Best Cool Seeds this place only has an online presence, no catalog
Johnny's Select Seeds
Gurneys - Call Gurneys their online request doesn't have AK as a state.
Harris Seeds
Burpee
Park Seed
Territorial Seed Company 

Again this is just a short list. These are big companies. There are thousands of companies both large and small listed online. Some are specialty organizations that just deal in veggies, some fruits, some organic, some just tools. Often it is a good idea to call in your order instead of ordering online. The shipping will often be outrages on their website but reasonable if you call and talk with a representative about your order. Some places still think it costs more to mail stuff to Alaska than the rest of the U.S. Once you request these catalogs you will get them forever or maybe longer. They do come addressed to you or current resident, just sayin'.

One more thing, you might want to set up a separate email account and use it when you request these catalogs. My experience is these companies will fill you inbox with lots of stuff you don't want. I have been getting two emails a day from Gurneys. Unless you want to look at things from them every day make a separate account or unsubscribe or just let the emails pile up after you get your catalog.

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