The garden is a Memorial Garden, a garden of benevolence, a 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, and grants from the Alaska Food Policy Council through the Municipality of Anchorage, the Alaska Women's Giving Circle, generous support by the congregation of Lutheran Church of Hope, and support from the Alaska Synod of the ELCA.

Food from the garden in 2018 was sent to Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry, the Tudor Road Gospel Rescue Mission, and to Bean's Cafe.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Diary or Log Book

Log Books
The longer I garden the more important I find a diary or log book to be. You can keep track of all kinds of things. I record rain amounts, planting dates, first appearance dates for the seeds planted. Species and varieties planted. I have a max/min thermometer and I try to record the daily maximum and minimum temperatures. I also have a rain gauge that helps me with watering the garden. If I don't keep track of the rainfall I will waste a lot of water during the summer or not water enough. If you are keeping track of volunteer hours this is a good place to record them as well.

People often want to know what variety of a say turnips you planted. Where you bought them. Whether they are organic seed stock. Who certified them organic. If you keep track of that stuff you can tell them. If you are thinking about entering some of your veggies in the State Fair you will need this information as well. There are literally hundreds of varieties (cultivars) of lettuce. There are hundreds of cultivars of carrots. If you don't write down the ones you plant and where you plant them you will have no idea what variety works well under specific conditions and which ones don't. Each year I record more information because I find I need more information each time I plant. What did I do when, where, and how. If you don't have a diary you will not be able to answer these questions.
Calendar Log

Problems with pests in the garden should be recorded in the diary as well. More important than the pests is the remedy you used and how successful the remedy was. The information would be especially valuable the next time you encounter the difficulty.

I use a calendar to keep track of temperatures and rainfall. I can jot down a quick note on a the calendar about something that struck me that day. If I wait to write it down later I will forget it. I now know that something like writing this blog helps me to remember what needs to be done and when. Obviously during 2017 I didn't do a very good job of writing and I'm sure I am kicking myself in 2018 because I was so lazy. You can do something as simple as tacking up a piece of paper in the garden shed and record you information there.

The diary should start your planning. Writing down your plan will help you execute it. It will help you see the steps required to get from preparation, to planting, to harvest. If you don't write it down lots of information goes away.  I am sometimes asked, "what's the worst thing about Don"? My reply is usually, "if I don't write it down I forget it".

A diary is an indispensable document for the gardener. Writing a blog about gardening or a specific garden is also a great way to keep a diary but it's not detailed enough usually.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pepper Update 4/14

Pablano
The largest yellow wax pepper is now 4 + inches. The next largest is 3 + inches. Just waiting for those first peppers to ripen so I can have them with my morning breakfast. There are currently 35 peppers on the plants. That's 13 yellow wax, 19 pablanos, and 3 jalapenos. The largest pablano is about 4.5 inches. The jalapenos are just 1.5 inches. There are still scads of blossoms as well. There are going to be a lot of peppers once they really get going. The height of the plants hasn't changed much since the last report. Hopefully the next report will be a taste report maybe on all three species. Eventually, I probably include a recipe for pickling peppers that I like. I certainly won't be able to eat all of the peppers as they ripen. Will probably have to give some away as well. Maybe one of you will be a lucky recipient.
Hungarian Yellow Wax
All 8



Sunday, April 8, 2018

Lighting

T5 or T8 Fluorescent
Pulley system
I use fluorescent lights in my grow operation. They are not full spectrum. They are not grow lights. You can spend a lot of money on special lights that you don't need. Just plain fluorescent, same kind you use in the garage work just fine. Prices can range from $1.30 each to $27 or more. The $1.30 lights work great. The Cooperative Extension Service has a publication on this you may find interesting. Unfortunately you have to order the publication it's not available online right now. You will save some money on electricity if you use tube type LED lights but often they won't work in the same fixtures as the regular fluorescent. It has something to do with the ballasts in the old fixtures. But it's only for a couple of months and if you already have the fixtures why not use them. I'm not sure how many months it would take to recover the difference between LED and fluorescent lights and fixtures. If you have a burning desire to use LED you can change the old fixtures. There are many videos on YouTube that will step you right through it. I do plan to do this since I will be using my lights all year long now.

You need to set up the grow operation so the lights can be lowered to just a few inches above the seedlings and then raised to keep them just a few inches above the plant tops. I purchased a "pulley" system from Amazon but I'm sure you can find them other places as well. You could also do it with a rope or a chain.

Timer
I usually have the lights on the plants 12 hours a day. I do this regardless of the window location or how much sunlight comes through the window. If you don't use the lights the plants always lean toward the window, the light source, and they tend to get leggy and spindly. Leggy plants don't support fruit very well so use the lights. I have the lights on a timer so they come on at 7 AM and go off at 7 PM. The on/off times are not important. The 10 to 12 or mores hours of light is the important thing.

Moving the Light
If you try to grow your plants with incandescent lights you will have a problem. If you get them close enough to the plants to be effective the heat from the bulbs will burn the leaves. If you are growing things like peppers during the winter in the house you will be temped to put them outside in the summer. You can certainly do this. Just keep in mind you will probably get an aphid infestation or something else while they are outside and when you bring them back indoors you will have aphids or something else in the house. You probably don't want those little green bugs in your house. They do attack houseplants as well.

There is much more to come on common pests. There's not much to worry about with the snow still on the ground.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Garden is Growing



Truck Sign
On April 30 we had a planting party at church. There were six of us and we got 23 trays planted. Special thanks go to Jayla, Mary, Bob, Lynn, and Daniel. A lot of work got done in just two hours. I had a few trays ready to plant when everyone arrived but very soon i was making more. Not sure how many of each variety we got done. I do know there was both green and purple cabbage, "giant cabbage", Brussels sprouts, broccoli, squash, rhubarb, and leeks planted. Hopefully in a week to ten day we will see some activity. It's really exciting.
Red Cabbage

Unfortunately I was so busy trying to keep up I have no pictures of the process. But there are pictures of the results. I will also post pics of the progress along the way. It's such a short amount of time 'til we begin to plant. In January I long for spring to come and now that it's nearly here things will be happening much too quickly. Already my mind is spinning about how much needs to be done before planting.
Zucchini 

I will trust in the Lord to make it all happen. Hope everyone had a blessed Easter and are ready for the new season to begin. Life is good!

I wrote the above before I went to church to check on the plants today. Low and behold the Lord has already worked his magic. I will go back in the morning to sort things out better. Need to get the lights set up properly and everything arranged. I thought I would do this on Saturday before anything came up but I will do it tomorrow so everything will grow well.